Winter’s Already Here, Silly: Game Of Thrones

By Alec Meer on December 21st, 2011 at 4:50 pm.

Nice day for a red wedding

Aha! The first proper footage of the RPG based on the fantasy tomes by George ‘lecherous old tease’ R. ‘making it up as he goes along’ R. ‘all that money and he still won’t buy a beard-trimmer’ Martin. After the well-intentioned but ultimately miserable strategy game Genesis, this RPG looks to be rather more lavish – and, perhaps vitally in a commercial sense, related to the TV show. The music! The Iron Throne! The armour! The glowering!

It uses the Unreal 3 engine (though perhaps not the most epic use of it that I’ve seen), Cyanide are once again on dev duties, and according to Game of Euros, you can play two characters: devout Night’s Watchman Mors or repentant Red Priest Alester. Which presumably gives it an excuse to offer both sword and spell. Given magic is uncommon and massively mysterious in the Ice and Fire books, I wonder how they’ll realise the latter.

Also: should last about 30 hours, and you’ll get to meet characters including Cersei (boo!), Lord Commander Mormont (hurrah!) and Varys (erm. We still don’t know).

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51 Comments »

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  1. catmorbid says:

    Well, let me be the first to say that’s some ugly ass graphics and animation we got there. Though if the RPG elements are proper and the price is right, it might just be overlooked, but seriously I’m not very convinced. Is anyone?

    • Mut says:

      Was about to say the same thing. This game looks exceedingly average.

    • Blackcompany says:

      Looks, and sounds.
      .
      Thwart the plot? Wait a minute here…this is Westeros. Don’t we at least have the option, however evil it might be, to also aid the plot threatening the kingdom? Or take advantage of it? Threaten it ourselves?
      .
      Cyanide do realize that there are no real ‘good guys’ in these stories, correct? So where are our options regarding how to play? Hopefully this is just a marketing line and not a linear, Skyrim-like ‘we decided you are the hero already, so, no wandering off and making decisions for yourself now’ sort of plot.
      .
      I love Skyrim and all…but Tamriel is not the 7 Kingdoms and Elder Scrolls is not George Martin’s world. I would look for a little more choice in Westeros than I would in Tamriel. Otherwise…well, we have mods beginning in January, you know.

    • Casimir Effect says:

      CDP could have done something awesome with this I imagine. Or Obsidian.

    • atticus says:

      Funny… saw this trailer earlier today at eurogamer, and all the comments there were in the vein of “wow, at least this game looks great!!!11111″

      Console-gamers eh?

    • AztecScribe says:

      You say that but whilst playing Skyrim, which has lovely character models and graphics, I noticed the animation on the NPC (not to mention your own manikin) is terrible. I’d take lower graphics and a more animated character model over the life less beautifully textured manikins of Skyrim any day.

      I’ve yet to play Witcher 2 by the way.

  2. Kieron Gillen says:

    Well, at least with Cersei in we know they’ll be romance options.

    KG

    • Alec Meer says:

      “And probably Moon Boy for all I know.”

    • Blackcompany says:

      Not necessarily true. After all, your character might not be related to Cersei.
      .
      Which of course completely eliminates romance options as far as Cersei is concerned.

    • Metriculated says:

      KG you’re my Jonquil . . .

  3. dawnmane says:

    I’m kinda convinced. The magic guy looks very low fantasy. Oh, and is that a GRR Martin cameo at 1:52? Way to break the immersion…

  4. Blackcompany says:

    All of which is great. But tell me…will anything positive ever happen in this game?
    .
    Just wondering because as much as I loved the first two books my therapist recommended I give up on the third when we isolated it as the cause of my severe, recurring depression.
    .
    Seriously, I love me some dark fiction (hence the user name – fans of Glenn Cook will know what I mean) but Lord and Lady these books are….well…depressing, much of the time.
    .
    So here is to hoping that at lease some of the decisions in this game lead to friendly characters dying quick, clean deaths. As opposed to the more common alternative. Which is, I wager, about the best we can hope for in this world.

    • dawnmane says:

      There’s way more for us to hope for. Don’t listen to these dark fantastics, they’re just trying to be more literarily and psychologically “realistic” than Tolkien. They’re not. Best of hopes for you and godspeed in your fight against depression!

