Is Game of Thrones Good for Games?

Game of Thrones, the new fantasy series starting this week on Sky Atlantic, is going to be getting a real time strategy adaptation. French developers, Cyanide, are holding the reins and although little has been said about the actual game, aside from the title and a couple of screens, we’ve had a chance to preview the first couple of episodes of the TV show.

Let’s go back to the beginning. A Game of Thrones is the first book in an epic fantasy series by George R. R. Martin. That series, A Song of Ice and Fire, is widely regarded as one of the greatest pieces of fantasy fiction. Martin collaborates on the television show too, so its authenticity and loyalty to the books should be fairly well assured.

The books are held in high regard and much is expected of the ten part series. What kind of setting does it offer for a video game, then?

Well, the setting of Westeros is an interesting and diverse one. A frozen north with a wall, guarded by the Knights Watch – a brotherhood of intensely loyal warriors, to hold back the mythical evil beyond. Seven kingdoms and a recently usurped central throne (the Iron throne). Vengeful former royalty scheming from a bordering land. More subterfuge, tense loyalties and incest than a season of Sopranos.

It’s a complex and tremendously well realised world with plenty of factions, all with rich backstories and shifting loyalties. The supernatural threat which is introduced very early in the TV show could be used to good effect and the various driving forces and characteristics of the introduced factions could make for a great setting for a strategy game.

The first two episodes of the TV show focus on the Stark family in the North, the usurping King Robert and his wife’s devious family, the House Lannister. It also shows the plotting of Viserys Targaryen who sells his thirteen year old sister to a barbarian chief in the hope of securing hordes for a war on King Robert, who claimed his father’s throne. It’s already complex and there are still many major factions to still be introduced.

Purported to be a kind of real time strategy game with elements of role play, A Game of Thrones has certainly got an extremely rich universe to inhabit. The move from books to television and video games (there have also been card and table top games) seems to be a natural one. Certainly, the multi-threaded plot and lengthy arc would be difficult to cram into a movie but with serialised TV it could work well and if Cyanide do a good job translating the political tension and subterfuge as well as the combat then the game is certianly going to be worth looking out for.

Game of Thrones starts on HBO this weekend and on Sky Atlantic in the UK on Monday 17th at 9pm. For more information about the TV show, read the review on our sister site – ScreenDemon.

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6 Comments

  1. Really looking forward to watching this. I personally didn’t know there was a game tie-in being developed, but my recent delve back into the RTS genre seems well-timed.

  2. Yes, yes…I’ve read all the books. If you’re in the uk and haven’t got Sky Atlantic (like me) – now’s the time to start phoning your oversubscribed-to-sky mates and arranging a visit on Monday night. Absolutely essential for geeks and norms alike.

    • did you read the review on ScreenDemon? I’ve seen the first two episodes ;)

      • Yeah – will forward the link to
        http://winter-is-coming.net/
        Which is this series answer to TheOneRingNet.
        Must have been back in 2000 when Westeros became a second home. First through the board game – we were looking for something meatier than Risk.

        Oh blue…if only you knew where these characters (which I’m presuming after 2 episodes you’re only just getting attached to) are heading to on their various story arcs…Twist…Snap…Twist…Snap.

        Yeah – Tyrion and Arya…they’re sticking around for a while.

        Idealy we’d see a ‘War Of The Ring’ type top down strat game. Total War: Westeros. That’d be a real lemoncakey treat.

      • First episode was a bit slow paced but after the second it made a lot more sense to do it that way. Characters seem so rich and deep. I’ll definitely be watching more and I’m going to look out for the books too :)

        Oh, almost forgot: From the snippets of info I’ve seen they are going down the same path as the Total War games for the RTS (and there might be an RPG on the way too), let’s just hope they can be as successful with it!

  3. Just not sure about Cyanide. Don’t know anything about them…have they got a track-record!? If the TV show takes off (seems likely)the rights to the game may have sold to a larger developer/publisher.

    Really good to know it works for people who haven’t read the books.

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