Legacy of Heorot For the Xbox?

August 14, 2006

Saw this at Jerry Pournelle’s place a couple weeks ago: apparently Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle recently had lunch with some folks from Bungie.
If you’re not a gamer AND a science fiction geek, you’re probably wondering about the significance of this. Well, Larry Niven is the SF author who dreamed up and described a “ringworld” in his suitably-named, bestselling, and [Hugo and Nebula] award-winning novel. And Bungie is the software company that developed one of the greatest first-person-shooters of all time, Halo, which takes place on the surface of a ringworld.
What I wouldn’t have given to be a fly on the wall at that lunch. Geek heaven.
The really cool scoop? Pournelle relates that he and Niven were talking about stories of theirs that could be adapted by Bungie for new games, especially The Legacy of Heorot. Back in college, a buddy of mine who was into film (he makes videos for a living now) thought that Heorot was a natural for adaptation to the big screen. I strongly agree. But if it can’t be a movie, I would love to see it come to life in a video game medium. The rich interactivity of a well-designed game brings many more hours of entertainment to me than all but a very few movies and TV shows.
Pournelle touched on this interactivity in Halo with Bungie:

One interesting item: I wondered why, when the Skipper gave the Master Chief his pistol, he said it was unloaded.
They pointed out that I didn’t know gamers. Give the gamer a loaded pistol and he’ll shoot the commander. Give the commander bodyguards, and the gamers will start with the bodyguards. It gets more and more complex; easier to simply make the hero leave the room and close the door behind him before he can find any ammunition. Interesting. But I still don’t find it very realistic that the commander would carry an unloaded pistol. Ah well.

The funny thing is, at that scene in Halo, if you go back and kill the skipper, the Marines will storm the bridge, lock you in and attack you until you die. The Marines become invincible. It’s kind of fun in a twisted way to see how long you can last.
In any case, I hope this project is made. I’m holding off on the purchase of an Xbox 360 until Halo 3 ships, but if this came out before then, I would upgrade in an instant.

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