Wednesday, February 28, 2007

HBO to Turn 'A Song of Fire & Ice' into Fantasy TV Series

There is not very many TV news headlines that catch my attention, but this was definitely one of them.
HBO has acquired the rights to turn George R.R. Martin's bestselling fantasy series "A Song of Fire & Ice" into a dramatic series to be written and exec produced by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.

"Fire" is the first TV project for Benioff ("Troy") and Weiss ("Halo") and will shoot in Europe or New Zealand. Benioff and Weiss will write every episode of each season together save one, which the author (a former TV writer) will script.

The series will begin with the 1996 first book, "A Game of Thrones," and the intention is for each novel (they average 1,000 pages each) to fuel a season's worth of episodes. Martin has nearly finished the fifth installment, but won't complete the seven-book cycle until 2011.

The author will co-exec produce the series along with Management 360's Guymon Casady and Created By's Vince Gerardis.

Martin's series has drawn comparisons to J.R.R. Tolkien, because both are period epics set in imagined lands. But Martin has eschewed Tolkien's good-vs.-evil theme in favor of flawed characters from seven noble families.

The book has a decidedly adult bent, with sex and violence comparable to series like "Rome" and "Deadwood."

"They tried for 50 years to make 'Lord of the Rings' as one movie before Peter Jackson found success making three," Martin said. "My books are bigger and more complicated, and would require 18 movies. Otherwise, you'd have to choose one or two characters."

Aside from writing the most recent draft of "Halo," Weiss recently adapted the William Gibson novel "Pattern Recognition" for WB and director Peter Weir.

Benioff and Weiss were repped by CAA and Management 360.
As a huge fan of the books, I am very excited!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I've Been Invited to the Lord of the Rings Online Beta!

Since I have been talking about Lord of the Rings Online (LotRO) as of late, I guess it is time to put my money where my mouth is without opening my wallet. I have received an invite to the late stages of the LotRO beta.

I will reserve my comments until after I am done playing around a bit.

Monday, February 12, 2007

They Put Magic on My Lord of the Rings Online!

Lord of the Rings Online (LotRO) has dropped it's NDA. Tobold has his quick hit review up here. The following quote just destroyed the game for me:
"I created a hobbit minstrel as my character. You can also play humans, dwarves, or elves. And there are 6 more classes: Burglar, Captain, Champion, Guardian, Hunter, Lore-master. If you wonder why there are no "priests" or "mages", this is due to the Tolkien lore. There is no commonly available "magic" in the game. But that is only semantics, the abilities of the character classes in practice work exactly like magic spells in other games. The minstrel I'm playing is a kind of healer / bard, and plays very nicely. Besides a healing spell, an improved melee attack, and a "cry" that works like a direct damage spell, I have a series of ballads to sing. These ballads combine a short-duration buff with some direct damage to the enemy. Thus I can't buff before the combat, I need an enemy target to hit to use them. The ballads exist in several tiers, tier 1, tier 2, etc., and I can only use a tier 2 ballad if I have a tier 1 ballad buff currently on me. So keeping up all the buffs during a longer combat isn't trivial, and makes for some quite interesting gameplay. If there are still enough people remembering the original Everquest, I'm sure that this will be called "twisting" ballads, after the EQ bard gameplay."
LotRO has failed the "something here is not like the others" test. If you lined it up next to WoW or Everquest in terms of gameplay, there would be no discernible differences. What a way to fuck up the most beloved fantasy work of all time. First Dungeons and Dragons and now Lord of the Rings. Someone please stop licensing top notch intellectual properties to Turbine!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Vanguard Launch Wrap-up

Vanguard: Saga of Heroes (V:SoH) has launched and their servers have gone live. While I am not planning to buy the game, I still felt it was my duty to bring a wrap up of sorts to see what is going on in the house that McQuaid built. In order to do this, I have grabbed a selection of links and quotes from around the Internet.

From Gamebunny:
When will the suits at Sony learn their lesson? The game is in development for ages - then it’s forced out the door before being ready for its close-up. STAR WARS GALAXIES anyone?

From GameSpy:
"After getting the game to a playable frame rate, I found that on a very basic level, player movement in Vanguard feels very floaty, with characters that don't have much weight to them and whose animations make them seem like they're sliding back and forth across the ground instead of strafing. It can be painful to negotiate closed doors and cramped halls in the game's many indoor areas, and you'll need a dose of good luck controlling your jumps mid-air when you encounter things like broken stairs and assorted platforming elements. The way movement and spellcasting worked, in particular, was fun and had enormous PvP implications: You can cast spells on the run."

From IGN:
"Vanguard's environments are reminiscent of fantasy oil paintings. Sigil Games hopes that three layers of gameplay (diplomacy, adventuring and crafting) and a comprehensive character creation tool will make for a more absorbing online experience."

That is a pretty good selection of material for everyone to read through. If words aren't your thing here is a little video for you courtesy of Game Trailers.

If you are actually playing this game I want to make sure you are aware of the game's first official downtime and it's first official patch.

In conclusion: I don't know what to think about Vanguard. The MMORPG industry has made me tired and I really can't seem to get myself steaming angry about this title any longer. I want to bitch. I want to complain. I want to tell everyone what I really think, but I am going to follow my own advice. I am going to vote with my wallet.