I admit I’m behind on my Game of Thrones watching. Has anyone else of note met an artery-opened, throat-gurgling end since the close of season one? (Wait, don’t tell me!) But I’m all caught up on appreciating studios doing solid translations of TV shows to games, and it sounds like The Walking Dead darling Telltale just added another arrow to its growing quiver.
“Phew, the new Game of Thrones game is actually good,” reads Kotaku’s review, proceeding to state what you’d imagine would be the case in any event: “Fans of the books and, in particular, fans of the show, will almost certainly enjoy the hell out of it.”
Entertainment Weekly seems equally upbeat about the game, writing that it “evokes its source material while staking its own claim on the franchise.”
Game of Thrones the game (out now for PCs and consoles), in case you’re a Thrones-the-TV-series fan but unfamiliar with Telltale’s oeuvre, involves a bunch of artfully presented backdrops and characters and narrative themes inspired by the HBO series’ interpretation of George R.R. Martin’s vaunted fantasy series. Imagine yourself moving a screen pointer around medieval backdrops and clicking on stuff, interacting with objects, playing as various characters at different points and selecting responses in dialogue with others. That’s about as complex as the gameplay gets in what’s traditionally described as an “adventure” game.
What makes it interesting for Thrones-series fans is twofold: Telltale’s been granted license to create new characters and tell their own stories, so essentially new sideline material further detailing and re-angling Martin’s world, and along the way you’ll bump into big leaguers like Cersei and Tyrion Lannister, Margaery Tyrell and Ramsay Snow, each voiced by the corresponding series actor. The game takes place between seasons three and four of the TV show.
What it’s not: a game of jumping, leaping, shooting, fighting and so forth. That’s not how adventure games work. Instead, the emphasis is on exploration, puzzle-solving and making ethical choices that can lead to divergent outcomes that’ll ripple through future episodes (this being the first of six, dubbed “Iron from Ice”).
If you’re not averse to spoilers, Wired has a terrific, satisfyingly longish dialogue about how those choices shaped its two writers’ unique experiences working through the first episode.