News about Versu and Blood & Laurels

An announcement from the relaunched site:


Until February of this year, the Versu project had its home at Linden Lab, exploring the possibilities of interactive storytelling with advanced character AI by Richard Evans (Sims 3, Black and White) and dialogue modeling by Emily Short (Galatea, Alabaster), as well as work by authors Jake Forbes (Return to Labyrinth) and Deirdra Kiai (Dominique Pamplemousse).

Regency-era comedy of manners and a modern office comedy stories, released for Versu, had received significant attention in various forms, including an appearance at GDC’s Experimental Gameplay Workshop, an award for best AI in an independent game in 2013, and coverage at Edge Online and New Scientist.

When the Lab decided to refocus its offerings and cut support for Versu, the project was only three days from launching a Roman political thriller called Blood & Laurels. Blood & Laurels represented a significant step forward in complexity and depth from previous Versu…

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18 thoughts on “News about Versu and Blood & Laurels”

  1. Congratulations!

    Have just been looking at the new Versu site. This is wonderful news!

    Hope things continue to develop well, and that – it time – we’ll be seeing Versu and titles on the Android platform!

    1. Thanks, Inara! We’d love to do that too, and it’s going to depend largely on our resources now that we’re a smaller team again. A strong launch for Blood & Laurels would definitely help on that front.

      1. Fully understand vis team size. Will keep fingers crossed that things go well, and will continue to cover Versu through my blog as well (assuming you don’t mind that I do! :) ).

  2. This blog post buries the lede, that “we are delighted to be able to announce that Linden Lab has negotiated a new arrangement that will allow us to release these stories and explore a future for the engine.”

  3. Great news, Emily! Thank you for your persistence on this.

    You may not know, which is fine, but I’m curious if you’re aware of any plans to bring Versu to platforms other than iPad (including the PC/computers in general). Thanks for any information!

    1. We would love to see Versu on more platforms — I’ve wanted it to be on Android and PC from the beginning. On the other hand, we also have fewer people working on the project than when we were at Linden, so whether and how soon we can make that happen is going to depend very much on our resources.

      1. I don’t know if you’re considering crowd-funding or anything; no pressure! Just going to say that I will *definitely* donate to a crowd-funding campaign if you do one.

  4. Excellent news Emily, although it means I’ll have to stop using Darth Vader references in future blog posts about Linden Lab … for a while at least ;)

    Hope all goes well, good luck and best wishes.

    1. Join Second Life and you can make all the Darth Vader references you want :-)

      (I love SL, and even pay 600 bucks a month for a pair of islands, but bitching about the Lindens is a time-honored tradition for all Residents…)

  5. That’s great news, Emily! I’m inferring from the announcement that we will not be seeing the earlier released stories again, correct? I first joined Second Life at the start of 2003, and I have to say, Versu excited me more than anything else Linden did after about 2006. Will you be opening up the tools as originally planned? Are you able to go into detail about the arrangement with Linden?

    1. We’re starting by releasing the stories that were ready to go as standalone apps when Linden closed Versu down. However, we did get the rights to the earlier material transferred as well, and we’ve been discussing what we want to do about this. We think that these stories work better as single apps, so we might do a repackaging and revision to reflect the current quality of Versu material.

      I’m not able to explain the arrangement in detail, I’m afraid. And we won’t be immediately opening up the toolset, but we are aware that there are a lot of people who would like to play with it.

  6. Congratulations on getting Versu back! I wish you all the best of luck with it!

    I’m afraid i’ll be joining the chorus for other platforms though.

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