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Red Eagle to produce Aiel War mobile game


JenniferL
  • <p>Red Eagle Games and Jet Set Games are partnering up to produce a Kickstarter campaign. They intend to raise money for an Aiel-themed video game.</p>

     


Red Eagle games announced today that they are taking new forward steps to produce multiple video games based on The Wheel of Time. The first game, which they hope to release in January around the time A Memory of Light is published, will be a "tactical RPG" called First Banner of the Rising Sun. It will be designed for Apple iOS and Google Android devices.

 

Red Eagle intends to fund this first game by running a Kickstarter campaign. This campaign, which goes live today, is seeking to raise $450,000 from fans interested in supporting their cause to produce Wheel of Time video games. Supporters will receive different incentives depending on how much they donate, such as exclusive in-game items, or (for big donators), their name and likeness somewhere in the game itself.

 

To produce the game, Red Eagle has partnered with Jet Set Games, the creators of the popular Highborn mobile game on iOS and Android.

 

First Banner of the Rising Sun will take place during the early days of the Aiel War. The player will control characters not seen in the books, but get the chance to fight against the hoards of Aiel invaders.

 

In the coming years, Red Eagle Games intends to publish a series of other video games for all major platforms.

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An offical petition from WoT fans declaring a boycott on anything coming from REE and demanding they give up there WoT rights would be great.

 

It might not force anything to happen in reality, but as a WoT fan I want them to know how mad they make me. These guys have probably prevented decent WoT material from ever being produced by other credible people!

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What a shame it gets down to this... What else is there to expect from them. I guess REE bancrupcy is our only hope of finally seeing a real WoT project coming to life. Disappointing, really.

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Tinkersword, your post was edited. Expressing your feelings is welcome, but you can still get your point across without so much name calling.

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One thing I really just noticed. The game will be designed like a Zynga game if I read the kickstarter correctly. With Micro-Transactions taking place inside the game's programming for players to "Buy" upgrades items and expansions ... In other words, they want us to Pay them to make the game then Pay them to get the stuff in the game that makes it worth playing ... Um .. that realization just made this even worse. Currently at 3:42am on 8/16/2012 they have 21 backers for a total of $733.00 and 27 days left ... that leaves them another $449,267 to raise... unless some deep pockets start donating I am happy to say I don't think their going to make it.

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Okay a couple things I have learned. Out of the funds raised in a kickstarter, Kickstarter itself will claim around 50% of the funds in Fee's and other expenses. So their in reality going to only get $225,000 if they get fully funded. Still a rather large amount to ask for a Phone App.

 

Second someone asked this question :

 

"What is the update on Universal Pictures and the WoT"

 

and this response was given :

 

"We checked with Red Eagle Entertainment and are delighted to share that the product is in active development and the screenplay is in process."

 

So not only can't Red Eagle get the game the promised us made, the movie is still in Scripting....4 years of scripting... who is doing it? A one eyes, one fingered person suffering from Parkinson? I don't think even Lord Of The Ring's Shooting Script took this long to write.

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There's a lot of hate on here and, just as disappointing, a lot of misinformation. I'm going to respond to a couple of the more common comments in this post.

 

First, full disclosure, because some of this is important to what I say below: 

 

1. I'm a game developer in the AAA game industry. And although I've never worked in mobile development, I have lots of friends and colleagues who have. I think I have a pretty good understanding of what's going on in the game development industry these days, so I hope I can shed some light on some of the more egregious comments above.

 

2. Although I'm not at currently affiliated with them in any way, I have done some work for REG in the past. I mention this because I think there are a lot of unfair assumptions being made about REG and I hope that I can speak from the perspective of someone who has lived on both sides of the divide.

 

3. I'm a WoT fan. I first read tEotW when I was 11 or 12 in 1993, or so. I've been reading and waiting and re-reading ever since. I know, just like you, what it is to wait and hope.

 

I'll respond directly to a couple common themes:

 

******

The 'high' cost of game development: 

 

To anyone interested in getting a better understanding of the costs of developing a game I urge you to read the following:

 

http://elysianonline.com/game-industry/let-s-dispel-the-myth-that-indie-game-development-is-cheap-part-1/

 

It's pretty short, but I'll give you the Cole's Notes version here: The cost of the average game developer is somewhere in the range of $6000 to $10000 per month (there is well-established and easily accessible research on this, see gamasutra.com). I don't know how many people work at Jet Set Games, but based on the Kickstarter video I'm going to guess that there are 15 people, maybe 20. The amount of time needed to develop a mobile game of any quality is likely around 6 months (9 is better, and admittedly some could do it in less, but only a team that has done it more than a few times before and has a very clear vision of what they're building). So let's add that all up, shall we?

