In the months leading up to its release in May 2005, Advent Rising (PC, Xbox) was billed as a landmark union of literature and games. Its story's pedigree was beyond question, having been penned by Orson Scott Card, the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning science-fiction author.
However, developer Glyphx Games' efforts weren't especially well received critically or commercially. Publisher Majesco Games earned only $3.9 million by selling 110,517 copies of Advent Rising in the US, according to the NPD Group. As a result, a planned PSP spin-off, Advent Shadow, was summarily canceled, and Majesco shifted its business model to focus on casual games for Nintendo platforms.
However, despite his bad experiences with Advent Rising, Orson Scott Card gave games another shot, teaming with Chair Entertainment--a studio formed by many ex-Glyphx staffers--to work on a new PC and console game based on his novel Empire. The book, which depicts a near-future left-wing coup by a high-tech "progressive" junta in the United States, debuted in late 2006. However, the game has remained in development limbo as Chair focused on its Xbox Live Arcade game Undertow, released last November.
Today, Chair announced it has landed the exclusive console, handheld, and PC game rights to Card's celebrated novel Ender's Game. Specifically, the game will focus on a portion of the book that sees human children trained to direct massive battles via their lighting-quick young minds. The Ender's Game-inspired games will focus on the Battle Room, the zero-gravity chamber where young students engage in tactical combat simulations.
According to Chair, the first installment in the series is "expected for release via downloadable platforms." Speaking with Newsweek, Chair Entertainment cofounders Geremy and Donald Mustard said that development on the first game would begin later in the year using Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3.