Historical Fiction Author Takes A Swing At Perfecting Swordfighting In Games

By June 10, 2012

Science and historical fiction author Neal Stephenson hates sword fighting in video games today. In fact, the real life swordsmanship enthusiast hates it so much that he’s started working on a game of his own to make sure someone gets it right. Recently the author has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund CLANG, his idea for the first truly realistic sword fighting game.

“It’s not a sword game if you have to pull a trigger or push a button to swing a sword,” said the author.

The new game will “enable players to inhabit the mind, body, and world of a real swordfighter. According to the fundraising page, CLANG will use a two-handed longsword peripheral to accurately track the movements and stance of the player. Stephenson’s goal is to raise $500,000 to fund the ambitious project. “It takes a lot of people to make a sword game that doesn’t suck,” he said.

Check out the video below to bask in Stephenson’s impressive nonchalance, even amidst a flurry of sword fighting. Watch out for a cameo from Valve studio head Gabe Newell, who can be seen forging the iconic crowbar of the company’s Half-Life franchise.

Stephenson is taking the safe approach to developing the game by first creating a toolkit for other developers looking to implement the kind of realistic sword fighting motion controls into their own titles. From there, Stephenson’ company, Subutai Corporation, will begin making a basic game of its own.

“It’s going to be an arena game. Lots of fighting, not a whole lot in the way of plot or character development, but that’s kind of what we do for a living so we can always add that stuff in later.”

The author is enticing gamers to join him on the quest to make the first realistic swordfighting game by offering up t-shirts, concept art, and signed posters. The Kickstarter fund currently has $30,000 of its $500,000 goal, with 400 backers and nearly a month left to go.

Corey Cummings

Corey is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin in Madison where he received degrees in English and Creative Writing. He currently lives in Chicago and enjoys alternately obsessing over video games that aren't out yet and crazy gadgets he can't afford.