 

15 people * $6000/month * 6 months = $5400000

 

As you can see, even my conservative estimate is more than the $450000 request on the Kickstarter page. My guess is that the $450000 is only partially funding development, the rest of the funding is likely coming from VCs, or perhaps from REG's own pocket.

 

The point is: Game development is expensive. $450000 is not an unreasonable amount for a medium-sized established team for a quarter.

 

******

Regarding the delay on information over the past five years: I can only speak to games here - I don't really know much about how the film industry works. There are a couple salient points:

 

1. There was a recession. I'm sure you didn't miss it. At the outset of the recession the game industry was touted as being 'recession-proof', the assumption being that people still wanted their entertainment - more, perhaps, since they couldn't afford to go on vacation. Well, turns out that wasn't entirely true. Sales of games, software and hardware, have been on the decline, month after month and year after year since the recession. Lately part of that decline is also due to the fact that we're nearing the end of the current console generation (Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo will all have new consoles out within the next two years), and because a lot of money is now going to social and mobile games (although there is no conclusive proof that those sales are significantly detracting from console games sales). Nevertheless, the game industry was hit by the recession and that made it hard to get funding for new projects (from anyone - not just game publishers).

 

2. As a direct result of the last point: Publishers are getting much, much more risk adverse. Take a look at the biggest selling games of the last two years. You're going to notice a significant trend: There are a lot of sequels in there. That's not a coincidence. Publishers are going for franchises and IPs that they know will bring in the big bucks. It is very, very rare for a new IP to gain a foothold in that kind of market (it happens, certainly, but usually there is a lot of marketing money behind it - in addition to the development cost). Even for an IP with a well-established fan base - like WoT - it's an uphill struggle; especially when you consider that, as loyal as we all are, there are still a very small number of us compared to Call of Duty fans.     

 

In summary: Money has been hard to come by. You want a good WoT game, right? Well, REG wants that too - which is why they haven't been settling for anything less than the full funding they need to get the games off the ground.

 

*******

To concerns about the quality of a WoT mobile game, or appropriateness of platform: 

 

I can't say much to this except: Get on train. Mobile - or something much like it - is very much likely the future of gaming. We're likely going to see the death of consoles (as we currently know them, at least) in our lifetimes. There are a lot of great mobile games out there, and many are very high quality in terms of graphical fidelity, gameplay, story, and anything else you can name. And they're less expensive to boot. The current generation of iPads are more powerful than a PS2 - which is only last generation gaming hardware - that's pretty good! I haven't played any of Jet Set's games, so I can't speak to their specific quality, but with their pedigree I don't doubt that they're as good as they say they are.

 

 

*******

In regards to the comments deriding REG:

 

I briefly did some work for REG about three and a half years ago. I can tell you, contrary to some of the comments above, that the principles of REG, Rick and Larry, are very much WoT fans, have read the books thoroughly, and very much want the games and movies to succeed. Sure, they want to make some money - but who doesn't? Think about it this way: You all trust Harriet, right? Well, I'm making some assumptions here (I don't know Harriet - I've never met her before in my life), but I think we can say that if Harriet is happy with the REG agreement - and as far as I know there is no evidence to support otherwise - then it should probably follow that we should all be happy. Otherwise, it's kinda like you're saying that those people who have been put in charge of RJ's legacy are wrong, or wrongheaded, and I don't think anyone here believes that.

 

This has been a long post, and I've had to write half of it twice since I was stupid enough to try writing the whole thing in the comment box to start, rather than in Notepad, like any sane person would do. In any case, if you've gotten to the end, thanks for reading and I hope that I've helped provide some perspective. 

 

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TLDR

 

That's a lie I read it all.

But I don't care.

 

The gist of it, Ablacquiere, is: we were promised a comic of a new spring, a MMORPG, a xbox/ps3/wii game AND a movie. And what have we got?

