Obsidian Developing Wheel of Time Games

Well over a year ago we reported that Red Eagle Games was looking to develop games (including an MMO) based on Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. Now they’ve announced that they’re partnering with Obsidian Entertainment to do the game development (for, I assume, the single player games). As Dragonmount reports:


Noted RPG Developer to Assist Red Eagle Games in Building Video Games Based on Robert Jordan’s Fantasy Series “The Wheel of Time”

Malibu and Irvine Calif. – February 12, 2010 – Red Eagle Games and Obsidian Entertainment today announced they have entered into a services agreement which provides a comprehensive framework for Obsidian Entertainment to work closely with Red Eagle Games’ in-house development team to create new video games for the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 based on Robert Jordan’s best-selling fantasy series, The Wheel of Time.

“The development team at Obsidian Entertainment has demonstrated time and again that they can successfully blend storytelling with technology to craft a superior RPG game experience,” said Rick Selvage, Chief Executive Officer of Red Eagle Games. “Obsidian Entertainment is the ideal development partner to help Red Eagle Games take Jordan’s beloved characters from the printed page to exciting new forms of interactive media.“

“Obsidian Entertainment is thrilled with this opportunity to work with Red Eagle Games in developing games based upon The Wheel of Time series,” said Feargus Urquhart, Chief Executive Officer of Obsidian Entertainment. “The Wheel of Time is a rich universe that lends itself to incredible gaming possibilities.”

Red Eagle Games was formed in 2006, and the Company plans to publish a line of video games on all major platforms, including consoles, personal computers, handheld systems and wireless devices. The Company’s Wheel of Time games will be available through retail channels around the world by the Company’s distribution partner, Electronic Arts. Red Eagle Games’ principals Rick Selvage and Larry Mondragon are also producing a live-action motion picture based upon The Wheel of Time for Universal Pictures through their production company, Red Eagle Entertainment.

“Although Red Eagle Games is both a game producer and publisher, as a new company, we quickly recognized that we could benefit from supplementing small in-house creative and technical teams with a proven third party developer,” said Larry Mondragon, Chief Operating Officer of Red Eagle Games. “Our alliance with Obsidian Entertainment is a perfect fit and will greatly improve the quality, cost and time-to-market for the first-generation of our Wheel of Time games.”

“The Wheel of Time is one of the greatest and well-received fantasy series of all time,” said Chris Avellone, Chief Creative Officer of Obsidian Entertainment. “Games set in Robert Jordan’s universe have the chance to deliver on the epic storylines and the complex characters that the series is known for – and this is one of Obsidian’s strengths. It’s a natural fit.”

Obsidian Entertainment was established in 2003 by a group of experienced industry veterans. With the company’s first title, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith Lords for Lucas Arts (2004, Xbox & PC), Obsidian quickly established itself as a top-tier developer of critically-acclaimed role playing games featuring strong characters, richly conceived visuals and storylines and teeming with action and adventure. Obsidian subsequently developed the Neverwinter Nights 2 game series for Atari, based upon the popular Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. Titles in this series included Neverwinter Nights 2 (2006, PC and Mac/OS X), Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer (2007, PC), and Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir (2008, PC). Obsidian is currently completing two major games for planned release during 2010, Alpha Protocol (PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, to be published by Sega) and a much-anticipated sequel in the Fallout series, Fallout: New Vegas (PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3).

The details of Jordan’s meticulously crafted series have captivated readers since 1990, when The Eye of the World, the first book in the series, was published. Eleven additional books, including one prequel, have since been added to the series and have consistently appeared on the New York Times Bestseller List with the last five of his novels in the series debuting at No. 1. Jordan passed away in 2007 at the age of 58, but his publisher, Tor Books, subsequently announced that a final trilogy of novels will bring his epic series to its long-awaited climax. The most recent installment in the series, entitled The Gathering Storm, was published in October of 2009 by Tor Books. The last three novels are being penned by fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson using notes, audio recordings and draft materials left with Jordan’s wife and editor, Harriet Rigney.

