Friday afternoon, Mike Capps, president of Epic Games, Inc., led the panel on the Infinity Blade game franchise, joined by lead designer Ian Frazier and author Brandon Winn Sanderson. After beginning the panel with a video teaser of the upcoming Infinity Blade: Dungeons, the third installment of this popular iOS game, Capps started a discussion of Sanderson’s involvement in the franchise. Since the initial development focused solely on game play, the series lacked a storyline. What they needed was an author’s input. Enter Sanderson, who had always wanted to get involved in writing for video games.
Sanderson, who enjoys brainstorming and creating things, met with the game developers and began to develop a storyline that involved all the aspects of the Infinity Blade experience. The result was Infinity Blade: Awakening, a novella that bridges the gap between the first and second installments of the game. The novella made it into the top five bestsellers for iBooks. Sanderson spoke of his creative process, from being given a list of things that had to be in the novella to creating characters that fans would care about. “A game,” he said, “doesn’t have to do that. Games can have an awful story but be awesome to play.” He took the lore of Infinity Blade and made it character-based. In the process, he also gave the creators a storyline and a world bible. Sanderson is working on a sequel that will connect the second and third games, Infinity Blade II and Infinity Blade: Dungeons.
Both Capps and Frazier agreed that Sanderson’s work has made their jobs easier, since they can refer to his world bible as needed. In developing the game, Frazier spoke of their focus on audience participation. They wanted the game to be more interactive than just clicking things, which explains their choice to incorporate gestures in the game play. They also watch what fans are saying on the web. “If they want to see something,” Frazier said, “can we put it in?” They try.
What can fans expect in the future? More character development in Infinity Blade: Dungeons than before. But they wouldn’t go into details. No spoilers here. They did agree that while brainstorming with Sanderson, they expanded the world quite a bit. And they’re looking to tell the story that Sanderson wrote through small things in the upcoming game. As for the world bible idea, would they consider releasing a game guide? No, it’s too much work. But the game developers would be thrilled if the fans want to build a wiki. “I’d love to see it,” Capps said.
Anyone up for the task?