 

A half finished comic and a money grabbing company asking us for nearly half a million dollars for some crappy phone app game. I mean have you played Highborn by Jet Set Games? It's awful. And only has 2 stars and 5 reviews in the UK iphone app store. Because it's a crap game from a crap software developer.

 

And with the next-generation of xbox, playstation and wii coming out don't try and tell me that REG are 'getting on the train' because consoles are a dying breed. Get real. They are a small company with no identity. THAT is the reason they are talking to Jet Set Games because no big time AAA game developer or movie studio would even entertain them and their two-bit organisation. So they have had to go to a Z-list phone app developer instead. And they have the cheek to ask us for money!

 

What have they actually done since they got the rights to WOT?

I'll tell you...NOTHING!

 

 

I’ll be setting up a boycott page on the Dragonmount forums today. Anyone that feels similar should post on the thread to show that we are unhappy with Red Eagle.

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All of those development costs could be completely true, but as a company if you don't communicate that to your fan base somehow (we're left assuming those costs, and hearing them from an ex-employee in an online forum) and don't pursue a true partnership from that same fan base from the beginning it only comes across as manipulative. That's incumbent on a good company as well, is it not: to keep the consumers as informed as is reasonable, and do what it can to assuage them in the event of difficulties. If your only communication is to say, "We're working on it. Oh hey, incidentally, we need more money..." I personally have had no dealings with Red Eagle, but from the severe negative reaction by the fans on an online community dedicated to the world they're producing product for (allegedly), I can tell you they're not running this part of their company well.

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Excuses aside, this series has been around for more than 20 years. In all that time, there really has been only one bit of merchandise spun off from it that made me run out and spend money: The first WoT PC game that Legend produced.

 

The comics looked great, but they're a little hard to get a hold of IRL. And my one attempt to buy them online resulted in a rip-off.

 

Every single novel since LoC (and maybe before that) has been on the NY Times best seller list, including several at number 1. Do you know how hard that is to do even once? And a novel in the middle of the longest epic fantasy series of our time (perhaps EVER)?

 

Knowing all of that, I cannot accept any excuse for weak quantity and quality of merchandise releases related to Wheel of Time. This entire franchise is SCREAMING for the Bioware treatment.

 

@ablacquiere I'm not questioning REE's dedication. I'm questioning their business competence. They clearly WANT to release WoT games, but they have been unable to do so, primarily due to lack of funding. And they also seem unable to secure that funding from outside investors. An ethical company would have sold the rights to another production company that has a better chance of releasing product. But instead, REE has held on to the rights to WoT, knowing full well they cannot fund (much less complete) any of the products that they have promised, and as a result, the fans are the ones who get punished. We get no releases, and when it does appear that one SMALL WoT release might actually happen, suddenly we fans are asked to... pay in advance...? Ex-squeeze me? Can they make these games or can't they? If they can't, then they need to step aside and make room for someone who can.

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@Metal Head - The Comics aren't hard to find. Go to your local comic book store and ask them to order them for you. If they don't or can't, then find one that will. I know my local comic shop does, and once they started ordering for me, they had other people ask about them. So now they have them stocked on the shelves.

 

And you talk about the lack of WoT Merchandise?

What about Ta'veren Tees? https://taverentees.com/threads/

I mean it's not interactive media, but it is another Wheel of Time merchandise vendor. And they ACTUALLY LISTEN to the community and make what we request! At least they are interacting with the community and trying to do things the right way.

 

And then there is Badali Jewelry. http://www.badalijewelry.com/

They make kick ass stuff as well.

 

And the officially licensed Wheel of Time Artist like Jeremy Saliba (http://www.imagekind.com/GalleryProfile.aspx?gid=112d76db-788a-4184-83cb-b874b0829357),

Seamas Gallagher (http://www.imagekind.com/GalleryProfile.aspx?gid=df06ed81-af74-413b-869f-6e96b091d75e),

and Paul Bielaczyc (http://www.aradanicostumes.com/) [his artwork's not on the site yet but he sells it at Cons]

that sell amazing WoT artwork.

 

There is no question REG/REE has screwed up the management of the games and movies but give the other WoT merchants some credit because they are doing stuff the right way. If you haven't checked out any of them then I think you should do so. They deserve your money for quality WoT products while we wait on someone to make the WoT game that we are all waiting for and that the series deserves.

