One of the more frustrating aspects of my profession is the fact that I can’t generally talk about what I’m working on until the final product is released, months or even years after my work has finished. My work on Dawnbringer ended back in August of last year, and since then the development team at Kiloo has been working very hard to bring the game over the finish line. Today, I received an email telling me that they have succeeded.
I started work on Dawnbringer almost three years ago. It all started with an email from Jeppe Bisberg, their vice-president of production, who had seen my profile on LinkedIn and remembered some of my past work. The basic story and gameplay concepts for Dawnbringer were already in place, and Jeppe was looking for an English-language writer to help develop the story, characters, and setting, and ultimately to write the quest and dialogue text.
Over the next two years, I worked very closely with the development team in Aarhus, Denmark via email and Skype. Coincidentally, I had visited the city many years ago, as a student on a Viking archaeology fieldtrip: I had fond memories of the place from that trip, many of which involved Carlsberg and aquavit consumed in dark and cosy bars.
Because of my work on Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, I am mainly known as a writer of dark and gritty fantasy. Dawnbringer is at the other end of the spectrum: a mythic fantasy where the player takes the role of an angelic being fighting to save a demon-infested world and his own fallen brother.
Centuries ago, a force known only as Corruption infected the world like a supernatural pollution. It was only held at bay by the sacrifice of the Guardians, who used their own life-force to power a magical shield. Pride and ambition led to their fall, and invading demons tore their bodies apart and scattered the pieces across the land.
One of the hero’s tasks is to recover the parts and re-assemble the Guardians’ bodies on their thrones so that their tower can protect the land once again. Another is to save his brother from the clutches of Corruption, which takes over more of his body and mind as the game progresses.
Along the way, the hero explores various kinds of terrain and encounters an endless supply of demons of different tribes, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. There are treasures to recover, ingredients to gather, life-saving potions to brew, and gear to craft and upgrade before the blighted world of Mourngard can be saved – and as he works to do that, the hero must also learn a few things about compassion, duty, and the worth of lesser beings.
Dawnbringer is available now in the Google Play and iTunes stores. Like many mobile games it operates on a freemium model, which means you can try it for free and decide how much money – if any – you want to put into it. I hope you’ll give it a try.
To learn more, click on the following links:
My Dark Osprey book Nazi Moonbase has been out for a couple of weeks now, and is starting to garner some good reviews. If you’d like to know what other people are thinking about the book, here are some links. I’ll add more in the comments section below as I come across them.
Amazon.com: currently rated at 4+ stars. “A great read,” “great dark fantasy … good fun!” and “very well melded fact and fiction” are among the comments.
Goodreads.com: Currently rated at 3.5 stars. “…for those of you who like science fictional worldbuilding (or Nazi Moonbase-building), you’ll have quite a treat.”
Suvudu.com: A nice background article on my book and its place within the greater realm of Nazi superscience conspiracy theories. It sums up very nicely how this became such an irresistible topic for conspiracy fans.
As a lifelong vintage aviation geek who was lucky enough to grow up during the hottest part of the space race, I had a lot of fun researching and writing this book. There are some wild conspiracy theories out there, from Nazi flying saucers to the hidden Antarctic base to the faking of the Apollo moon landings, and I set myself the task of constructing a narrative to support the proposition that every one of the conspiracy theories was true. I also snuck in a few references to movies and video games for people to find.
Whether you use it as a systemless game sourcebook or just as an entertaining read, I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Click here to order Nazi Moonbase and my other current books from your favorite e-tailer.
Although I’m best known for my work on tabletop games, electronic games have been my bread and butter for the last 25 years. Like a lot of “names” from the golden age of tabletop RPGs – Mike Brunton, Jim Bambra, Zeb Cook, Lawrence Schick, Ken Rolston, Paul Murphy, and many more – I found in the early 90s that the electronic games industry offers writers and designers something that the tabletop games industry cannot: a chance to actually make a living.
So far, I have worked on more than 40 electronic games that made it to market, as well as quite a few that didn’t, and a handful that have not yet been announced. Below is a list of the first category.
If you are interested in finding out more about my services and availability as a game writer, a good place to start is my LinkedIn profile.
