More than two years ago, it was reported that Red Eagle had signed a deal with Obsidian Entertainment to make a Wheel of Time computer roleplaying game for release on PC and console platforms. Chris Avellone, the well-respected creator of Planescape: Torment and a key writer on games like Fallout 2, New Vegas, Alpha Protocol, Icewind Dale and the forthcoming Wasteland 2 and Project: Eternity, was reported to be working on the initial ideas for the game. Fans and even gamers who had never heard of Wheel of Time were intrigued.
Then nothing. Obsidian moved onto several projects. There was excitement when they reported they were working on a major franchise tie-in game, but this turned out to be a South Park title (due out in spring 2013). More recent reports emerged explaining what had happened: Red Eagle's responsibility had been to find a publisher to fund development of the game. Despite signing a distribution agreement with Electronic Arts in 2009, they were unable to procure funding for the game itself. The last (unofficial) word from the Obsidian camp was that they are not working on the game now, and do not expect to be working on it any time soon.
Then, in a move so low-key that barely any Wheel of Time fan sites even mentioned it, Red Eagle announced they were partnering with Jet Set Games to make at least two WoT games for mobile devices such as phones and tablets. Since almost no-one gives a toss about mobile gaming, the lack of any interest whatsoever was unsurprising. Red Eagle then made the curious decision to put the first game, Banner of the Rising Sun, on Kickstarter, expecting Wheel of Time fans to flock to support the game. Unsurprisingly, they did not. After asking for $450,000 (for a mobile game, remember), Red Eagle had to withdraw the campaign after less than $3,000 was pledged (an unmitigated disaster, in Kickstarter terms).
There has been a sense that Red Eagle's expectations for their WoT projects have been 'unrealistic' (such as their continued, futile insistence on a film over a TV series adaptation), but this situation takes it to a whole new level. Mobile games should never cost $450,000 to produce, not unless it's a tie-in with a Mass Effect or Halo game or something (and even then that's a stretch). For their Kickstarter Obsidian asked for $1.1 million to make a massive, proper PC RPG taking tens of hours to complete and featuring hundreds of thousands of words of writing. Half that for a casual game to play whilst bored on the train is sheer lunacy. The fact alone that Red Eagle were also unable to raise funding for a proper game based on a series that has outsold (overall and - just - per-volume) A Song of Ice and Fire at a time when epic fantay is on fire is perplexing, but then following it up with a gambit that was never in a million years going to pay off is something that moves us into the realm of the truly baffling.