Jordan’s wildly popular books have been translated into 24 languages, and have sold about 44 million copies worldwide. According to Tor Books, the publisher of The Wheel of Time novels, there are about 65,000 The Wheel of Time fan Web sites as a part of a vast global on-line fan community.

About Red Eagle Games
Based in Southern California, Red Eagle Games is an independent video game company undertaking the transformation of Jordan’s literary masterpiece “The Wheel of Time” into high-quality interactive gaming products for the personal computer, game consoles, mobile and wireless devices, and online play. Red Eagle Games’ Web site is located at www.red-eagle-games.com.

About Obsidian Entertainment
Obsidian Entertainment is an entertainment software development company passionately dedicated to making high quality, next-generation Role-Playing Games for PC and console systems. Based in Irvine, California, Obsidian Entertainment’s Web site is located at www.obsidian.net.

Shortly after Larry Mondragon of Red Eagle Games added the following additional clarification (as you can see in the comments at the link above):

Hello Everyone!

Thanks to Jason for posting the announcement of our relationship with Obsidian. However, I would like to set the record straight about two important aspects of our development plan.

First, you will all be happy to hear that we are not planning to make a traditional “movie” game that merely recasts the picture we are currently making with Universal. Instead, we want to concentrate our development efforts on telling the other facets of The Wheel of Time story. And as you know, we have a lot to choose from– literally thousands of years of history and scores of major characters, nations, geographies and critical moments in the history of the world since the beginning of the Third Age.

Thus, we have been vetting many creative ideas for game formats, including games derived from the Age of Legends, The Breaking of the World, the War of the Shadow, and even a game concept that focuses on the battle among the Forsaken to become the one and only Nae’blis. We are also looking at skill-based games that are based on the testing of the Aes Sedai for the shawl and the wielding of the many intricate sword forms that are second nature to an experienced Warder. All of this is to simply say that we are critically thinking about game design for an entire family of WOT games that are consistent and supportive of the story portrayed in the movies, but that do far more that merely retell the plotlines, characters and scenes from the films. Trust me when I say that we intend to build games that will excite the imagination of every WOT fan. We just ask that the Wheel of Time community wait to see the fruits of our labor before passing judgement on whether we have been successful in our efforts.

I would also like to make one additional clarification. We are not licensing our WOT development rights and stepping back from the process of building these video games. Quite to the contrary, Red Eagle Games will have an internal development team of its own. However, rather than staffing up a 200 person studio from scratch, we decided some time ago that for our first games it would be far more prudent to hire a small in-house team (e.g. positions such as Art Director, Game Designer, Story Writer, Software Architect, Quality Assurance Director, etc.) and rely on a third party developer to provide the majority of developers and their associated overhead and infrastructure. In this way, we will be providing technical and creative direction to our external developer.

Obsidian Entertainment is a highly-respected game developer with a well-deserved industry reputation for building quality action/role-playing games. By eliminating the need to recruit and manage a large internal workforce within Red Eagle Games, we expect that this new relationship with Obsidian will enable the Company to achieve substantially lower development costs, a shorter production cycle, and improve the quality of our initial video game releases.

We follow the message boards here on Dragonmount closely. We will always give careful consideration to your thoughtful comments and suggestions.

Kind regards,

Larry Mondragon
Chief Operating Officer
Red Eagle Games

I must say; at first I wasn’t sure at all about the single player games as I feared that they might just be a quick way to cash in on the franchise, but with Obsidian behind the development this has me really excited. Obsidian has made some pretty good roleplaying games (though not quite as enjoyable as BioWare’s games I enjoyed KotOR2 and NWN2 well enough), so there’s definitely reason to hope that this too will be some good roleplaying game(s).

I just hope that they’ll let you play an Aes Sedai.

[link] to announcement at Dragonmount.