Queens Game (mobile) [OLD] Queens Game [OLD]

The Queens Game project (2018 – 2021) is led by Senior Creative Practice Researcher Professor Maureen Thomas - dramatist, screenwriter, and story-architect.

Funding: The Norwegian Artistic Research Project Programme.
Project developed in collaboration with: Snow Castle Games


The year 1363. Queen Margrete I (formerly Princess of Denmark) arrives at Akersborg – today’s Akershus festning, Oslo – as the 10-year old bride of 23-year old King Håkon VI of Norway.
Players explore, with Margrete, the virtual medieval royal stronghold - most of whose physical buildings no longer exist.

Medieval Akersborg Inner Ward (South) test built in Unreal Engine from accurate architectural model (Sindre Lie 2020)
Medieval Akersborg accurate architectural virtual model Medieval Akersborg Inner Ward (South) (Amir Soltani 2019)

In the game, the legendary realm of King Arthur provides Margrete with an escape from her child-queen duties; it also offers 21st-century players an engaging way in to real medieval history. This bright, idealised realm provides a contrast to Margrete’s actual Norway, recovering from the Black Death which killed over a third of its population.

The Round Table is as popular in the 21st century as in 1303, when the first queen to live at Akershus, Eufemia, had stories translated from French and German into Swedish for her daughter, Ingeborg, on her marriage to Duke Magnus of Sweden. 'Queens Game' tells the new tale of Lunete, who - in contrast to Margrete - on her twelfth birthday, rather than marry her father’s choice of husband, runs away.
Lunete encounters a range of people and overcomes a variety of challenges as she learns to think for herself and be independent. Lunete’s discoveries will help Margrete succeed as a medieval queen in a man’s world.

Engaged at age six, Margrete started as a pawn in her father and father-in-law’s game of Scandinavian politics; but she crossed the chessboard successfully, to become queen over a unified Norway, Denmark and Sweden, where she reigned until her death in 1412.

'Queens Game' does not attempt to reconstruct history, but to offer an engaging interactive game which at the same time provides an active child’s-eye view of life in the Middle Ages, with well-researched background reference to 14th century Norway

Iðunn Ágústsdóttir works on sound for for Lunete’s Tale
Wenche Hellekås with Lunete's Tale character concepts

Dramaturgical Research

Queens Game transposes and transcends traditional excellences, to stage dramatic storytelling within the computer-games world, iteratively trialing new dramaturgies. The medium is a strong part of its message - combining medieval narrative and musical modes, and the aesthetic of manuscript painting, with innovative games design.

Left: Codex Manesse 14th-century manuscript illustration Right: Margrete player-character model (Eric Brear, Snow Castle/ Wenche Hellekås)

Oral-composition and dramatic storytelling-techniques common in the middle-ages are intrinsically spatially-organised and non-linear, lending themselves naturally to computer-handled narrativity, which is not confined by the linear page-structure of books or the framing of the fixed screen or stage. Sensitive dependence on initial conditions plus chance operations bring immediacy to the computer-handled, rule-based 3D-navigable world, making it a dynamic actor in the play.

Expressively-animated non-player characters (NPC’s) and original reconfigurable music and songs provide emotional depth, and, with the player-character always in the player’s control, unfold the drama in real time without cut scenes, promoting an engaging relationship between player, characters and story.

Maureen Thomas fix 3