Thursday, October 2, 2014

A Song of Games and Genres

There have been a number of attempts to adapt George R.R. Martin's fantasy epic to a video game format.  Each and every time the results have been mediocre at best despite a variety of developers trying trying different approaches.  The simple fact of the matter is there are so many different characters that any video game can only hope to capture a small part of the whole story.  Let me illustrate my point based around POV characters and hypothetical games that would suitably match them.

Tywin Lannister, Rob Stark or a Stannis Baratheon POV would probably play like Total War: Westeros.  From Daenerys Targaryen's POV it's like Heroes of Might and Magic Zero.  Jamie Lannister, Sandor Clegane or Bronn are basically characters from Samurai Showdown Knight Showdown.  Pretty much everyone in King's Landing are Crusader Kings mod enthusiasts.  Meanwhile the Night's Watch are in Mount and Blade: Beyond the Wall.  Khal Drogo basically is one of the heroes from Dynasty Warriors: Essos Edition.  Myrcella Lannister is passing the time with Cyvasse Master 2000.  While Brienne of Tarth is stuck doing lots of fetch quests in a turn-based tactical RPG.  Gregor Clegane (a.k.a. "The Mountain") is some jerk going on a rampage in an open world game.  The Brotherhood Without Banners are a bunch of fellows lifted straight out of a classic RPG with the magic toned down a bit.  Arya is definitely the main character in a Telltale game.  Her brother Bran Stark holds a similar role in some weird visual novel.  In the case of their elder sister, Sansa, it's probably a variation on the indie title Long Live the Queen.  Lastly, I'm pretty sure Theon Greyjoy is trapped in a fantasy version of Gods Will be Watching (at least that's the only game I can think of that comes close to encapsulating his miserable situation).

I could go on, but I think I made my point.  A Song of Ice and Fire (or Game of Thrones, if you only watch the HBO TV miniseries) is far too broad in scope and too wide ranging in themes to fit into an interactive piece of least in anything other than narrow slices confined to a single type of character POV and, by extension, game genre.

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