With the penultimate season of Game of Thrones finished on TV and a colossal amount of people talking about it, it's hard to imagine any video game maker ever passing up the opportunity to get a piece of that franchise pie. But as I found out recently, Obsidian Entertainment did - it turned down Game of Thrones.
Three more games based on George R R Martin's fantasy saga Game of Thrones are in the works, following recent PC strategy effort, Game of Thrones: Genesis.
As reported by USA Today, a full RPG is in development at Cyanide - the same studio behind Genesis - for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, with Atlus set to publish.
HBO is apparently sharing footage of the next series of its TV adaptation - which airs next April - with the studio, so that the two can dovetail.
They picked the hard route instead of the easy route. Whatever else a game of A Game Thrones gets wrong, I admire it for resisting the sure temptation to be a dime a dozen medieval-themed real-time strategy game filled with units that endlessly uttered familiarly pithy or portentous lines from George R.R. Martin's deadline-busting fantasy books.
Instead, it's tried to capture the underlying themes of the Song of Ice and Fire series. No, not suffering characters taking oh-god-so-long boat journeys to wherever the action resolutely isn't or having to sit through yet more of a dirty old man's sex fantasies when all you really want to hear about is the liches and the dragons, but instead the game of thrones itself - the politicking, alliances and treachery that sees the balance of power shift regularly and unpredictably, every noble family in the land forever striving to out-manoeuvre, out-think and out-marry their blue-blooded/power-crazed/inbred competition.
Bewilderingly, Genesis throws out all the character of the books, outside of token naming of factions as the land of Westeros' most renowned Houses, and presents a bland, brown world where everything, everywhere and everyone looks the same and no-one even knows what a bon mot is. As a celebration of Martin's seven-book low fantasy saga, it's a straight-up failure. You'd be far better off buying a King Joffrey commemorative plate or House Stark-themed thermal underpants (winter is coming, after all - better wrap up warm). As, however, a strategy game that strives to escape the genre's build'n'bash traditions and come up with something fresh, it's on to something. The ideas are right: the ideas are great, even - but the execution is grim.
Novel strategy tie-in for 29th Sept.
Exclusive PC RTS by Cyanide.
Book becomes telly series becomes game.
Forthcoming fantasy tie-in A Game of Thrones: Genesis is a PC exclusive, developer Cyanide Entertainment has announced.
According to a PC Gamer interview with designer Regis Robin, the forthcoming RTS will be set centuries before the events of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire books from which it takes its cue.
Robin explained that the game will "allow the player to be part of many of the background events in the history of the Seven Kingdoms. It is broken down into chapters running from about 700 years before Aegon's Landing and going right up to events within the books.