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Old 11-25-2016, 12:28 PM   #1
William Cloud Hicklin
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An interesting snippet

A new collective interview with the principals of game developer Bioware (Baldur's Gate, Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect, Dragon Age), including this notable item:

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Ohlen, studio Creative Director
We actually were thinking about doing the Silmarillion MMO, because at that time Elevation was our private equity partner, and Bono was one of the partners. Ray and Greg convinced Bono to phone Christopher Tolkien to see if he would be willing to allow us to work on The Silmarillion as a game, and Tolkien wouldn't even take Bono's call! [laughs]. He's a grumpy guy.
Grumpy? No. Unwilling to see his father's Legendarium turned into World of Warcraft?* You bet.

What I find most amusing is the notion that Bono would have some sort of in, because....why? Because he's a celebrity and sorta almost British? I somehow doubt that CT's (born 1924) musical tastes run to U2.

------------------------------
*That's a bit overstated; Bioware makes much more sophisticated games than Blizzard. But they're till just videogames
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Old 11-25-2016, 03:01 PM   #2
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No, I can't see CJRT being much impressed with Bono. Odds are he had no clue who Bono was.

No matter who was asking though, I can see that idea flying about as well as the Moria Balrog (that is, like a paralyzed falcon) ).
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Old 11-29-2016, 10:31 AM   #3
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Thanks for that snippet, William!

I had a good laugh at some people thinking that someone of Christopher Tolkien's age would be in any way impressed by Bono's attempt to call him!

I also laughed at Mr. Ohlen calling Mr. Tolkien 'a grumpy guy'! If any man or woman gets to the age of 92, I believe he or she is entitled to be a little grumpy...
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Old 11-29-2016, 11:26 AM   #4
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That is a very interesting snippet.

I've followed Bioware for a very long time and the quality of their products has taken a steady nosedive to the point of ruin over the past decade.

For that reason I am glad this didn't go anywhere.

Still, I think the setting would make a good video game if done right.
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Old 11-29-2016, 06:19 PM   #5
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No doubt his children could have enlightened him - my cousin and sister are the same ages as Simon and Adam and are great devotees. But my father who was a contemporary of CRT would have associated U2 with submarines.

Otherwise I can only agree with what has been said. Ludicrous to think that Tolkien fils would or should be remotely interested or impressed by such an approach and a reflection of the bizarre arrogance of the modern celebrity culture, but we live in a world where Kate Witless can claim to be a huge fan of Iris Murdoch, whom she portrayed, but in the same breath declare that but of course she hadn't read her books, she didn't have the time. And of course I would much rather Christopher didn't have his time wasted with such ephemera while there are texts remaining to which he can provide his unique insight if he is so inclined.
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Old 11-29-2016, 07:16 PM   #6
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Yes, the idea that "wanting to protect a man's legacy" and "being grumpy" are the same thing is a rather foolish attitude to hold in my view.

On a related note, I'm always bemused by many people's strong desire to see their favourite (allegedly) works of literature adapted as visual media. Why? Do their imaginations not work properly or something?

I'm not much of a fan of Bioware games to be honest. The only one I've ever finished was the first Mass Effect, and I found that to be a slog. Of course they went on to make Dragon Age, the most utterly generic fantasy setting/narrative imaginable, so they didn't really need those Tolkien rights...
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Old 11-29-2016, 07:50 PM   #7
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Simon Tolkien: Dad, Bono is in a band, U2.

Christopher: No, not me too, I've never been in a band.

Simon Tolkien: No, U2 is the name of a band Bono is in.

Christopher Tolkien: Bilbo's cousin is in a band?

Simon Tolkien: Who is Bilbo's cousin?

Christopher Tolkien: Bono Baggins from Archet, one of the Bree Bagginses.

Simon Tollkien: Dad, the gentleman who called, his name is Bono. He is a famous rock star.

Christopher Tolkien: What, like The Beatles?

Simon Tolkien: Yes, but a few decades newer.

Christopher Tolkien: Rock and roll is still a thing?

Simon Tolkien: Evidently...

Christopher Tolkien: Well, in any case, I am not interested in joining his band.

Simon Tolkien: Dad, Bono didn't want you to join his band.

Christopher Tolkien: No? It's just as well, I don't play an instrument. Although I did play bassoon in primary school. I wasn't very good...

Simon Tolkien: Ummm...I'll give you a ring tomorrow, Dad, have a good night.
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Old 11-29-2016, 09:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post
What I find most amusing is the notion that Bono would have some sort of in, because....why? Because he's a celebrity and sorta almost British? I somehow doubt that CT's (born 1924) musical tastes run to U2.
Ah, but if you're Bono, you simply cannot conceive of the notion that there is a single living soul on the planet whose musical tastes don't run to U2. Remember the iTunes download debacle a couple of years ago?
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Old 11-30-2016, 09:23 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerwen View Post
Ah, but if you're Bono, you simply cannot conceive of the notion that there is a single living soul on the planet whose musical tastes don't run to U2. Remember the iTunes download debacle a couple of years ago?
You're quite right, Nerwen. This belief of, 'Of course he knows who I am!' can quickly become, in the hands of certain celebrities, 'Don't you know who I am?'

There is a related story to this, with an Oxford connection. According to one account of a master of Balliol College, Oxford:

He was returning one day from his constitutional ride on his quiet old cob along the Abingdon road. When he came to the turnpike he felt in his pocket for some money. Alas! he had none.

"My good man," said he, "I am Master of Balliol College, and you must let me pass."

"I don't care," was the man's reply, "what you be master of; you ain't master of twopence, and you can't go through my gate."


(Francis T. Buckland, Curiosities of Natural History, Second edition, I, (London: Richard Bentley, 1868), p. 291.)

I wish more people dealt with celebrities in the way that gatekeeper did!
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Old 11-30-2016, 12:21 PM   #10
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Why the folks at Bioware somehow got the notion that C. Tolkien would ever grant a game designer access to his father's work is what is truly mystifying, particularly given Mr. Tolkien's noted and vehement disavowals of the LotR films. It wouldn't have mattered if Queen Elizabeth rang him on the telly to ask the favor.
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Old 12-01-2016, 10:55 AM   #11
William Cloud Hicklin
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Quote:
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That is a very interesting snippet.

I've followed Bioware for a very long time and the quality of their products has taken a steady nosedive to the point of ruin over the past decade.
While Bioware certainly laid a massive turd with Dragon Age II, and ruined Mass Effect 3 with an appallingly bad ending, they earned a great deal of redemption with Dragon Age: Inquisition, which (IMHO) is what Skyrim wants to be when it grows up. Certainly Mass Effect 2 was one of the great games of the sixth generation.*

Personally I don't think an evolution away from the D&D-based Baldur's Gate was a bad thing.

================

*Yes, ME1 was kind of a slog, despite its incredible world-building and memorable characters, rather clunky in some of its old-school aspects like the cumbersome BG/KotOR-derived inventory system. And the damn Mako. Fortunately all that was massively** improved in the sequel

**No pun intended
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Old 12-06-2016, 05:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post
While Bioware certainly laid a massive turd with Dragon Age II, and ruined Mass Effect 3 with an appallingly bad ending, they earned a great deal of redemption with Dragon Age: Inquisition, which (IMHO) is what Skyrim wants to be when it grows up.
Interesting, I don't agree with that assessment at all. I thought Inquisition was the worst of the three. It did visit more locations other than Kirkwall over and over, but I did not enjoy the storyline very much and I did not like the characters either.

I certainly would never rate Inquisition over Skyrim.
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