Talk about strange bedfellows.
A German publisher of games and children's software, without a major hit to its name and with no experience in online gaming, committing tens of millions of Euros to the development of what it hopes will be a triple-A MMO. An American author of doorstop science-fiction and fantasy novels seeing his work adapted for the first time. A bunch of talented, dispossessed Australian developers, striking out in a new field and a new country, with a truly international team. A wealthy Asian city-state looking to compete with its neighbours and foster an entertainment industry of its own.
If all that doesn't sound out-there enough, wait till you get a load of the game they're making. This is no World of Questhammer: The Rune Crusade. Otherland - from the books by Tad Williams - is a mind-bending concept. For want of a better soundbite, let's call it the first cyberpunk MMO: a virtual world about
virtual worlds, in which your avatar is an avatar, the NPCs play NPCs, and you explore a multiverse in which you might be in realistic historical surroundings one minute, and cartoon fantasy ones the next. Everything changes, even your own appearance, and nothing is even pretending to be real.