First there were the books. The TV show was second. And now we have a video game. The ‘Game of Thrones’ video game was written under the direction of George R. R. Martin and is based on the novels.
Developed by Cyanide, the game is a role-playing game (RPG) and is set after the death of The Hand of King Robert Baratheon. You play as two characters, Mors and Alester. Mors is a sworn member of the Night’s Watch, and Red Priest Alester seeks redemption after being exiled from Westeros several years ago. The two characters do not appear in any of the novels, but Martin has teased that he might mention them or events from the game in upcoming novels. Using the Unreal Engine 3, Cyanide promises players a grand adventure that will take them on a journey all over Westeros. The locations, the Wall and King’s Landing for example, are based on the TV series, as are the famous characters players will encounter on the quest, such as Queen Cersei, Varys the Spider, and Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch Jeor Mormont.
Not a lot of the story details have been released, but from the information available it seems the characters will interact with the people and locations of Westeros and have a crucial role in decisions that will impact the Seven Kingdoms and the war for control of the realm. There are not very many details about the gameplay either. Since you play as two characters, players will not be able to create custom characters, but according to the press release from Focus Home Interactive:
In ‘Game of Thrones,’ you will choose the class of your characters, find your fighting style, reach a good balance between your strengths and weaknesses, and get ready for epic battles! Find, buy or loot new equipment and weapons to fit your approach of the fights, and gain experience to improve your skills or learn new ones. Slow the time down during battle to analyze the situation and choose your next moves. In ‘Game of Thrones,’ political skills can be as lethal as a sharpened sword, so never underestimate the power of a silver tongue to solve a critical situation!
The press release also boasts about “30 hours of gameplay,” but 30 hours of gameplay has become standard, if not the minimum expected, of current RPGs. According to the description that is with the trailer on YouTube, the game is divided into chapters, and players will probably switch characters as they go from one chapter to the next. If the game is divided into chapters, I don’t know how the game could have an open world like ‘Skyrim.’ The game might be more linear like the recent ‘Lord of the Rings: War in the North’ RPG. Until Cyanide, Focus, or Atlas release more official details, I can only speculate. The ability to slow down time during fights seems interesting, but I don’t know if you will have to use a menu to make choices or if this aspect of the game is like Dead Eye Targeting in Rockstar’s ‘Red Dead Redemption.’ I find the political way of playing the game fascinating; I wonder if there is a non-lethal path in the game like in ‘Deus Ex: Human Revolution.’
As long as Cyanide focuses on creating a great game first and a TV show tie-end second, then the game has potential. What many need to realize is that not all gamers are geeks, not all geeks are gamers, and not all geeks are the same. Not all readers of the novels are watching the show, so not all viewers of the show will be interested in the game. Fans of RPGs, like me, will be the main audience and will want great RPG mechanics, excellent storytelling, and loads of loot to be the focus of the game, not moments from a TV show.
This game should not be confused with Cyanide’s other ‘Game of Thrones’ video game, ‘A Game of Thrones: Genesis.’ Also made under the watchful eye of Martin, ‘Genesis’ is a real-time strategy (RTS) game that was released in September as in available only on PC. ‘Genesis’ takes place long before the novels and takes players through thousands of years of history. If interested, ‘A Game of Thrones: Genesis’ is available on Steam and is part of the site’s holiday sale; you can purchase the game for $29.99 until January 13, 2012.
The RPG video game ‘Game of Thrones’ is developed by Cyanide and will be published by Focus Home Interactive in Europe and Atlas in the United States. ‘Game of Thrones’ will be available for PS3, Xbox 360, and PC, and the game can be preordered now. The game’s scheduled release date is April 3, 2012.
The official trailer looks interesting, but not a lot of gameplay mechanics are shown.