The final season of the Game of Thrones is upon us. The end is nigh, the White Walkers approach. Kings Landing is in jeopardy. The world that began with a Song of Ice and Fire, will never be the same again. That’s great for all the fans of the TV show. But can someone tell me why we have yet to get a Good Game of Thrones Game?
Game of Thrones Game by TellTale
Granted there have been a few titles and a few attempts. Unfortunately, all of them have fallen short of the expectations of both the players and the pundits as well. Sure Telltale Games aptly titled “Game of Thrones, a Telltale Games Series,” did one season of point-and-click adventure but that was a single season, based on a minor house that no one really cared about or has even heard of for that matter. Putting it bluntly, that was a spin-off with some cameos. And since Telltale is no longer around, there will not be a second season.
Game of Thrones Game by Cyanide
Another attempt back in 2011 was “A Game of Thrones: Genesis” created by developer Cyanide. The game really did not do that well. Metacritic says it all. But the game suffered from poor sound design, poor pacing and un-engaging gameplay that failed to hook players in. In all fairness, this game tried to do a number of new and different things that just didn’t go down well with players.
Why have developers failed?
It does not make much sense why so developers have actually failed to make something good out of the wealth of material available. The reality of the situation is that we have the world, we have the characters, and we know the events of the world. There is already insanely rich lore and history, a plethora of colorful characters too. So, if you give this the proper budget and an appropriately skilled and knowledgeable development team, you should be able to get a game that will please the majority of games with relative ease. My personal opinion is that something went wrong for Cyanide during pre-production given that a lot of it feels unfinished. For Telltale, I think the expectations were to play one of the main houses from the TV series, which we did not get.
Who could make this?
Thinking straight off the top of my head, the first studio I would consider to make something – if they get themselves a decent game development engine – is Bethesda. I mean they did a fantastic job with Skyrim and I can see an open world Westeros along the lines of the Elder Scrolls. I’d love to be able to witness Ned’s Stark execution or be a part of the bloodier weddings, or a more poison filled one. It would also be nice to sit upon the Iron Throne. Just as long as they get the story and narrative right and not give us another mess like Fallout4.
That said, another studio that immediately comes to mind for the same reason is CD Projekt Red. With Witcher 3 Wild Hunt under their belt, maybe they could give us Westeros as their next offering after they finish Cyberpunk 2077.
If the open world kind of open-world RPG is not your kind of game, another studio that could still do justice is Firaxis Games. What comes to mind here is the Civilization Franchise and X-COM. I would say that a Game of Thrones would do better in Civilization style meta-level gameplay focused on building cities in the world, with the turn-based combat of X-COM. A dream come true where you could either create your own unique House or fly the banner of Lannister, Stark, Targaryen or any other favorite.
May the Players Rest upon the Iron Throne
The books are coming to an End. The TV series is coming to an End. The few games that were released have also come to an End. Everything is ending. But the one thing I do know for certain is that the right Game of Thrones game will put the player on the Iron Throne, and allow us the chance to rule over Westeros – at least until something way more dangerous than the Night Walkers shows up to threaten Westeros.