A SATIRE of gaming culture by award-winning Scottish novelist Christopher Brookmyre is to be adapted into a trilogy of games.
The body of games drawing inspiration from the world of literature is a slender one, and the adaptations often veer away from the plot points of their source material.
From the impish humour of Infocom’s text adventure based on Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy through to Glasgow-based The Story Mechanics’ genre-defying interactive version of John Buchan’s The 39 Steps, there have been some notable releases down the years.
But in a distinctly meta twist on the formula, Brookmyre’s Bedlam is to be made into a series of games.
Bedlam’s protagonist awakens one day to find himself trapped inside the world of Starfire, a 1990s FPS he played religiously as a teenager.
He soon realises that far from being the mythical hero of gaming lore, he is in fact a “grunt designed purely to be cannon fodder,” and must escape through a series of recognisable game worlds.
The book, the crime writer’s first fully-fledged foray into science fiction, enjoyed critical praise upon its release earlier this year for its keen appreciation of the world of gaming.
The 45-year-old is now working with developers RedBedlam to help write what is being billed as the “first true videogame / novel tie-in.”
Developed in association with Standfast Interactive, the first installment promises to take players into a unique world of action and intrigue, visiting a range of genres old and new, from arcade platformer classics to modern shooter environments, all from a first person perspective and with a smattering of Brookmyre’s trademark macabre humour.
Although Brookmyre’s previous books have been laced with numerous references to gaming, Bedlam was the first time the medium formed the heart of his narrative.
He explained: “A lot of my writing has been inspired by videogames and it has always been a big part of my life. When the guys at RedBedlam got in touch to see if I was interested in creating a game with them, I jumped at the chance and have since been consistently thrilled to see my own literary worlds visualised so accurately.
“Bedlam is a tribute to gaming in all its forms and the part it has played in all our lives – as well as being a top quality FPS adventure in itself. I look forward to seeing more of these fantastic characters and worlds fully realised and I think people are going to really enjoy what we’ve put together.”
Nick Witcher, marketing director at RedBedlam, said: “Having always been a fan of Christopher’s novels, we’re hugely excited to be working with him on this unique project. With such a talented mind behind the invention of the game world and writing the game itself, it’s going to be a tremendous title that surfaces in 2014.”
The game is scheduled to launch on Steam next summer, with another two novels and game tie-in titles planned.