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The Case for a Proper Game of Thrones Video Game

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The Case for a Proper Game of Thrones Video Game
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The Case for a Proper Game of Thrones Video Game

Last week, Game of Thrones broke its own ratings record with 7.2 million viewers, and tonight, it may do it again. Between live viewers, late viewers, HBO Go password sharers and pirates, probably at least 10 million people a week are following the events of the show, now midway through its fourth season.

And yet, despite a rich universe, fantastic characters, and plenty of swords and sorcery, there still hasn’t been a proper Game of Thrones video game yet.

There was an attempt of course, an RPG made by developer Cyanide and published by ATLUS back in 2012. Despite being officially licensed and making a good attempt at a self-contained story within the Song of Ice and Fire universe, the game was plagued with a very obvious lack of polish and quality that led to bad reviews and poor sales.

Now, we have Telltale Games developing a story-based Game of Thrones title after striking a deal with HBO. That’s certainly great news, and while I look forward to it, I can’t help but think we also still need a true Game of Thrones RPG, one with as much work put into it as say, The Elder Scrolls series.

In the short video below, I talk about my central idea for such a game that would differentiate it from others in the genre. Please give it a watch, and meet me on the other side:

To expand a bit on what I said above, while Game of Thrones may seem like an ideal world to build an MMO around, that’s something I’d like to avoid in favor of a single player/co-op RPG. This could capitalize on the chief complaint with The Elder Scrolls Online, where fans were saying all they ever really wanted was a co-op version of Skyrim, not a fully-fledged MMO with hundreds of “chosen” heroes camping enemy spawn points.

This is an action RPG that would actually be built somewhat around co-op play, based on George RR Martin’s frequently used tactic to pair different, and often conflicting, characters together on their travels across the realm. The examples I gave in the video usually create some of the best moments of the books/shows, whether it’s the misadventures of Tyrion and Bronn, Brienne and Jaime, Arya and The Hound, and so on.

The game would feature new characters, and would perhaps be a prequel set during Robert’s Rebellion so it could stick within the canon. More often than not, rather than being simply a solo adventure, the game would pair your custom-built hero with one of any number of AI characters, ones with fully fleshed out backstories and personalities that would be revealed over the course of the game.

They could serve to balance out your main character, bringing different strengths to the table you may lack. If you were a mostly speech-based hero (a must-have class in this game, given how well smooth talkers like Petyr Baelish and Tyrion Lannister do in the realm despite their physical limitations), you could have a hulking bodyguard to have your back. In contrast, if you were a warrior yourself, perhaps your silvertongued companion could charm a group of enemies to fight for you, rather than everyone losing their heads (literally). Or, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with two of the same class either (as seen below).

There could be any number of different types of pairings based on the show/books that also fit somewhat into RPG archetypes. Faceless men assassins, berserker wildings, Kingsguard knights, and so on. The possibilities are endless.

In combat, you could switch between your two main characters Dragon Age-style, You’d equip them with upgradable armor and weapons, leveling up the skills of each character as you go. My favorite part about this idea is how much it encourages co-op play. In story mode where you’re still trying to play within your plotline, your friend could easily jump in and control your second character. In a different, storyless free-roam mode, they could play as their own custom-made main character instead, and the two of you could rampage around doing whatever you wanted.

In the end, I’m picturing a Game of Thrones RPG as a more structured version of Skyrim with a focus on co-op play, either with a friend or AI. I would love to hear your own ideas for a theoretical game in the comments, and feel free to be much more detailed than I’ve been.

Follow me on Twitter, subscribe to my Forbes feed, and pick up a copy of my sci-fi novel, The Last Exodus, and its sequel, The Exiled Earthborn.


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