Exiles of Embermark (and Me)

So here’s news that’s kind of been an open secret for a while. Many of you know I’m part of the team that is putting together Midnight Star: Renegade, the sequel to last year’s mobile shooter game Midnight Star (it’s coming! Soon!). What you may not have known is that for the last several months I have also been part of the team putting together an entirely separate mobile video game, called Exiles of Embermark, from Gunslinger Studios.

And what is Exiles of Embermark? It’s a fantasy role playing game, and as with Midnight Star and Renegades, it’s designed specifically for mobile gaming and mobile gamers — folks who are playing quick sessions of a game in and around, you know, life, but who still want a game that’s got a deep world to explore and enjoy and get in trouble in.

My task with Exiles is world building and story architecture — helping Tim Harris, Gunslinger’s studio head, and his crew of merry coders, put together a universe that has rhyme and reason and rules, so you as the player and journey through it and have all manner of adventures. Basically, I’m an “idea guy” here, which is a hell of a lot of fun (I also do a bit of detail work, to be sure).

If you’re curious to learn more, here’s the Exiles tumblr, with a bunch of developer updates, concept art and other nerdy goodness (the specific update in which I’m mentioned is here). It’s your best source for everything Exiles.

I’m really excited about Exiles of Embermark — and excited that Midnight Star: Renegade is also on its way to you all — and excited that I’ve gotten to help create three awesome video games now. I mean, how cool is that? (Answer: It’s pretty cool.)

More to come about Exiles and Renegade soon. In the meantime: Prepare for awesome.

By John Scalzi

I enjoy pie.

20 replies on “Exiles of Embermark (and Me)”

Artwork seems nice.
Hope the gameplay is not the same old formula of wait x seconds for something to happen and get together with total strangers to beat up other strangers. :P

I miss single player games, seems like most of the games today are forcing us to be “social”, I already have family and friends, flesh ones, why am I forced to socialize with facebook strangers?

Sorry for the rant. :D

(Tim Harris from Gunslinger here) Actually no apologies necessary– that’s super valuable feedback, which we’ve gotten quite a bit of as development has gotten underway. There is definitely tons of competitive multiplayer in the game, but the questing single-player experience will be a big part of the game and narrative and you can stick to that if you’re a fan of single-player. In fact, the “social” system of Houses lets players that just want to rock through the single-player content and get loot and level and such still contribute to their House without getting involved in beating up other strangers at all.

Have them read The God Engines – as a 20 year professional video game designer, the first thing I thought when I read that was “This would be a great setting for a strategy game”. Gods as a source of power, with players controlling those gods. I thought it had a lot of potential, not only for something “new” in terms of resources, but adding a moral element to that control.

Is there anything about it that you would deem Scalzi-esque? Something that we might note and say “Huh. Yeah, that seems like something he might put in there”.


“did you and the developers have a diversity/representation discussion during the writing process?”

Yup, we’ve talked about it, and also, we’re making sure to build it into the game, both in the initial release and in later updates. I would note this was not a contentious or difficult discussion; it just makes sense to welcome everyone to play.


I think it depends on what you would define as Scalzi-esque.

Glad to hear that it’s not dependent on being willing to play multiplayer. I love playing games with people in the same room as me, but generally have no interest in venturing into the wild world of total strangers to play games. Though I could consider it.

The Tumblr has lots of interesting stuff on it, even if I still don’t really “get” Tumblr. I’ll look forward to reading it.

Does the game have a ‘traditional’ web presence, i.e. not twitter or tumblr? This game sounds right up my alley and I would love to follow its progress, but twitter, tumblr and facebook are blocked from my gubmint computer.

Not prejudging, but what financial model will the game follow? Is it being designed as a F2P, single-pay with DLC or some other model? I am not particularly against any of those models, just curious. I’ve been playing Marvel Puzzle Quest for 2 years, so clearly I’m okay with a well-implemented Free-to-Play game that features in-game purchases. My main concern is a game that features too many currencies or too much demand of cash to actually enjoy the game.

For me, personally, a game that doesn’t require me to pay cash to enjoy it tends to actually GET that cash (example: I’ve dropped $30 this month on MPQ, though I did not NEED to, likewise I purchased an expansion pack for Card Hunter when they started offering those). Midnight Star wasn’t really my gig for two reasons: one, the gameplay was fine, but honestly was not convienent in the spaces where I tend to play and two, I felt like there were too many game systems and currencies and such that just took more effort to understand and follow than I cared to do. That may just have been where I was when the game came out, but the space is very competitive. I like Pokemon Go for what it is, but honestly this game sounds like it’s in my wheelhouse. I’m definitely interested.

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