‘Cities of Legend’ Game Immerses Players in Marie Lu’s ‘Legend’

For fans of the Legend books, this should peak your interest, especially if you love those addictive Facebook games (unfortunately, my time is rather limited thus I’ve had to sacrifice my playing time to small bouts of Words With Friends.)

After completing the first draft of Legend, Lu created an online game called Legend: Dystopia. In it, players could create their own Legend-themed avatar and play a series of mini-games based on the book (the game has since been taken offline). The project, she says, had unforeseen benefits–it allowed her to “stay in the world” of the book while providing a sort of sandbox for ideas that she could later incorporate into the story. Although Lu never intended her game to be anything more than a fun diversion, it attracted upwards of 12,000 players and intrigued CBS Films co-president Wolfgang Hammer, who had spearheaded a movie deal for Legend (the film is currently in development). With branding in mind, he suggested adding an online social aspect to Legend – a perfect opportunity for Lu to create a new game.

Together with Los Angeles’s Wicked Sweet Games, Lu created Cities of Legend, a free-to-play game that takes place before the events of Legend and uses puzzles, role-playing, and social elements to bring the world of the books to life. Developing an in-game storyline, Lu says, is very different from writing a novel. She had to consider interactivity – the player “is actually part of the story” instead of a passive observer – as well as the pace of a video game, which compresses the story into bite-sized bits, which forced Lu to “boil it down to the essentials.” Developing Cities of Legend and writing Prodigy concurrently, she adds, let her “draw energy from each,” with the game inspiring parts of the book and vice versa.

New Facebook Game Immerses Players in Marie Lu's 'Legend'

Players can choose from 10 different characters from either the Republic or the Rebels and duke it out for points.

In Cities of Legend, players can choose to join the Republic or fight alongside Day and the rebels, earning points for either side through various challenges and missions. The decision to use Facebook as the gaming platform was an easy one for Lu. Creating a game on Facebook, she explains, is relatively easy compared to developing a traditional console game, and using the social network as a platform can help foster a thriving, active community of Legend readers.

I’m rather impressed with this.  I like the idea that this is for the fans, but it definitely seems like something that those who haven’t read the book could still be interested in.  I guess it helps when the author has a background in video game design.

(Source:  PublishersWeekly)

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