Dawnbringer (Action-RPG, iOS/Android), Kiloo 2016 – Story Designer/Writer Official Web Page
Metal Skies (Arcade, iOS/Android), Kabam 2014 – Localization Editor
Blades of Excalibur (Arcade, Web), Kabam 2014 – Localization Editor
Ravenmarch (Strategy, Web), Kabam 2014 – Localization Editor Ravenmarch.com
Wartune (Strategy, Web), Kabam 2014 – Localization Editor Kabam.com
The Hobbit: Armies of the Third Age (Strategy, Web), Kabam/Warner Bros. 2012 – Writer
Arcane Empires (Strategy, iOS/Android), Kabam 2012 – Story Designer/Writer
Mobile Command: Crisis in Europe (Strategy, iOS), Kabam 2012 – Story Designer/Writer
Imperion (Strategy, Web), Travian Games 2011 – Writer/Editor Imperion.com
Viking Tales: Mystery of Black Rock (Casual, iOS), AiLove 2011 – Writer/Editor iTunes Store
Ruse (Strategy, PC/Console), Ubisoft 2010 – Story Consultant
Empire: Total War (Strategy, PC), SEGA 2010 – Writer/Designer
Dragonica (MMORPG, PC online), THQ/ICE 2009 – Localization Editor Dragonica Online
America’s Next Top Model (Casual, Mobile), PressOK Ent. 2009 – Writer/Editor
Houdini’s Infinite Escapes (Casual, Mobile), PressOK Ent. 2008 – Writer/Editor
Parking Frenzy (Casual, Mobile), Reaxion Corp. 2008 – Writer/Editor
Parisian Puzzle Adventures (Casual, Mobile), Reaxion Corp. 2008 – Writer/Editor
Detective Puzzles (Casual, Mobile), Reaxion Corp. 2007 – Writer/Editor
Men in Black: Alien Assault (Casual, Mobile), Ojom 2006 – Writer/Editor
Online Chess Kingdoms (Casual, PSP), Konami 2006 – Design Consultant
Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth (RPG, Xbox/PC), Bethesda Softworks 2005 – Pickup Writer
Spartan: Total Warrior (Action, Console), SEGA 2005 – Writer
Rise of the Nile (Casual, PC/Mac), Evil Genius 2005 – Design Director
Rhiannon’s Realm: Celtic Mahjongg Solitaire (Casual, PC/Mac), Evil Genius 2005 – Design Director
Medieval: Total War – Viking Invasion (Strategy, PC), Activision 2003 – Writer/Researcher
Nightcaster (Action, Xbox), Microsoft 2002 – Voice Talent
Em@il NASCAR Racing (Casual, Email), Hasbro 2000 – Designer
Nomads of Klanth (MMO Sim, PC online), AOL 1999 – Lead Designer
The SARAC Project (MMO Sim, PC online), So-Net Japan 1999 – Writer/Designer
Microsoft Fighter Ace (MMO Sim, PC online), Microsoft 1997 – Writer/Researcher
Air Attack (MMO Sim, PC online), VR-1 1996 – Researcher
G-Police (Sim, PSX/PC), Psygnosis 1997 – Writer/Designer
Beyond the Limit: Ultimate Climb (Adventure, PC), Microsoft 1996 – Designer
Touché: The Adventures of the Fifth Musketeer (Adventure, PC), US Gold 1996 – Writer
One Small Square: Backyard (Edutainment, PC/Mac), Virgin 1995 – Writer/Designer
The Legacy (RPG, PC), MicroProse 1993 – Pickup Writer
Fields of Glory (Strategy, PC), MicroProse 1993 – Writer/Voice Talent
Harrier Jump Jet (Sim, PC), MicroProse 1992 – Writer/Designer
B-17 Flying Fortress (Sim, PC), MicroProse 1992 – Writer/Researcher
Castles: The Northern Campaign (Strategy, PC), Interplay 1991 – Writer
Other Bibliography Posts
My Complete and Utter Warhammer Bibliography (Warhammer, WFRP, HeroQuest, AHQ)
My Complete and Utter Warhammer 40,000 Bibliography (WH40K, Adeptus Titanicus/Epic Scale)
Ubisoft’s AAA shooter Tom Clancy’s The Division is making a big splash in the industry, and this article from Gamasutra caught my eye.
It’s a question that becomes more significant as games become more photo-realistic: how to justify the gore and high body counts that are part and parcel of a high-end shooter. Another question, asked less often, is how to develop additional and alternative ways to create tension and challenge the player so that body count is not the only leg on the stool.
It reminds me of a crossroads that tabletop games faced in the mid-80s.
D&D was all about kicking in doors, slaying monsters, and collecting treasure, and then Call of Cthulhu came out, in which combat was almost never a good idea and the focus was on investigation, uncovering a backstory, and figuring out the best way to resolve a situation.
For a while, the tabletop RPG hobby was split into “irvings” (a British term of the time, equivalent to today’s “munchkin”) who loved to boast about their best kills and the obscenely high level of their character, and “rolegamers” who loved to boast about how they gamed for an entire weekend and never touched the dice once.
One of the things we tried to do with Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, and the Enemy Within campaign in particular, was to take the best of both worlds. The deadliness of the combat system was a major tool in achieving this goal, since it forced players to think of more creative solutions to problems. The other vital components were a game system (range of skills, character types, spells, and equipment) and a design mindset (communicated through scenario design and, in our case, advice to GMs) that gave players a wide range of potential actions to choose from in any given situation.
Now I know that there are some fundamental differences between tabletop games and electronic games, but it is very interesting to see AAA shooters facing a choice, as a genre, that tabletop games encountered 30-odd years ago. Maybe there are some useful ideas from that time that can be used now, and maybe there will be some new solutions that leave everyone stunned. I can’t wait to see.