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Stephenson’s CLANG 20 years in the making

Monday, 18th June 2012 08:55 GMT By Stace Harman

After the recent launch of a his Kickstarter campaign to fund CLANG, a motion-controlled sword brawler, author Neal Stephenson has spoken of how the he’s been considering creating a video game experience for some 20 years, “some writers spend their whole careers producing only prose, which is a perfectly fine thing to do. But many writers, at one point or another, engage with other media,” he told GI International.

Sci-fi author Neal Stephenson has spoken of his long-held desire to create a sword fighting video game, that he says goes back over 20 years to when he penned his third novel, Snow Crash, “I sort of thought that it might have been done by by now,”[sic] he admitted.

“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.”

Speaking on the subject of his move from the virtual worlds of his novels to that of interactive entertainment, he pointed first to the to the involvement of authors within the film industry as the traditional crossover point, but added:

“The question posed by the rise of the game industry is whether, and how, writers can engage with that medium as well.

“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.”

At the time of writing, Stephenson’s Kickstarter campaign for CLANG sits at $293,000 of its $500,000 target with 21 days to go. Should the project reach its target, Stephenson’s Subatai Corporation intends to have playable code of PC-exclusive CLANG ready within a year.

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