Magic, mystery, surly cats, and popcorn flavored with cinnamon await you in The Night Circus.
Failbetter Games, the minds behind the much-loved and award-winning Echo Bazaar, have teamed up with author Erin Morgenstern to create a new online browser game, based on Morgenstern's upcoming novel, The Night Circus.
The Night Circus is exactly what it sounds like, a circus that is open only between nightfall and dawn. The novel tells the story of two dueling wizards, Celia and Marco, who fall in love despite themselves. Unfortunately, their love cannot change the course of the game they have both been embroiled in since childhood, a game which must be played out, and only one of them will walk away from.
Failbetter's version is no less interesting. Players take on the role of a circus attendee, exploring its mysteries along with other "Rêveurs" or "dreamers." Just like Echo Bazaar, there are many different ways to approach a situation, and the player must choose the one that suits him or her best. Even something as seemingly simple as opening your circus invitation has a choice attached to it, and that choice affects the course of the game.
The game is largely a single player affair, but it also has social media elements. By inviting friends to the game on Twitter and Facebook, players increase their "Rêveur Rank." Once the invitees start playing, everything that they do will increase the inviter's Rêveur Rank a little bit, and higher ranks mean more options when exploring the circus.
Failbetter co-founder Alexis Kennedy said that it had been a "privilege and a pleasure" to work on the project, and hoped that it would give people a taste of the "extraordinary world" that Morgenstern had created. Morgenstern herself was also pleased with the partnership. "It has been absolutely fascinating," she said, "to watch Failbetter take my book and turn it into a marvelously illustrated puzzle filled with tantalizing bits of story."
If you're a big fan of Echo Bazaar - which I must admit that I am - then you're going to love The Night Circus. It's the same blend of mystery and imagination, and it's gorgeous to boot, with a wonderful black and white color scheme, accentuated by splashes of red, just like the Rêveurs themselves. You can give The Night Circus game a try here, and pick up the novel version on September 13th.