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 A LAND FIT FOR HEROES: The first game in a trilogy  

To be honest there is nothing actually "18+" on this page but the content of the game is definitely NOT for young adults. The target audience/player is most definitely ADULT, mature eighteen year olds and older.

The text below (in blue) is from a Press Release for the game book. Note that it mentions "explicit", "sex and violence", "dark" and "violent" but not "pornographic". Do check out the videos, they give you some idea of the game but they are fairly guarded as to the content.

   

Crysis 2 and Syndicate Writer Richard Morgan Launched a New Dark Fantasy Gamebook Series Richard Morgan’s ‘A Land Fit for Heroes’ is out now on Mobile with a dizzying plot and grim anti-heroes for those who are ready to embrace all that is dark and violent in the fantasy genre.

London, United Kingdom, November 4th 2015 -- Gollancz, an imprint of the Orion Publishing Group, with Liber Primus Games, indie developer and creator of gamebook series Narborion Saga, today released their joint project – an addictive multiplayer gamebook, the first of its kind, set in the world of award-winning novelist and Crysis 2 and Syndicate writer Richard Morgan’s Sword and Sorcery trilogy A Land Fit for Heroes. This grim fantasy title which represents the first book in the trilogy is now available on the Play Store for Android devices, App Store for iPhone, iPad, iTouch and Amazon for Kindle Fire. Steam for Windows PC will launch closer to Christmas in late December.  

“I am delighted to announce that the ‘Land Fit for Heroes’ gamebook is now out.” said author Richard Morgan, “It’s great to see the world I created for these books come to fresh life in a digital game-book format. I think all fantasy fans are going to appreciate having the power in their hands to choose the destiny of these new characters and to explore the world beyond the limits of the original story.”  

A Land Fit for Heroes is a gripping story of three wholly new characters and a sequence of bloodthirsty events steeped in mystery and gore. It is not your average gamebook; A Land Fit for Heroes is darker and deeper than the gamebook norm, explicit in matters of both sex and violence, targeted primarily at a mature audience. The main characters are not traditional heroes but outcasts with scarred souls and murky pasts. This is a story and character design with a truly dark twist; readers may be shocked but they will still be enthralled by Morgan’s rich and mysterious dark fantasy tapestry, presented in a fresh and entirely unique format. 

In another first for the gamebook format players will get to choose not only the acts but the sexual orientation of their chosen character, a facet which reflects the diverse character traits and personal choices made by characters in the novels. 

Download A Land Fit for Heroes for Android Here: 

Download A Land Fit for Heroes for iOS Here:  

Watch Teaser Trailer Here: 

Watch A Land Fit for Heroes Game Play video Here: 

About A Land Fit For Heroes

Based on Richard Morgan’s trilogy of dark fantasy novels, A Land Fit For Heroes is the new interactive gamebook experience telling the story of three unlikely heroes with three interlocking storylines. Kirellin of House Caith is a skilled war veteran, a man with a death wish who suffers the mental trauma of years of combat, Calnar is a young Majak warrior,repeatedly raped by his father during his childhood, and channeling his inner rage to triumph in bloody combat against all foes. Ilaria is an accomplished thief with a tortured past filled with violence and personal anguish. These three will find their paths fatefully crossed in this adventure where each is tested to the extreme – but where ultimately the reader must decide their fates. 

Children go missing in the marshes. Ancient spirits awaken. Powerful machine-demons manipulate the fate of mankind. But all of this is just a game for even darker forces. In the first of its kind, bestselling author Richard Morgan brings his fantasy trilogy to fresh life as a three-player gamebook set in the world of A Land Fit For Heroes. 

About Liber Primus Games

Established in 2014 Liber Primus Games is a small Indie developer based in Budapest, Hungary. The studio’s ultimate goal is to bring immersive story driven games to the digital marketplace. Their previous gamebook titles include The Narborion Saga I, II & III.

    

www.narborion.com           

 

 About Gollancz

Gollancz is the oldest specialist SF & Fantasy publisher in the UK. Founded in 1927 and with a continuous SF publishing programme dating back to 1961, the imprint of the Orion Publishing Group is home to a galaxy of award-winning and bestselling authors. Through our long-running SF and Fantasy Masterworks programme, and major digital initiative the SF Gateway, Gollancz have one of the largest ranges of SF and Fantasy of any publisher in the world.

www.gollancz.co.uk 

About Richard Morgan

Richard Morgan was, until his writing career took off, a tutor at Strathclyde University in the English Language Teaching division. He has travelled widely and lived in Spain and Istanbul. He is a writer of novels and comics and video games, and has won the ARTHUR C. CLARKE, the PHILIP K. DICK and the JOHN W. CAMPBELL AWARDS. The movie rights to the first Takeshi Kovacs novel were optioned by Joel Silver and Warner Bros on publication, and a film version is currently in development with Mythology Entertainment. Richard Morgan is a fluent Spanish speaker. He is married and lives with his wife and son in Norwich.

