Good news to end the weekend: Versu, an innovative AI-powered interactive fiction engine owned by Linden Lab which was put in limbo by the company earlier this year, causing an outcry among game industry leaders, is getting a renewed life, starting with Blood & Laurels, an ancient Rome thriller, which will be published later this month.
"Versu is a product with strong potential," Linden Lab's Peter Gray tells me, "and we'd like to see it become successful; it just didn't fit well with what we at Linden Lab are focused on." So the company has made an agreement with the Versu team, led by respected game developers Richard Evans (Sims 3, Black and White) and Emily Short (Galatea) for the Versu team to continue creating and publishing with the engine.
More from Linden Lab:
"We're not able to share the details of the agreement," adds Gray, "but we're happy to have been able to come to an arrangement with the team that enables them to move forward with Versu independently, while also allowing Linden Lab to share in its future success." Sounds like a nice revenue sharing deal, which was what some of us were asking for all along. Linden Lab deserves a lot of kudos here, because Versu is too important a technology to be kept under wraps:
In Versu, different characters are built with different abilities and parameters — not a handful or a few dozen character traits, but a potentially infinite range of quirks and habits. It is possible to craft social behaviors that are unique to just one character — giving one guy the ability to get under people’s skin more than anyone else, say — or to make a character who hates being in a crowded room. In addition, because characters are defined as separate entities in this way, they could be transferred from one story context to another, and even cast in stories that weren’t specifically written for them.
Can't wait to see what comes out of this collaboration, and from Versu. Stay tuned for more on Blood & Laurels from Iris, who did a lot to first break this story.
Hat tip: Cieran Laval, who has comments here.
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