Ah, Game of Thrones. I honestly believe that I am the only man currently alive who has never seen an episode of the TV show, despite having read the series of books multiple times. I just wish George R.R. Martin would stop messing about, dust off his typewriter and finish the bloody story. Despite everyone telling me how great the show is, I just have difficulty in believing that it can be as amazing as the scenes that have played out in my mind; the Red Wedding, the dragons, the battles, the tender moments and those where my jaw has just dropped at how evil some of the characters are. I initially felt the same way about any video games of the series, to some extent, but seeing that Telltale Games’ 2014 adaptation of the Game of Thrones Universe wasn’t based on the books, I decided to dive in and see what was what. And boy, was I glad that I did.
As I may have mentioned in these type of articles before, I really am a huge fan of the Telltale style of games. The way that the story is told, and the workings of the story branches depending on your actions means that almost every scene has some significance, whether that be emotional or story-wise.
And the history of how Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series came about is actually quite interesting, with the initial idea to run a game in the Thrones universe coming about via internal discussions at Telltale, with it becoming the franchise they would like to write a game about next. Apparently, Game of Thrones was a popular choice with almost everyone involved, and thus, after a year of negotiations with HBO, the licence was acquired and work began.
One of the stipulations that George R. R. Martin had laid out previously was that he wanted “a Game of Thrones game to be made by a studio that knows how to create a thrilling and interesting story”. Well, looking at games like The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us, and Telltale certainly had the track record to do this, and George stated that his personal assistant – Ty Corey Franck – would act as story consultant to the game, to enable the tone to be just right. Telltale’s CEO, Dan Connors, on announcing the game, said the game would not be a prequel to the TV show, but that the established timeline and world of Game of Thrones would allow them to explore stories in more depth, all in order to appeal to gamers.
What this resulted in is an episodic game that has its own unique narrative, based around the Forrester family. It twines around the timeline from the books, touching it at certain points, such as the Red Wedding and Daenerys getting hold of her dragons; the rest of the time it fills in events in the background. In fact, the game opens at The Red Wedding, where loyal Stark bannerman Gregor Forrester and his heir Rodrik are killed, but not before Gregor manages to tell his squire, Gared, that he must protect the North Grove. Gared manages to escape and carry word back to the rest of the Forrester household, such as it is, at their stronghold, Ironrath.
Now, obviously I’m not going to spoil the story here, but suffice it to say it’s right up the with the usual excellence that Telltale were able to deliver. The way that the seemingly disparate strands of story, with people at Ironrath, in distant lands with Daenerys, and even at Kings Landing at the court of the King, all meet up and twine together to form a narrative is nothing short of masterful, and certainly keeps you guessing until the end.
- Game of Thrones – A Telltale Games Series Episode One: Iron From Ice – Review
- Game of Thrones – A Telltale Games Series Episode Two: The Lost Lords – Review
- Game of Thrones – A Telltale Games Series Episode Three: The Sword in the Darkness – Review
- Game of Thrones – A Telltale Games Series Episode Four: Sons of Winter – Review
- Game of Thrones – A Telltale Games Series Episode Five: A Nest of Vipers – Review
- Game of Thrones – A Telltale Games Series Episode Six: The Ice Dragon – Review
There’s the usual amount of Game of Thrones blood, gore, violence and cruelty to be found here too. My advice though is a lot like my advice for those reading the books; don’t become too attached to any of the characters, as they can be killed at any time. Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series even makes you choose between who lives and who dies at certain points, so being too emotionally attached is a bad idea. Not even the female characters are immune from being killed, and depending on your choices, the game can go very wrong indeed.
Seeing recognisable characters from the books, such as Jon Snow (leading you, I’m sure, to correctly deduce that the Wall and the Nights Watch feature in the storyline), Margaery Tyrell at Kings Landing and even the great Tyrion Lannister as a character that you can interact with, adds a great deal to the storyline.
As a treat to myself when I started to write this piece, I downloaded and started to replay the game again, and I have to say that once more I was wowed by the branching story, and the variety of decisions that are required to be taken along the way. And it immediately thrust me back to 2014 when I used to really look forward to the end of the chapters, checking out the breakdown of how other gamers had played the game, and how many had made the same choices that I had; this always struck me as a great feature.
In a somewhat unusual move for a Telltale game though, there doesn’t really seem much prospect of a sequel, for various reasons that anyone who’s played will know. While a majority of their games could be added to very easily, should they ever resurface as a development studio, Telltale made sure that this wasn’t realistically going to be a possibility in the case of Game of Thrones.
But hey, at least we’ve got the memories. And I’d love to hear yours. Did you play it back in the day? Do you feel inspired to go and hunt it out? Let me know in the comments!