Stephenson, a self-confessed "swordsmanship geek", must have played his fair share of Bethesda games. So intensely dissatisfied is he with the way they go about the gentleman's art of blade stabbing that he's decided to have a go himself. Forget all that role-playing nonsense, Stephenson's aptly-named CLANG will be all about the metal.
"In the last couple of years, affordable new gear has come on the market that makes it possible to move, and control a swordfighter's actions, in a much more intuitive way than pulling a plastic trigger or pounding a key on a keyboard. So it's time to step back, dump the tired conventions that have grown up around trigger-based sword games, and build something that will enable players to inhabit the mind, body and world of a real swordfighter.
Stephenson at first sounds like he's talking about the PlayStation Move, Kinect and the Wii Remote, but he quickly mentions keyboards and regular controls and later, a custom controller. No consoles here though, at least initially. It'll be a "PC arena game based on one-on-one duelling".
"How will this be different than SoulCalibur?" Stephenson asks rhetorically on the game's Kickstarter page. Easy — CLANG will not only feature a custom "low-latency, high-precision motion controller", but plenty of depth as well. He explains that swordfighting isn't just about banging weapons together — there's a bit of punching and kicking involved too. Apparently "different stances, pommel strikes, grappling, feints and parries" will all be modelled and modding capabilities will allow players to add their own weapons and moves.
At the moment, the game has just over $US50,000 of its $US500,000 goal, though 29 days remain before the funding deadline. I don't know if he'll reach his target, but there's certainly something romantic about a swordfighting game with Stephenson behind it.
Bonus points for spotting a cameo by the CEO of a certain prominent games developer.