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Novel About Games Now Game About Novel About Games

Bedlam by redbedlam

Some time ago, I read and then offered opinions about Bedlam, a novel by renowned crime writer Christopher Brookmyre, which was about PC games. PC games as a whole that is, rather than being based on a particular game. Its wider sci-fi trappings and its broad humour I wasn't especially taken with, but I did greatly enjoy its clear love for and whirlwind dash through the earlier days of PC shooters, and its careful, affectionate description of what those early id'n'Epic worlds of brown rock and alien war without end would be like if somehow made flesh.

Flesh we don't get, but what is happening is a videogame adaptation of this book about videogames, a first-person shooter that's also a tour through the history of first-person shooters.

Bedlam is developed by Sussex studio RedBedlam (I have yet to establish whether this is a coincidence or not), who are also behind The Missing Ink among other projects, in conjunction with Brookmyre himself. Not too much concrete detail as yet, but it's described as a 'generation-spanning FPS', and the screenshots below seem to bear that out. I love the idea of hopping from Quake to Call of Duty to Halo, and to others whose influences I haven't guessed yet but look like Skyrim and TRON. Hopefully this will be a seamless and convincing Brief History Of Nearly Everything Which Involves Shooting Things In The face, and not disjointed hopping. It's a great, great concept though, really looking forwards to seeing how it plays out.

Here's the story summary, which is essentially that of the book:

"The plot sees the player, a regular man with a regular job, subjected to a variety of tests only to wake in a videogame world in which he is not in fact the mythical hero so often seen in gaming, but a grunt designed purely to be cannon fodder for someone else. In attempting to find out how this has happened and what strange space he is in, the player progresses through a variety of familiar gaming worlds, relentlessly pursued by an enigmatic predator, an organisation known as Integrity that will be rid of him at all costs..."

This here gallery probably says it better, however. Click for big'uns.

More images on the site.

Looking at this hitherto-unseen pre-production trailer from last year, it appears that the finished product has wound up doing different things, but it's neat to look at from-the-drawing-board concepts:

Again, I don't believe that's terribly representative of the game we're getting, it's just interesting to see their thinking.

Bedlam the book, by the way, is due out in paperback on January 21st, while Bedlam the game is slated for a Steam release over the Summer.

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