My View After Playing

I haven't read any of Richard Morgan's books and so I downloaded this game expecting it to be in the same genre as the game-books I played years ago from Joe Dever (Lone Wolf series) and the Fighting Fantasy books of Livingstone & Jackson ut perhaps a bit more 21st Century. I couldn't have been any further wrong. To begin with this is a game that can be played by three players at the same time, each taking on one of the three main characters - Kirellin, Calnar or Ilaria - or it can be played solo where you play each of the chapters one character at a time; thus beginning with Chapter One for Kirellin, then Chapter One for Calnar and then Chapter One for Ilaria. This will take you to Chapters Two and so on until you reach the final chapter where all three characters are involved together.

   

The story begins like most high fantasy tales as you get to hear the background, bit by bit, and learn about the characters. The paragraphs, generally more than one for each section, are much longer than any found in the game-books I have already mentioned and then at the end there is generally no option as to what to do. You literally just click on the continue arrow and another mass of text arrives onscreen. The "game" runs like this throughout, occasionally offering a choice of two options for action and on rare occasion more than two.

The story is sexually explicit and the characters are often more occupied with sex, heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual, than any mission they are given. One of the characters (Kirellin I think, who is noted as homosexual) wakes up with a boy in his bed, then later visits a brothel and has sex with a woman, and later enters another brothel where a man the same age as him is oiled up and ready to go that extra mile. There are times when the writing is rude and crude in the manner of the soft porn most of us read when we were younger and other times when the soft language is overtaken by the "F" and "C" words and the detail in the description is way past the necessary for a game that anyone of any age can download. I am not a prude, I often swear more than I should and at times when I shouldn't but there are times when this makes "50 Shades of Grey" read like a Mickey Mouse Funhouse Annual. Land Fit For Heroes, the game-book, is the bastard child of Starz "Spartacus" and "50 Shades of Grey" with a little "Game of Thrones" thrown (pun intended) in as the midwife.

 

There are numerous spelling and in-game mistakes which are irritating as this is a published professional work (I know I make spelling mistakes in my writing, often because I try to type too fast and other times because spell-checker wants me to use American-English so maybe it is a case of the pot calling the kettle black), but there are also things that really don't work. For example: I went to the weaponsmith's to buy some equipment and was told I had no money. Then I went to the brothel, was satiated, and they didn't ask for a penny. Now I personally know very little about brothels (except I know that isn't another name for a soup kitchen) but I doubt they allow you to enjoy the goods first and pay later. Another time I was passing a lake and there was a "brown round duskweed island" which attacked me and was described as a "Humongous Spider"which was trying to drag me underwater. I had to fight it, no option. Having defeated and killed it the next page explained how I was exhausted after my fight with the crocodile.  One last example of this made me LOL. Ilaria is on a mission and has three men with her. Naturally she gets into trouble and tries to fight and flee. She is shown the bodies of the three men "killed by a single steel arrow shot through their forehead". This conjured up all manner of ridiculousness - one arrow killing them all, "they" having only a single forehead between them, all three bodies lying in a line with a single steel arrow joining them by their heads.

Playing on my Android pad, the game reads like a book and is mostly played in portrait orientation, until combat occurs. Then you get to turn the tablet to landscape where the fights take place on a squared grid with the combatants shown as stand up cards in holders, much like the card miniatures used in games like Pathfinder rpg and early Dungeons & Dragons boxed sets etc. Clicking on your character brings up movement arrows and the number of points you have to spend. Click on an arrow and the character moves one space in that direction, orthogonal and diagonal. Click on an opponent and a cross-sword symbol shown above it can be clicked to roll the combat dice. The dice result seems to make little or no difference to the combat. I have rolled as low as a "3" and still hit yet an opponent rolled a double-six and missed me.

I haven't played in a multi-player game, but playing solo each character has their own missions and gets caught up in numerous intrigues and battles, often coerced by circumstances into doing something that may go against the character's principles, though these characters seem to have few or no principles. Generally there are not many options for the players to take except for when they are in a town where they have shops, brothels and other NPCs available to them. NPCs offering work, tasks or missions also usually have a yes or no option to what is being offered, though each offer is quite often tinged with a veiled threat. Saying no may get you into a verbal or physical quarrel that eventually worms around to you taking the mission anyway, by force or choice.

The main problem I have overall though is that although as a story it is intriguing and the characters well rounded, for a game-book there is too much reading and not enough action. It does have me now wanting to check out Richard Morgan's books though so if that was the intention of releasing it as a game then it has worked. Though it hasn't exactly endeared me to the format used for the game it hasn't totally put me off either.

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015