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@Grifterz - My beef with the comics is that I already PAID for them. Haven't seen them. I'm sure I'll order the EotW graphic novels, but only when the first novel is complete. We're looking at 2 years for each novel, so at this pace, the entire series won't be available in graphic format for 28 years. Quality is paramount, but I think someone can do better than that even while maintaining quality.

 

As for the rest, you're right. I should have specified that I was referring to media: film, games, etc. I'm really looking at the super high-profile merch.

 

I appreciate what those other vendors you mentioned are doing. Ta'veren tees is certainly putting out a lot of stuff. Not really my thing, so I haven't bought one, but I'm not knocking them. If I WERE going to buy WoT clothing, I would certainly start there and encourage everyone else to do so as well. Much love for them.

 

Same with those other vendors you mentioned. I'm not really a jewelry guy, and my wife picks all the art in our place, although I'd like to make a desktop slide show of some artists' work I've seen.

 

The fan-created stuff, especially the art, has been awesome. I'm just hoping for something a little more immersive, like a movie or a VG. The quality of the comics is really good, I'm just not happy with the pace of release. I think I would have preferred it if they had skipped releasing the comics as individual episodes, and just gone directly to the graphic novel format, even if it took a little longer. WoT has been a best-seller for about 2 decades. I think I got the WoT issue #0 almost 3 years ago, but now the first book is still not completed in graphic format?

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"An ethical company would have sold the rights to another production company that has a better chance of releasing product. But instead, REE has held on to the rights to WoT, knowing full well they cannot fund (much less complete) any of the products that they have promised, and as a result, the fans are the ones who get punished."

 

This. Exactly this. That's all that needs to be said on the matter.

 

What I'm having trouble understanding, though, is why no high(er) profile company has approached REE with an offer, given the series' popularity. I'm certain REE would sell if the bid were decent, and we'd all be so much better off for it.

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Okay, let me get this right... REE or whatever, want the fans who did not buy the rights, did not make promises they could not keep, and did not keep waffling anytime they were asked a simple question, to help them fund something that they, as an "independent game developer", cannot afford to do or get funded at all themselves??? Okay, this doesn't make any sense to me what-so-ever... First questions, then dissections and finally ranting.. Don't worry Dwynwen, I will be as polite as possible. I promise ^_^

 

So.. They went into this knowing: A1) It's a major fantasy novel series, on a par with Tolkien, which amazingly and helpfully, already has such material on the market for reference points. Check. B1) It was going to take serious money to get all that they wanted accomplished, and they promised it would be. Check. C1) They were going to need the support and word of mouth of the fanbase to help get this thing rolling. Check. D1) They needed something, or multiple, big, cool and exciting things to help get said support from the fans. So, they promised the best we could ever ask for, and more. Check. ....Now this is where common sense takes a complete left turn straight out the window, and all education of these people.. REE and all it's affiliates imo.. seems to get seriously "Dazed & Confused" on us...

 

Dissection process: A2) Anybody with a business of any kind, before putting themselves in a Trolloc pot neck deep, does market analysis', major research on all fronts, as well as cost-effective analysis' of every kind. Twice over, and then have someone else go over it twice, just to cover their butts. It is called "smart business", the last time I checked. Yet, LoTR has all kinds of merchandise, records of production costs, and plenty of other things to dissect, analyze, and research, so that pretty much all of the information they needed was already out there, they just had to get it and work it to fit their projects. Did they bother? Apparently not.. B2) Right back to A1. All figures they needed to put together for a rough estimate on designing, making and selling anything, was already out there from LoTR. It is not rocket science to create a business plan, or to project out/in $ figures, especially when Peter Jackson, major companies and the Tolkien family already put all the hard work into getting LoTR movies and games crafted, made and delivered. Probably in less time then it took REE to sell the rights to the comic books to Dynamite. Wow.. C2) They came, performed, promised and then disappeared. Oh, except for "We are in talks/works with Universal" or "We're working on it" every year in a press release or when they were confronted. Nice.. D2) They promised Epicness to the extreme. From comics turned into graphic novels for the entire series, mmorpg's, major platform games, movies.. Pretty much everything they could think of except the kitchen sink.. It was like every WoT fans' best dreams come true. Yet, many years later, and all we have is empty promises, barely any comics and a possible series of App games, that most of us will never even play, but pretty much only if we help fund it?? Yeah.. Let the ranting commence..

