The Golden Compass is the first book in Philip Pullman's acclaimed His Dark Materials trilogy, the screen adaptation of which is slated for release on December 7th of this year by New Line Cinema. While the production process behind the film has been kept under lock and key, today we were able to get a behind closed doors sneak peek at what's in store. We had the chance to see not only how the big budget movie is shaping up, but also took a look at snippets from the official video game based on the film, which is being developed by Sega. While specifics are still scarce, we do know that the game is being developed for all platforms by a team that is doing its best to keep the direction of the game true to the source material. A Girl, a Polar Bear, and a Daemon Walk Into a Bar... Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy begins by introducing readers to the story's protagonist, a young girl by the name of Lyra, portrayed in the film by acting newcomer Dakota Blue Richards. There are three main characters from The Golden Compass that players will take direct control of throughout the game's eleven levels, and Lyra can in all likelihood be considered to be the default character. In the gameplay sequences that we were shown, Lyra could get around the map in typical video game fashion. Balancing her way across walkways and tightropes, for instance, was shown on more than one occasion, and we were informed that these sequences will take on an almost mini-game like feel, also making use of the Nintendo Wii Remote and SIXAXIS controllers' motion-sensing capabilities. While running around as a scared little girl may sound like great fun for a video game, an action-loving audience is going to want more than what Lyra brings to the table. The character of Iorek Byrnison offers a substantial upgrade in damage-dealing capability. Iorek is an intelligent polar bear, one of a race of bears that prides itself on craftsmanship at the smithy without peer as well as ferocity on the battlefield. While Iorek will serve as a mount for Lyra as she traverses some of the game's snowy landscapes, he will also don his paw-crafted battle armor and attack foes with a variety of swipes and area-effect smashing attacks. In the novels, Iorek was quite the mighty warrior, so it'll be interesting to see how well this translates to the video game. The last character in the game could well prove the most interesting, or at least the most innovative from a gameplay perspective. Pantalaimon is Lyra's daemon, which can be considered something akin to a wizard's familiar. Every human in this world has a daemon, and one can almost consider the person and daemon to be a singular entity, as if the daemon were a physical manifestation of the soul. There's a strong bond between Lyra and Pan, and establishing this within the game will be strengthened by giving players the opportunity to take control of Pan directly. His powers are primarily manifested in the ability to change shape. In the movie clips we saw, for instance, Pan was able to change from hapless field mouse into a snarling leopard in order to defend itself. If Pan's involvement in the game is more substantial than miniscule side-missions or mini-games, things could prove quite interesting. The game is far from complete, so it's too soon to get a good grasp for how the game's visuals will end up. My first impression, based on what we were shown during the brief clips, is that the game will look very similar to what we've come to expect EA's Harry Potter series, with acceptable character likenesses that are far from photorealistic, yet still authentic enough to keep audiences generally pleased. Attention has been paid to accurately capturing set pieces and stages from the film along with actor likenesses, so if the movie ends up being a visual tour de force, then the game may prove to be quite stunning as well. We'll be keeping tabs on the development of The Golden Compass game, so be sure to stay tuned for more as the hype machine behind the film begins to start rolling and solid details begin to emerge.