A Game of Thrones Genesis; Screenshots and Opinions
I’m guessing by now most of you have heard of Game of Thrones, the HBO series which is basically exactly the same as the book by George R. R. Martin. I don’t have to tell you that it comes from the (much less aptly named) A Song of Ice and Fire series and that basically anyone into fantasy has been droning on about it since the late nineties.
So why am I telling you about it? Because they are making a game (not a metaphorical one this time) about the TV series (I can only assume, since they didn’t name it after the book series) called Game of Thrones: Genesis.
I'll pause briefly while fan boys rush to change their underwear. All better? Ok.
A press release from publishers Cyanide Studios has said:
“Game of Thrones: Genesis immerses you into the heart of the battles and intrigues between the Houses that shaped the Kingdom of Westeros. From Nymeria's arrival in the Kingdom of Dorne to the awakening of the "Others" beyond the Wall, you'll live the origins of the A Song of Ice and Fire saga through more than 1000 years of history. Take part in Westeros' founding events and largest battles such as Aegon the Conqueror's invasion on the continent or the War of the Usurper.”
Which basically means if Age of Empires let you go through actual historical events during the campaign missions (which now that I think about it was surprisingly educational, damn them!) this game will let you explore fake (and thus more interesting) historical events from the world of A Song of Ice and Fire.
Sounds cool right? Or does it sound kind of cool?
See for me, sure an RTS set in Westeros is a cool concept and I could definitely play it and enjoy things like exploring the whole world, getting a feel for the distances and physical location of things talked about in the series and seeing certain places and insignias created in decent graphics (and the graphics do look decent) – all that stuff is granted. But that’s not really what sold me on Game of Thrones.
If you have read the books (I’m partway into A Feast for Crows at the moment) you would know that the battles for the large part are skipped over or only partially told, placing the importants away from them and onto how people react to them taking place.
I’ll give a spoiler-free example:
A fictitious battle occurs between Highgarden and Dorne. Dorne is sacked by Highgarden who set up one of their own family as a newly created regent (or High Seat) in Dorne.
In the book you would see maybe 20 minutes of the battle from the point of view of say, Mace Tyrell, and then it would randomly cut to King’s Landing getting a raven to tell them the battle took place. Then there would be three chapters about what Cersei, the Starks and somebody else thought about the battle and what it meant for Dorne before we actually found out anything more that was going on action-wise in the Sunspear.
What this seems to suggest to me, and this opinion has been brought up in the past, is that the battles are not the focus of the books – and instead the political manoeuvring and constant threats of betrayal are.
And what kind of game would you make from a series about politics and betrayal? Well, not a strategy game. Maybe an RPG, a little bit of Dragon Age with some L.A. Noire conversation choices and an awesome script and we have things cooking.
That being said, the game is under the constant scrutiny of George R.R. Martin (who seems to find time for everything except for writing more damn books) so hopefully the story will be engaging and accurate (as much as fiction can be), but I still have my doubts.
Cyanide Studios have promised that treachery is a potentially strong element in the gameplay and it’s not just another game about who has the biggest army, but their screenshots don’t exactly suggest much else. Unless you count a couple of people staring angrily at the screen (cutscenes?) and one dude forging a sword.
I’m not saying I'm completely against this game, I’m just saying I want to be proven wrong about it. But that’s just me, and I got into this whole Game of Thrones (I call the series that because it is a WAY better title, sorry fan boys) pretty late.
What do you guys think? I’ve attached all the screenshots so far to give you an idea.