Author George R.R. Martin‘s wildly popular A Song of Ice and Fire book series has had fans whisking themselves off to the lands of Westeros for many years now. And with the booming first–season success of HBO’s adaptation of the book, Game of Thrones, people haven’t been this excited about this particular brand of fantasy in a long, long time.
But what if I told you we could soon take that geekdom for the world and its characters a step further? As you may have heard, a video game company called Cyanide Studio has been working on a real–time strategy game based on Martin’s mythology titled Game of Thrones: Genesis. What you may not have heard, however, is that the studio is also working on a Game of Thrones role–playing game along the same lines as Mass Effect and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic for the PC and next–generation consoles…and that, my dear friends, is something to be very excited about.
Obviously the best GoT game we could get would be the 16-bit version we saw back in August, but apart from that, an RPG is about as good as it gets. Some people dig the real–time strategy games, but they’re downright boring to the rest of us. While RPGs, on the other hand””especially if it does end up being along the same lines as a Mass Effect or KOTOR“”would allow us to take up residence in Westeros, meet and have discussions with its many familiar characters, and carve out our own stories within that world.
Think about favorite RPG fantasy games such as Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls series or BioWare’s Dragon Age: Origins, and then imagine those games with the stories and characters of Martin’s books. That, for me, is an easy sale. Whether the game will come even remotely close to a Mass Effect or Dragon Age (which would still be enough to intrigue me) remains to be seen. But you have our attention, Cyanide.
As with any big project, there are complications to be had. The game has been in the works as long as Genesis, and, unfortunately, they started working on both titles far before they were aware that there would be an HBO series (which dates back to around 2008 or prior). Thankfully for us, this Game of Thrones RPG will fittingly run along the same lines as the first book and HBO’s first season, and they were able to reach a deal with the network late into production that will allow them to use some of their assets and character and location designs in the game. Some of the actors will also be lending their voice to help make it as familiar to fans of the series as possible.
The big question will be just how much of their game was completed and unchangeable by the time they reached a deal with HBO. As exciting as a Game of Thrones RPG is, if some crucial characters look and sound differently than they do on the show, it’s going to be hard to warm up to that. Just look at LOST: Via Domus“”a game based on the hit ABC series that had some actors from the show lend their voice, while some new actors were also brought in to voice other main characters. Granted the game wasn’t an RPG and nowhere near the quality of a Mass Effect, but the result was still nothing short of disastrous, and it was impossible to take seriously while hearing these beloved characters speak with imposter voices. Like it or not, HBO has put faces and voices to the characters of A Game of Thrones, and that is how most will expect them to look and sound for the time being.
As for how the game will work, you’ll be playing as two different characters””neither of which are characters from Martin’s books. You’ll swap back and forth between the two characters as they move through the story told in the first book/first season, and their stories will intertwine from time to time. And though you won’t play as one of the characters from the book, you will cross paths with plenty of them. A negative to this set–up is that it would assumedly take away our ability to create our own unique character and give them our own unique name””an important first step in most great RPGs””but that too remains to be seen.
No release date is known yet, but what do you think of the Game of Thrones RPG? Will you play or pass? You can also check out a screenshot from the game at the top of this post, and a second one at the Cyanide link below.