    • Blackcompany says:

      Thanks Dawne. Mostly over the bad feelings now…but seriously, I am a person who comes to care about well-crafted characters. I still love Jon Snow, Robb Stark and the entire Stark famiy, Catelyn excepted. Also, I sort of like Tyrion for some reason; mostly the saddle, I think.
      .
      And of course the Wolves. I love the Direwolves. Will in fact be adding them to Skyrim I hope. As enemies and companions.
      .
      On the other hand…I just can’t take the level of stupid that begins around book three. Like a world full of people utterly incapable of making a single intelligent decision. Doing the hard thing is sometimes necessary…but if Martin’s tales were a horror, every main character in the book would run up a set of stairs ever time stairs presented themselves.
      .
      Tyrion might be the only one in possession of even a modicum of common sense.
      .
      But mostly….i just could not continue to look forward to something positive happening and continually being disappointed by the sheer depravity of these tales. I thought the Black Company books were grim and dark – especially the one about the city under siege – but Martin makes Cook look like a sunny walk in the park.

    • Metriculated says:

      The overarching theme in the book is one of self preservation, it’s not dark for the sake of being dark. The treachery and traitorous nature of most of the noble houses in Westeros stems from the fact that they all view themselves as kingdoms in their own right. Look at some of the darker acts in the book: the red wedding – the Freys, especially Lord Frey, have felt wronged their entire existence as bannermen to river run, so they enact revenge. The brave companions and those who ride with the mountain are copy and paste antics performed by crusaders. The red priestess and her religious zealotry, well need I expand upon that?

      If you’re looking for happy fun reading times, I hear Harry potter is quite good. . .

    • Auspex says:

      Yeah I really hope you have the opportunity to make some reasonable sensible decisions. Even Tyrion, who is supposed to be the clever one, does some bloody moronic things.

    • Blackcompany says:

      Its not that everything needs to be rainbows and sunshine in the end. Not at all. I’d never have stuck out more than one or two Black Company books if that were the case. I don’t even think its necessarily the dark, bloody happenings that bothered me so much.
      .
      What gets me is that the blood and death keep happening because people keep taking the bloody dumbest option available at any given moment. If a character has two reasonable choices, one neutral and one so bloody stupid its guaranteed to get at least one loved one killed…well, we know which they are going to take in Martin’s world.
      .
      Every. Single. Time. Without exception.
      .
      People don’t die in these books because they need to. They die because Martin is having trouble managing his cast and he needs to have someone do something stupid because he needs to kill of characters his books would have been better off without in the first place.
      .
      Secondly, and this is even more important…who cards whether Sansa just started her period, which knight she thinks is so damned handsome this week or whatever other uselessness about which she is whining in this chapter. Who cares which bloody terrible, stupid decision Catelyn will make this time, and which sort of emotional distress she will use to try and excuse herself.
      .
      Give me more of the Wall; for the love of Heaven, give me a chapter or two about Robb Stark and Grey Wind.
      .
      But no…we get Sansa whining, Arya trying to travel somewhere and – and this is the literal truth – just going in circles. We get Cersei scheming, again, and Tyrion brooding over his whore. We get Bran and his allies wandering the north with their Wolves.
      .
      Meanwhile there are apparently battles taking place, heroic deeds being done; a Direwolf ripping men to shreds throughout the North with his Lord at this side. There are men fighting and dying and bleeding for what they believe in, and more men prepping for war of a different sort on the Wall.
      .
      Or so we hear. When Tyrion or Cersei or Sansa or Catelyn or Arya can be bothered to stop personifying Stupid long enough to tell us the little bit of speculation they have heard about it. If this is what Fantasy writing is coming to perhaps I should go read Harry Potter. Heard tell they were at least entertaining beyond book 2 of the series, which is more than I can say about Martin, more’s the pity.
      .
      Because I wanted Martin to be good. I really did. I wanted to learn all about Jon Snow and Ghost.

    • catmorbid says:

      I hope at least the main character(s) die in the end, or suffer an otherwise horrible fate. Happy endings don’t really belong to an ASOIF story. Sorry blackcompany, you really should stop following any fiction if it gets you depressed, or better yet, deprive yourself of any sense of reality. I could think of a million things that could get me depressed, and none of them are fiction.

      Besides, regarding to the dumbness of Martin’s character; people are fucking dumb, haven’t you noticed? That’s what makes it real. Idiotic children playing adults, people acting like idiots. That’s what people really do, that’s why they screw up and and Martin just shows the exaggerated consequences of these actions. Sure, every character is in some way caricatured, but they have to be: normal makes pretty damn boring drama.

    • Reapy says:

      I must have read a different book, man. Granted there are pacing problems in books 4 and 5 that would line up with your comments, but, being a long time fantasy reader, books 1 through 3 instantly became my favorite when I read them ~10 years ago and I haven’t had that opinion change yet, though again 4 and 5 are overly draggy with too much inconsequential detail.

      I never felt that characters made stupid decisions, they all seamed pretty reasonable given the information they had at hand. I guess everybody is open to their own interpretation.

