Linden Lab, makers of Second Life, has been kind of quiet for a while. They broke that silence today with an acquisition and announcement of new products.
Linden Lab announced their acquisition of LittleTextPeople, a game development studio that specializes in writing, programming and designing next-generation interactive fiction.
Linden Lab is going to break from its one-trick-pony Second Life this year with several stand-alone products that will use LittleTextPeople’s technology in various ways.
“It’s an exciting time to join Linden Lab as they prepare to roll out entirely new types of social experiences and products,” said Emily Short, Chief Textual Officer of LittleTextPeople. “We look forward to building tools and technology that will allow people to create their own stories in interactive mediums that have never existed before.”
If you’re like me and wondering what LittleTextPeople is, the company explains itself:
LittleTextPeople explores the gameplay possibilities of nuanced social interaction. The company’s core technology is a simulator able to model social practices and individual personalities. Combine the simulations with the expressive freedom of fiction and the result is gameplay that more closely resembles the rich emotional dialogue of a novel, rather than a fight scene in an action movie.
From that, it seems like taking interactive fiction to the next level. I almost want this to turn into digital choose-your-own adventure novels. In all reality, it probably will be more like the visual novel genre that is popular in Asian countries, especially Japan.
“LittleTextPeople brings a depth and breadth of AI and interactive story development expertise that is a great fit for Linden Lab as we launch multiple new products,” said Rod Humble, CEO of Linden Lab. “The result of this investment will be a new type of digital entertainment that modernizes the novel as a shared story-telling experience.”
It sounds like Linden Lab is ready to step out of the shadow of Second Life. It was technically one of the first MMOs, but its problem is that it wasn’t really a game. It was more of a space for people to interact with each other. It looks like Linden Lab wants to change that with whatever they have got cooking with LittleTextPeople.
I for one can’t wait to see what this interactive fiction partnership produces.
For those who don't know much about Second Life and what it does, check out this video: