Lift-off for 'groundbreaking' Black Crown

Lift-off for 'groundbreaking' Black Crown

Random House UK has launched stage one of its online narrative gaming project, Black Crown, as well as revealing the identity of its author.

Debut writer Rob Sherman, who completed a Masters in Creative Writing at Exeter University, has created the online world and story, which is set in the shady Widsith Institute. The game was launched today [29th May].

Players join the game in the role of clerks at the Institute, with the task of categorising and analysing its archive of diaries and journals belonging to the world's greatest explorers.

Over the course of the story, users will learn about the figure of Miasma Eremite, who journeyed to the town of Loss, through exploring numerous objects and documents.

The first documents, Mour Mour Mour and Lincoln's Bedsheet, can be downloaded now from e-book retailers. The narrative will be updated and added to in several stages after stage one's month-long running time. Free to play, readers can unlock additional story strands, speed up the narrative, or acquire items and status within the world by making
micropayments.

Random House Group digital publisher Dan Franklin said: "Black Crown represents Random House's ambition to push the boundaries in online storytelling, experiment with new business models and launch a debut author in a groundbreaking way. Rob Sherman is a superb writer and a rare talent, and I'm delighted to be publishing him in this way."

The project is supported by Failbetter Games' Storynexus platform.