      Eh anyway, on topic, this game looks like crap. I think it is probably yet another bad move for the franchise. Usually you want to finish off your series before you overly market it into main stream crap to avoid your franchise being portrayed poorly just as it is gaining ground.

    • Metriculated says:

      Empathy is what defines us…or so some biologists would have you believe. There are a million and one novels about war and conquest from the pov of commanders, leaders, and heros. That is what defines ASOIAF novels: they follow the characters caught up in decisions not those making the decisions. How fucking boring do you want your novels? You want them more predictable. Another phrase: the best made plans of mice n men. . .Tyrian tries to scheme, gets nowhere, area tries to get home, Sansa wants to marry a prince, bran desires pro be a knight… Shit happens, it’s how people react that makes life interesting. Not the obvious victory or the kid who has it all and gets more of it…

    • Lobotomist says:

      I stopped reading mid book 4. There was simply no point anymore. The story was going nowhere. And most characters were dead , lost or forgotten.

      Martin is a good writter, but he needs someone to help him with story….

      And PS @Alec Meer

      There is a lot of magic happening in the books…later.

      The red priest is resurecting people left and right, for example.

    • datom says:

      I have been unable to find any reason to enjoy the books of George RRRRR Martin. I find them poorly written, torturously long and massively ‘ye olde gloom’. Yet people seem to love them. I think it must be something wrong with me.

      @catmorbid – I disagree entirely. At its best (not its basest), fiction is transcendental – it’s exactly wher we should look for hope.Look to the works of Kurt Vonnegut, and find yourself elevated to a magical form of transcendence through the gritty horrors of modern life, and beyond to future apocalypses. Black Watch and folks in beards? Meh. Sacco and Vanzetti, Walter H. Starbuck? Glorious in their heroism.

    • Werthead says:

      “Secondly, and this is even more important…who cards whether Sansa just started her period, which knight she thinks is so damned handsome this week or whatever other uselessness about which she is whining in this chapter. Who cares which bloody terrible, stupid decision Catelyn will make this time, and which sort of emotional distress she will use to try and excuse herself.”

      ASoIaF is very detailed-oriented, which may be part of your problem here. Everything is there for a reason, no matter how inconsequential it may appear. Sansa starting her period is important because it means she has come of age and can now be legally married, which becomes a critical plot point in the third book (and scares her in the second, as it allows her to be married to Joffrey). Catelyn’s decisions, some of them stupid and some not, are driven by her character and experiences. Politically it would have been wise not to have arrested Tyrion and triggered a massive continent-spanning war. Emotionally, she was not going to let the (presumed) attempted murderer of her seven-year-old son walk away scott-free when he was in her power.

      Characters make the best decisions that they can at the time without the benefit of hindsight, often with rather hazardous consequences. That’s where the books draw on real medieval history for inspiration (where bloody wars and horrendous consequences often resulted from one ruler or another making selfish decisions).

      I haven’t read Cook yet, but pretty much every person I’ve encountered who has rates him as being much darker and much more nihilistic than Martin. Based on the other authors whom he has influenced who I have read (most notably Steven Erikson), that does appear to be the case.

    • wearedevo says:

      Blackcompany,

      Your complaint essentially seems to be that these books aren’t generic enough for you. I think you’ll be happier sticking to Glen Cook et al.

    • Werthead says:

      Glen Cook definitely isn’t generic, especially given he started writing the ultra-dark BLACK COMPANY in 1984 when fantasy was more like a kid’s playground overseen by the likes of David Eddings (shudder). George R.R. Martin is a big fan of Cook’s, and cites him as an inspiration of A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE.

  5. Jams O'Donnell says:

    Speaking of Cyanide, and chance of some more info about Confrontation?

  6. boywithumbrella says:

    “Game of Thrones”?
    More like “Game of Blocky Faces” =/

  7. derella says:

    I think playing as Arya would be more interesting. Or maybe Tyrion?

    • Icarus says:

      I would pay good money for an RPG where you play as Tyrion.

    • Orija says:

      Yea, being restricted to slashing and stabbing at people’s groins actually sounds fun.

    • AyeGill says:

      I would play the shit out of a tyrion simulator

    • atticus says:

      Would’ve been fun to see how censorship in certain countries would deal with the recurring brothel-QTE’s.

  8. Auspex says:

    Look neato. Fighting, running and ASOIAF are all things I like. Graphics are fine too.

  9. Turin Turambar says:

    Come on people, it actually looks nice for being done by a small european dev which previously has done a fantasy football game. I could swear in this site we prefered good gameplay, plot, etc instead of AAA production values.

    Not saying the game will be good, just saying maybe it will be.

