Update, February 19th, 2014: Versu was discontinued by Linden Lab on February 19th, 2014. Links to the Versu website, etc., have therefore been removed from this article.
Of the various new products the Lab have launched, Versu has, to me, always looked to be the most interesting of those in the “apps” category (although I admit I’d also like to fiddle around with Blocksworld).
Launched on the iPad in February 2013 with four accompanying titles, there was the promise that people could expect both more titles and tools they could use to create their own stories for Versu which they could then sell. There was also the assumption that the app would move to the Android platform much as Creatorverse has before it.
The additional titles – well, two of them at least – arrived in August 2013, penned by Deirdra Kiai. However, while former Linden CEO Rod Humble talked-up the “democratisation” of the creative process while discussing Versu, nothing has actually appeared in that vein as yet.
Indeed, the two titles from “Squinky” (as Deirdra Kiai likes to be known!) and the fact that the Versu engine would appear to have great potential as a means of studying real-world social situations (as the UK’s New Scientist magazine reported in June 2013) notwithstanding, the app appears to have been all but forgotten by the Lab.
Such has been the situation that I’d actually given-up checking on progress with Versu, despite Emily Short herself breaking the news late last year that she was working on a new title.
Details are still scant, but the new title is to be Blood and Laurels and is to feature, according to Ms. Short, “Cults. Conspiracies. Poison. Stabbing. Blackmail. Seduction. Prophecies and rumors. Divine wrath — or possibly just bad weather.”
So death and glory is to be Coming Soon (TM) to the iPad. But what of the app’s expansion to Android or elsewhere? It’s the one question Emily Short seems to get asked every time she blogs about Versu (which, if nothing else, would suggest that interactive fiction fans are more than aware of the app). Sadly, however, she’s not in a position to comment.
Maybe I’ll poke the Lab about it …