 

Rants) Seriously, did they not research the fact this series is over 20 years old? Many of the fans, not being smart cuz I'm getting older myself, are also years older. Who over the age of 30-40 seriously plays games on a handheld device? Not very many, I'll tell you that.. Research your target market.. Number one thing you learn in business: Research, research, start your business, and then research until you sell it, or die, because otherwise it will fail, fail, fail... End of subject. Now, it's been all these years and still, nothing.. This isn't Ghostbusters III, and we have no Bill Murray here, holding things up and dragging his feet because he put on some pounds. Also, the book has been written for 20 years.. I'm sorry, it does not take four years to take out descriptive text, change things to suit film, and possibly rework some things for conversion to the big screen. I know it takes work, but seriously, it shouldn't take but 6 months for the first, and maybe 6 more to do multiple revisions for a great script to be made. Heck, two years I can deal with for a script, but four plus and still nothing significant has been done on the movie front.. Hardly anything at all??? Ridiculous... I mean, they go on and on about being WoT fans and staying independent, because of not wanting to deal with major market companies, due to them putting their say all over it, and ruining the final product. Yet, here they are working with Universal Pictures on the movie??? HA!! Yeah, okay, let me guess.. Walt Disney, Lions Gate and Paramount were too busy??? Fact is, these guys have had no serious backers, funding or even a direct line of action to get any of the things they promised done. Ever. They either all knew from the start, or whoever did the research before getting the rights (which no one probably ever did, apparenty), that they were never going to get very far. Just a facade, charade and scam to lead us by the noses and shell out cash at the last possible minutes before they lose it all. I'm sorry, but I am not going to fund a company that lies, manipulates, coerces and allows employees that they would pay, at minimum according to above figures, $120k/year to play with kids' swords, and nerf guns, while on the clock and shooting a promotional video to show your dedication and commitment to a project... Real professional, let me tell you. Because I want to know one person who can do that at a job, in front of an owner of the company, and not get fired.. Game development may be stressful, but I don't ever remember seeing kids' toys at an army barracks, or anyplace else, the last time I was there to work. I mean, come on, really?? You aren't Google and rich enough to do whatever you want, sorry.. Worst of all, the pic they are using, based on WoT landscape and "scope of project", on both their kickstarter and home webpage, is from 2009.. Guess we know how long it has been since they did any kind of serious development relating to the WoT.. And that is from an independent artist, who just directed the most recent Underworld movie, which was his directorial debut.. Seriously, people? Grow up, man up and admit it, REE.. You lied, failed, mismanaged the entire situation and are now hoping for fan support and loyalty to the series to pull you out of said Trolloc pot and save you from complete and utter failure before it's all over..Oh, and here's a free business tip, too, while I'm at it.. Do not promise things you can not deliver, only what you know you can. Again, smart business. Learn it, live it and be about it. Or go work for Wal-Mart..

 

P.S. - Also, for the Lights' sake, Harriet can only do so much. Don't even try and use our faith in her managing the Jordan estate out there. I'm pretty confident in saying she has all WoT fandom behind her 100%. It's the same as when RJ was still alive and the whole comics fiasco started in the first place. He got seriously ticked off, but after a company has leased the rights, they don't have as much say as you seem to think they do. It has nothing to do with her, or the Jordan estate, solely REE, who bought said rights, and ran them over with a bulldozer and sat on them like a mother hen.. Rant over and thank you Dragonmount for letting me speak my mind.

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The problem is communication, isn't it? Crowd-funding only works when you are in close contact with the community you're aiming at. Let's say REG has good intentions, then why didn't they even tell us this KS-campaign was planned? Now, after radio silence for such a long time, suddenly, out of the blue, came this KS. How can they expect us to be enthousiastic, when we have zero information about what the game is going to be like?

 

I feel sad, because I WILL NOT feel happy when this KS fails (as I think it will); it will only mean there won't be WoT-games anytime soon. Still, I also will not back this project, because I have no faith in REG. Talk about lose-lose...

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@theLivingNightmare great post and all, but one small-ish issue:

 

Who over the age of 30-40 seriously plays games on a handheld device? Not very many, I'll tell you that..

