What I Want From TellTale Games – Game of Thrones
Now, for those of you who don’t know, TellTale Games, the developers behind the highly successful Walking Dead series, last year confirmed they were in development of a Game of Thrones game, in the style of their company. That means, it will be a point and click adventure, as you make your way through an absorbing and emotionally rooting narrative, the story built around your decisions. It’s what their best at, and darn, are they good at it.
I’m an adoring fan of TellTale Games. I’ve played The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us, and I’m ever waiting for the next episode to head my way. Oh, the endless waiting. There’s something about their game style that just really gets me. I’m a sucker for a good story, and Seven Hells do they know how to tell one. Not only that, but the narratives of each game are so emotionally engrossing, tearing at your every heartstring, that there is no possible way you could play without losing yourself in it’s every aspect.
The games are great, that’s no lie. But is it right for Game of Thrones? The HBO smash hit show has become one of the most popular series of all time, with people falling in love with the intrigue, the deception, and of course, the dragons. We just love it all. And, for those who aren’t aware, the show is based off a series of book named A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin, a fantastic set of books I recommend to everyone ever. Westeros has become a phenomenon, and everyone wants a piece of it, including TellTale Games.
But, it’s risky. So far, nearly all the attempts at a Game of Thrones video game have flopped. The industry is just failing to tap into the true potential of the franchise. Will TellTale Games follow suit and crumble? Or will theirs be the first to shine? I hope for the latter, and there is much the company could do to make their game truly brilliant for we avid fans.
First of all, TellTale Games need to focus on one of their and Martin’s strong points – narrative strength. They need a good story. In the world of Westeros, this would not be so hard to find, seeing as so much is going on everywhere, from the icy tip of the Wall all the way to the sun-kissed earth of Qarth. The Seven Kingdoms and beyond are simply packed full of stories to be told, it’s just up to TellTale Games to pick out which one would be best to explore.
Personally, I would have liked them to have set the game in a time period before that of Game of Thrones. Perhaps during Aegon’s Conquest or Robert’s Rebellion, so that we might see more of Westeros’ history that we have yet to have access to. We could well have taken on the persona of one of Aegon’s followers as he stormed through the realm, capturing and conquering astride his dragon, maybe as one of his sisters. That would have given us great insight into a very significant part of Westeros’ history, not to mention it would have been thrilling and full of dragons.
But, sadly, TellTale Games have confirmed that their game will not feature as a prequel. A shame, but I’m sure I can handle it. They intend to set it during the War of the Five Kings, when the world is at war and danger is at every turn. I respect this choice, as it makes fair sense. In a war, everything is going on everywhere, so narratives and story twists are available hidden in every shadow. It is a choice time period to dig into, and hopefully, they will dig to gold.
What I find interesting is whether or not they will perceive the game from one or more perspectives. The books are infamous for their countless POV chapters, with a whopping 31 POV characters as of the most recent book. However, TellTale Games contrast this as both of their successful franchises, The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us, follow only one view-point. They tried their hand at multiple view points in The Walking Dead DLC, 400 Days, following the stories of several different characters and their interaction with the walker infection.
But, as I played 400 Days, I felt it was an entirely average game. Nothing compared other games TellTale have produced. Whether if it was because it was their first time exploring multiple view points or because it was a small DLC, I don’t know, but I felt 400 Days failed to reach what it aimed for, it fell short of brilliance. So, I worry that should they try to match Game of Thrones extensive POV style, it will diminish the quality of the game.
So, I want not one view-point, and not dozens, but perhaps 3. Nothing too small, and nothing too big. 3 is the magic number after all. Not only that, but 3 POV stories would give us access to much of Westeros, really. One could be in King’s Landing, involved in the intricacies and dangers of King Joffrey and Tywin Lannister, the second up by the Wall dealing with the White Walkers, while the 3rd is in Essos witnessing the rise of Daenerys Stormborn. This way, the game would give us view into the 3 biggest dangers of the series.
As for the art style, it’s a tricky one. The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us each present a comic-book like graphic style, as they are based off the original comic books. So, here’s when I pose this question – is the TellTale Games based of HBO’s A Game of Thrones, or George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire?
If one or the other, it would make a change on what many characters and locations look like. I would prefer if TellTale Games went for a new style, an intense graphical feat in fact, to match the new generation graphics. This would not only make the game visually beautiful, but the detail on facial features and emotion on the characters would dramatically help with the game’s engrossment.
Now to get to a very important part – the choices. TellTale Games are infamous for their heart-wrenching and awful decisions in-game, such as choosing to save your friend or the annoying child, or choosing to leave behind a woman who killed someone, but will surely die without you. The game truly tests your morals and conscience more than any game I have ever known.
And they cannot lose this in their Game of Thrones game. In fact, if anything, it should become all the more amazing. Looking at the world of Westeros and all we have seen, imagine the range of choices that have been made. Jaime chose to shove Bran out of the window. King Joffrey chose to behead Ned Stark. Robb Stark chose to marry a non-Frey. Imagine what could happen had we had control of these decisions. Westeros would be so different!
In a world so wrought with danger and deceit and dragons, TellTale Games have tapped into a mine of morally questionable actions for us to play with, and struck heart-breaking oil. I can already think of a few examples – You have captured a man who knows about Roose Bolton’s plans of the Red Wedding, a Stark man at that. Do you kill him to keep him quiet, even though you can see his family of 3 young children watching in horror the distance? You and your brother have been taken to King Joffrey after being accused of theft in Flea Bottom. He orders you fight to the death, and the winner lives. What do you do?
There is much TellTale Games could do with Martin’s world of Westeros, and these are just a few I hope they consider. As a massive fan of TellTale Games and an obsessive nerd about A Song of Ice and Fire, I am extremely excited for this game, and hope with all my heart that they make the best out of it that they can. I know they will. Good luck TellTale Games! Valar Morghulis!