    • Milos says:

      Up until now I presumed it was a big studio developing this game considering the importance of the source books. Now after a quick google and finding out it’s a relatively small developer, I’m fine with how the game looks. I was about to say the game looks a bit rough around the edges, but with this in mind it makes it an easier pill to swallow. At least for me. In the end it will be what they do with the lore and gameplay, not the looks, that will make or break the game.

    • katzen kratzen says:

      I agree, hopefully the plot and actual role-playing elements won’t suck. I kinda like Blood Bowl Legendary Edition, AGOT: Genesis wasn’t as good as I expected but I had my fun with it.

    • atticus says:

      Your phrase “nice for being done by a small european dev” highlights the biggest problem here in my opinion. As the popularity of the franchise is expanding drastically with the TV-series, maybe mr. Martin should’ve signed a deal with a bigger dev?

      Games from the “Song of Ice and Fire”-world has huge potential due to its popularity, its rich world and lore and its personality. And yet the first attempt at the RTS-genre failed miserably.

      “Don’t be too harsh, they did the best they could with the resources/experience they have” is a valid excuse for a good idea that didn’t reach its potential. But it doesn’t make a successful game now does it?

    • datom says:

      In fairness to the dev, they did manage to completely ham-fist a gilt-edged opportunity to make the best game ever. The only thing that saved Blood Bowl was the rule-set, but Cyanide tried to ditch it in favour of realtime (ugh) and then ‘Blitz mode’.

      In the end, you get a terrible port of the Java BBowl client that was unplayable in SP due to horrendous AI (eventually compensated for by ludicrous no-AI-injury cheating), Yet the ruleset was good enough that it was stll worth buying. Some devs have all the luck.

    • Werthead says:

      “Your phrase “nice for being done by a small european dev” highlights the biggest problem here in my opinion. As the popularity of the franchise is expanding drastically with the TV-series, maybe mr. Martin should’ve signed a deal with a bigger dev?”

      This wasn’t going to happen, however. GRRM and his agents went off and spoke to major developers several times. BioWare said they were fans of A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE but then went off and made DRAGON AGE, using ‘inspiration’ from ASoIaF, because it was a property they could completely own without having to pay for the license. Bethesda said they were fans of the books but didn’t want to take time away from their own ELDER SCROLLS series, and made SKYRIM instead. Relic said they were fans of the books and actually threw some ideas around, but ultimately chose to focus on their existing franchises rather than pay for the license.

      At some point GRRM and his agent decided to go with a company who really wanted to make the games, rather than trying to court the big boys who weren’t that interested. In retrospect, if the big developers had known how big the TV series was going to get, they may have gone for it, but that wasn’t known at the time (and Cyanide got the rights somewhere around the same time that HBO started developing the TV series, in 2007 IIRC, so this was some time before the series reached its current fame).

    • atticus says:

      Thanks for clearing that up Werthead, I didn’t know the history behind the choice to sell the rights to Cyanide.

      It takes alot of time and resources to make a good rpg, and even when a large developer spends years and millions on it, it still ends up being critizised for all kinds of things. I could be wrong about this game though, but I remain a sceptic; even more so after seeing the trailer.

      At least Uwe Boll didn’t buy the TV/movie-rights ten years ago. That’s something to be happy about.

  10. Valvarexart says:

    Am I the only one thinking that they want to make a game like The Witcher 2? The trailer gives me extreme Witcher-vibes, but it just doesn’t seem to live up aesthetically. I really do hope they make something great, though.

    • djim says:

      I agree that it seems like they want to look like The Witcher. Which would actually be great. The Witcher 2 was indeed one of the most beautifull games of the year (certainly the best looking RPG i have ever played), it also had a great story with difficult, grey, choices and you would never know if somebody is a friend or foe. If the game is good the graphics are acceptable.

  11. perestroika says:

    so there is no hodor class? such a missed opportunity.

  12. TODD says:

    Despite the awful animations, the fights look better choreographed than the ones in the miniseries.

  13. Astalnar says:

    Big fan of the books, but this looks miserable. I saw people writing on WiC.net site how it looks great… I guess compromise is the way to least of dissapointment.

  14. Kadayi says:

    Albeit the choices of characters are interesting in relation to the actual story line within the books I’m not optimistic on this one as Martin tends to happily rubber stamp anything generic (D&Desque) fantasy placed before him as GoT without much regard to the actual ‘quality’ at the end of the day. Also that cameo at 1.52 was just terrible…

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    harvb says:

    I’m not usually one for eye-candy games, but that looks fairly dated. I’ll forgive it if it’s a reasonable RPG and has genuine GRRM flavour.

    Funny though, with the current reign of GoT (TV and books) you’d have thought they’d have pulled the stops out on the graphics.