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Stardock, Random House Enter 'Transmedia' Agreement For  Elemental
Stardock, Random House Enter 'Transmedia' Agreement For Elemental
March 1, 2010 | By Kris Graft

March 1, 2010 | By Kris Graft
More: Console/PC

Elemental creator Stardock entered a partnership with book publisher Random House, which established a new group that will take storytelling across media including video games and social networks.

The newly-established Random House IP group's first announced partnership will involve Stardock's upcoming fantasy strategy game, Elemental: War of Magic. Random House will work with Stardock's own creative team to formulate the story and world of Elemental.

As part of the partnership, Random House will publish the book Elemental: Destiny's Embers, which is set in the game's world, in August this year.

It's common to see books based on video games -- Random House's own Del Rey label has published books based on Mass Effect, Gears of War, and Halo. But the Random House IP group wants to take it further than that. The group will partner with other media companies to develop and market IP, spreading a single IP across social networks, mobile platforms, and film as well as print.

"A good story doesn’t necessarily have to begin and end with a game; it can and should encompass as many creative mediums as possible in order to provide fans with the most complete rendering of a fictional place or time,” said Brad Wardell, CEO of Stardock and executive producer of Elemental. "With Elemental having an incredibly rich back story to tell, partnering with Random House allows us to create the most immersive universe possible for our fans."

Gina Centrello, president and publisher of The Random House Publishing Group said in a statement, "We are providing a valuable service to other media companies in a competitive entertainment market, where success increasingly depends on the quality of your story."

Keith Clayton will serve as director of creative development at the new IP Creation and Development Group, while the group's director of business development Mikita Labanok will report to Scott Shannon, VP and publisher of Del Rey/Spectra labels.

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Kimberly Unger
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Of all the traditional "book" style publishers out there, it figures Random House would be one of the first to make this leap. Historically they have been dabbling in this type of cross-media, finding ways to leverage their edutainment materials and other properties into games and online media.

Bo Banducci
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This kind of scares me. I would hate not to be able to craft my game's story. Then again, if these people can come up with something that universally knocks socks off, you'd probably be excited to build your game around it. But... for designers who are concerned with the story... the message of their game... this is like a group telling a painter what he should paint about and what it should mean, and then leaving him to fill in the canvas.

Kellen D
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Bo, I believe you have the wrong idea about how this partnership is working. Brad Wardell had written several manuscripts over the years and they are the basis for the story of the game Elemental. The partnership allows him to get help making those manuscripts into a published as well as outsourcing a little of the story writing for the game.

This may be a more economical way to go than keeping a staff of writers, especially for a smaller development team like elemental has.

Kellen D
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I forgot to mention that the way Brad's posts about it really seem to hint that random house is helping with the quality of the writing, not so much the content.