Tuesday, 10 April 2012

WHEEL OF TIME RPG on hold at Obsidian?

Just over two years ago, Obsidian Entertainment announced they were partnering with Red Eagle to bring a new Wheel of Time computer game to the masses. This new game, unlike the ill-conceived first-person shooter released in 1999, would be a roleplaying game, likely set earlier in the WoT timeline than the novels.

Obsidian and Red Eagle promptly went into radio silence on the project. Last year I assembled a post based collecting together information from Tweets and interviews. Unfortunately, it appears a lot of the information I found was actually based around their then-unannounced South Park RPG (particularly the stuff about an exciting property they really wanted to work on and the need for 2D artists).

More recently, Obsidian have run into difficulties. A project they were developed under a codename, 'North Carolina', for Microsoft Games was cancelled unexpectedly. There was a theory that this was the Wheel of Time game (based on the admittedly rather thin notion that Robert Jordan lived in neighbouring South Carolina), but this seemed unlikely given the length of time since the original announcement and the fact that 'North Carolina' was going to be a launch project for the X-Box 720 (or whatever it ends up being called), whilst the WoT game seemed to be for this generation.

In this interview with Rock Paper Shotgun, Obsidian writer Chris Avellone comments on the projects currently in development at Obsidian:
"A project..." - presumably North Carolina - "...was suddenly cancelled. It happens in the industry – in this case, it affected a large number of employees. We’re working hard at finding them jobs, and friends and developers in other companies also were great in coming forward and helping us out, so many thanks to them. We’re still working on two projects: South Park, and a team focused on pitching our second project that we put on hold for North Carolina."
 The second project could well be the WoT game, but if so that meant they don't have a publishing deal in place for it, and that means it is without a development budget and is thus on hold. However, since Obsidian were partnering Red Eagle on the WoT game, it may be more likely that Red Eagle (as the rights-holders) should be handling that side of things. If so the second project isn't the WoT game either, and thus it is either on hold or has been cancelled.

Hopefully we can get clarification on this point soon, but in any case, it sounds like it will still be some considerable time before a new WoT game hits our screens.


Nate said...

I liked the old WoT game - I thought it was actually better than most of the books. It's on some game site list of the most underrated games of all time so I know at least one other person agrees with me.

Adam Whitehead said...

The 1999 WHEEL OF TIME game is okay. A FPS isn't the best approach for the setting and characters, but given it was mandated from on high, the devs did as good a job as I think was possible in making it work. Some of the level design and architecture was also really cool.

Lauren Roundy said...

I also loved the 1999 WoT game. Probably because it was one of the first PC games I ever played, so it has a special place in my heart. I still play it now and then.

Anonymous said...

Has Red Eagle actually achieved anything in all of this? Seems like every time I hear that name it is more dead ends.

Adam Whitehead said...

Red Eagle's only achievement so far seems to have been to offload the film rights on Universal. Aside from that, they haven't achieved anything of note at all.