January 29, 2008 / 9:24 PM / 12 years ago

Sci-fi novel "Ender's Game" to become video game

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters Life!) - “Ender’s Game”, the classic science fiction novel about a boy military genius who is trained through war games to fight aliens, is finally becoming a game itself.

Under a deal announced on Tuesday, Chair Entertainment, the game studio behind the recent hit “Undertow”, will develop titles based on Orson Scott Card’s book.

The novel, with its probing of the line between reality and games, has long been eyed by video game fans as a rich source of material for the medium.

Chair plans to make several titles based on the book, with the first one slated to be a downloadable game that should be available in 2009.

Card said he decided to move ahead with an “Ender’s Game” video game after years of wrangling to make a feature film bore no fruit.

“There is going to be a universe of ‘Ender’s Game’ games, hopefully. But that’s like someone starting a restaurant and thinking about opening 100 franchises all over the country,” Card told Reuters.

“Let’s make this one work first,” Card said.

The first game will focus on the Battle Room, the elite military academy where Ender hones his strategic and tactical skills and that provided some of the most memorable scenes in the book.

Based in Provo, Utah, privately held Chair enjoyed success with “Undertow”, a downloadable game for Microsoft Corp’s Xbox 360 console that pits teams of players against each other in a fast-paced underwater battle.

“The really cool thing about ‘Ender’s Game’ is that there’s lots of potential for lots of types of gameplay. We wanted to initially create the Battle Room, that’s really what jumped out to me as a gamer that I really wanted to play,” said Chair’s creative director Donald Mustard.

“We have not fully designed the game yet. I think that the game will play very much what we’ve all imagined the Battle School is, a cross between ‘Call of Duty’ with zero-g with hardcore strategy elements more like a sports game,” Mustard said, referring to a popular military shooting game.

It is the latest collaboration for Card and Chair, which is making a game based on Card’s recent novel “Empire”.

Reporting by Scott Hillis

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