 

A huge number of people in that - and all - age groups, really. Mobile gaming - cell phone apps, not things like the PSP and 3DS - is the largest and fastest-growing platform for gaming in all demographics, especially the 30+ one. While I've found very few mobile games worth a damn myself, the business sense in such a decision is undeniable. At least on paper. Had they not been promising us console and PC games for years and years and years now, this wouldn't be nearly as offensive. It'd be downright welcome, in fact. But not from REE.

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@Zewe Thanks. Honestly, this is the only thing in my post that I am not either invested in or worried about at all, as I have zero interest in mobile app games what-so-ever, and I even own an iPhone myself. Go figure. I can believe what you say, as I have been out of all that scene completely. It's overflooded, and for a country in recession, I don't think I need a new smartphone just so I can play the only WoT games that REG, at this time clearly, are invested into publishing. Like you said, it does look good on paper, minus the fact they want fans/customers to help their "company" fund their production costs. Sure, when a real game gets released, I'll be in line to shell out cash to the retailer, not the people who have yet to make it and have up to this point lied, backpedaled and blown us off. All this after saying how committed they were and how they would keep us informed of anything, yet don't bother to mention you changed gears from VG's and a movie over to the mobile app game market until you need money from us?. Why promise something you wouldn't deliver on? Then expect us to throw money your way to boot? That is just setting yourself up for failure, as you have cut off your number one backing point,. The fanbase. The only way you can do something like this that comes to my mind, and I'm beyond tired so please bear with me, is if you are already in production of said product that has a release date, and you push it back to fix development issues. Everytime it happens, fans tend to get outraged, but they usually calm down, because most of them realize it's still getting released and it will most likely make the product better in the end. I am 100% with you that if they had not been pushing the big ticket items down our throats from the start, with nothing to show but empty promises and then bring this out of left field with no word from them in a long time other than "the major platform games and movie are both still in the works!", I would have backed them, even if it isn't something I am interested in. But they spurred me with the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and now that they are realizing we have lost all patience and faith, they are trying to put together anything they possibly can to reconcile the divide.. I'm with Zewe. Not from REE/REG. Ever. That ship has sailed, docked and been stripped down for parts. Goodnight. ~ edited for sleepy spelling ^_^ ~

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I played the computer game but didn't really last very long. Couldn't quite get into it but I was in a hurry. Now that I'm reading the books I'll try again.

 

I'd like to see this as a game for any system. However I think it'd be terrible as a mobile app. Why you ask? It's too complex. I hear alot of people saying Assassin's Creed. I have only started the WoT series and I helped a friend beat the first Assassin's Creed so I don't see the parallel here. But I have played the mobile Assassin's Creed games, both on iPhone and on PSP. They were terrible. Honestly, IMHO, this series belongs in a Skyrim kind of universe. Harriet should wrestle the rights back and hand them over to Bethesda. They'd take this series and make it amazing not to mention draw many over to the books to find out the backstory.

 

The comics, I wasn't impressed. Read one issue and couldn't careless if I ever saw it again.

 

Movie you say? Someone call Peter Jackson after he's done The Hobbit.

 

But these people, REE, they dont sound good. Why is Harriet allowing this? Surely she should have some sort of legal rights to try to get this back and do something with it.

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I've asked Red Eagle, on the kickstarter page, if this is some kind of practical joke...will be interesting to see if I get a response.

 

Down with Red Eagle.

 

They have really ruffled my feathers with this crap.

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But, when you look at the REG website and see all the quality games they've produced... Oh wait, there haven't produced any. The same with the empty REE website. They don't seem to do anything at all.

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LOTR and Game of Thrones both reveal what WOT could be in film and gaming, if entrusted to the right developers. No more excuses.

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Little update, 13 days to go and they have only raised $2,566 with 61 backers. That leaves them $447,434 to raise... Fail isn't a good enough word to describe this entire undertaking.

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The Kickstarter was canceled. with only 3 days left they had 67 backers with a total pledge amount of $2,894 of the requested $450,000.

 

In a message posted on the page they will launch another kickstarter for this again in a few months when the game is further along in development and Alpha version game play can be demonstrated.

 

You would have figured they would have gotten the message from all the posts made on the site that NO ONE wants this. Its a Phone game and from the comments here and on the kickstarter page not one person was excited for this at all.

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