Sci-fi author interested in making sword fighting game for "over 20 years"
Posted: 18.06.2012 12:37 by Simon Priest Comments: 1
Snow Crash sci-fi author Neal Stephenson has been interesting in becoming a video game designer for quite some time; 20 years or so actually, "since I wrote Snow Crash" he says.

He actually thought he "might have been done by now." Tech kept his dream only a dream, but thanks to the "potential of crowd funding" it has a shot at becoming reality.

Well, virtual reality if you want to be picky about it. Stephenson also credits a "revival of historical Western swordsmanship" in the past 10 years for arming him with knowledge to make it authentic.

"It wasn't one big light bulb going on - I've been interested in this idea of a sword fighting in a game environment at least since I wrote Snow Crash, which is at over 20 years ago," author Neal Stephenson said in an interview. "I sort of thought that it might have been done by now."

He reasons for not getting to jump on the project are mostly down to tech limitations.

"There are a lot of perfectly good reasons it hasn't been, having to do with the state of hardware and the way that technology works. In the last couple of years it feels like things have been changing. Hardware has been changing in an interesting way; there's been a whole movement around the revival of historical Western swordsmanship in the last decade or two that has given us much more information about the details of how people used to use these weapons."

"Putting that together with the potential of crowd funding, we thought we might have a chance of actually making this work."

The sci-fi author also talks about writers engaging in new mediums like video games, and not just books, TV and film. The industry is here to stay and grow, eventually dwarfing other mediums.

"The question posed by the rise of the game industry is whether, and how, writers can engage with that medium as well," he said. "In some respects it's a better fit, for a novelist, than film. Novelists - especially fantasy and SF novelists - tend to be world-builders, and modern gamers have come to expect not just entertaining gameplay but a fully realized world that makes the gameplay relevant to some larger story or theme."

"My own instincts run closer to the game world than to the film industry and so I've been thinking about how to engage with games for a while. 2012 seems like a good time to have a go at it."

Stephenson doesn't actually want to head his CLANG project in any technical role as it’s not his strength. He wants to "get back into a productive novel-writing mode." The main goal right now is "transfer the responsibility for this project into the hands of competent engineers". CLANG is currently running on Kickstarter.

The project has 21 days left to raise $500k to meet its goal. As of right now it has $293,918 from 5,078 backers. Check out the full interview between Neal Stephenson and


By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Jun 18, 2012
Hmmm, funding a personal dream, not an original one either. Nope, sorry mate. Pass your hat aroud at the pub like the rest of us.
"The sci-fi author also talks about writers engaging in new mediums like video games...". So authors like Clive Barker, Dale Brown, Tom Clancy, Larry Bond, Dan Brown - none of these ring any bells as having already written for the video game industry, not to mention film directors?
C'mon fellah, get original or at least get educated.