The upcoming fantasy movie Eragon (based on the best selling novel) is joining the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter movies with a video/PC game tie-in from publisher Vivendi Games that will be released in mid-November. FiringSquad got a chance to chat with Vivendi producer Tim Ramage to find out more about their plans for the Eragon game.
FiringSquad: First, what can you tell us about how the deal for making the Eragon game came about?
Tim Ramage: We had been looking at the book at about the same time 20th Century Fox was securing the rights to the property. Fortunately, the production team here at Vivendi Games had a great relationship with Fox…all three of us involved on the title actually came from Fox Interactive. As a result, we were able to come in and pitch a game idea for the franchise. Fox liked our pitch and we were granted the rights to publish the video game for the movie.
FiringSquad: Why was Stormfront Studios elected to develop the game?
Tim Ramage: Stormfront was actually one of the reasons our pitch was successful. Again, we had a prior relationship with Stormfront which exposed us to their capabilities, as a developer of successful movie franchise games and third-person, action/adventure style games in the fantasy genre. They were a perfect fit for Eragon.
FiringSquad: What can you tell us about the game's storyline and does it follow the movie version or will there be elements of the novel added as well?
Tim Ramage: We were fortunate that Fox gave us the ability to not only draw from the movie, but also from the entire book universe. This allowed us to put together a unique franchise plan for Eragon. The console and PC versions follow the movie the closest. We hit all of the story points based upon the movie script. However, in order to create a compelling game experience, we have to go beyond what appears on the big screen, so the book was valuable in helping us extend what happens in the game beyond the screen. This was even more valuable when we undertook the Xbox 360 version of the game. We were able to build two new levels and a new enemy unique the Xbox 360 which drew heavily upon the book fiction.
For the handheld versions, Amaze Entertainment really wanted to create three different experiences that were unique to each platform. All three, PSP, DS & GBA follow the movie, but then add elements from the book that extend the game play in accordance with the respective style of game. For example, the DS is an epic Action RPG which takes the player not only through the environments of the movie (you’ll recognize environments from the movie which appear in the game), but also feature locales and characters that are unique to the book. The GBA version is a traditional turn-based RPG which actually allows the player to play with characters from the movie that don’t appear in the console and PC versions of the game…and again, you will encounter characters and locales from the book that aren’t in the movie.
And for those who can’t get enough dragon flight in the console versions, the PSP is a dragon flight-only game with a story mode and a dog fighting arena mode that features 11 different types of multiplayer game play that can be played solo against bots, or with up to three other friends.
FiringSquad: What sort of help and feedback did the development team receive from the cast and crew of the movie version and is the author of the originan novel involved in any way?
Tim Ramage: Since 20th Century Fox licensed the game rights for the movie, we worked closely with key creative personnel to make sure we were bringing the vision of the movie into the game. This included access to concept art, discussions with the Director and Producers, visits to the set of the movie and reference material from ILM and WETA.
From a cast standpoint, we were able to include the likenesses of all the major characters from the movie in the game, as well as the voices of four principle actors, Ed Speleers (Eragon), Sienna Guillory (Arya), Garrett Hedlund (Murtagh) and Robert Carlyle (Durza).