This Sunday, the premier episode of season six of Game of Thrones will no doubt pull in massive numbers of viewers. The hype leading up to this event has been rolling in high gear for at least the last six months thanks to leaked photos of sets and hordes of fan speculation. I’ll be honest. I’m part of the huge number of fans who have been caught up in the “Is he?/Isn’t he?” game the cast and producers have been fueling in full force lately. So, if you’re like me and are practically bursting with anticipation, there’s a way to get your Game of Thrones fix right now. That’s with Telltale Games‘ fantastic episodic Game of Thrones video game.
Telltale is a developer that has become known for games that are about narrative and player choices, rather than standard gameplay mechanics. In most of their games, most of the traditional gameplay comes only in the form of quick time events that aren’t even that frequent. Instead you spend the game watching cinematics and making choices as to character dialogue and other issues that will have an impact on how certain aspects of the story will unfold. This means even if you’re not a “gamer,” you can easily enjoy their games.
The Telltale game that I’ve played the most, besides Game of Thrones, is the Wolf Among Us, based on the popular Fables series of comic books. In that game, I found the choices to be pretty black and white. In most cases, one choice was clearly “good,” while the other choice was obviously “bad.” That game also put you in the shoes of the main character in the comic books. Game of Thrones is very different in both regards. But let’s take a look at some background first.
The story focuses on House Forrester, a northern household who occupy the stronghold of Ironrath, located west of Winterfell in the Wolfswood. The Forresters are the main providers of the massively strong Ironwood, a fact that puts them in a precarious situation in the politics of Westeros. There are a number of characters who, throughout the course of the game, find themselves in different locations. One heads to The Wall, one is in King’s Landing, some stay in Ironrath,and one is across the sea in Yunkai.
The Forresters are loyal bannermen to the Starks. Therefore, they find themselves fallen out of favor by most of the kingdom after the Red Wedding, which is where the game begins. Like the Starks, they are seen as the “good guys.” They’re honorable and honest, making them characters most players will identify with. However, any fan of the books or television show knows exactly how far honor will get you.
Keeping the Canon Intact
One of the great things about the Game of Thrones video game is that you play as various family members of the Forresters or those loyal to them. This helps the game fit realistically into the world. Lots of games based on other properties have you playing as the iconic characters from that property, which can raise problems with the canon. This is one way that Game of Thrones is different. You never play as any character that you’ve seen in the books or the television show. But that doesn’t mean the characters we’ve come to love or hate don’t play a part in the game. The playable characters have interactions with lots of the main characters, including Cersei, Tyrion, Margary Tyrell, Ramsay Bolton (though he’s still Ramsay Snow during this game,) Daenerys, and Jon Snow. This keeps you grounded in the world without raising conflicts between the game and the original material. It also helps that all of the characters are voiced by the same actors who portray them in the show.
But besides this smart decision in terms of story, Game of Thrones also features a number of choices that aren’t as cut and dry as those in some other Telltale games. Unlike when playing the Wolf Among Us, I found myself often taking a long time trying to decide which option to choose in Game of Thrones. And more importantly, the choices you have to make feel exactly like those the characters in the books and television show are forced to make.
I had already played through the entire season of the Game of Thrones game earlier this year, but have found it a great way to mostly satisfy the hunger for season six. And since you can change up the choices you make, each playthrough feels pretty different than the last.
The Game of Thrones video game is available on almost all platforms including mobile devices. I personally have found the game to be a great experience on my iPad. Now is the perfect time to play this game. After all, winter is coming and this is a great way to prepare for it.