Game Of Thrones Videogame Preview
All that's missing from this picture is a pair of boobs.
Game Of Thrones is currently entering the home stretch of its second season on the TV, but did you know you’ll soon be able to expand the experience and step into the world of Westeros with Game Of Thrones, the game, for Xbox, PS3 and PC? It’s an RPG in the mould of Dragon Age: Origins, or The Witcher, and rather than a needless retelling of the first book’s tale, the game tells the parallel story of Alester Sarwyck and Mors Westford, brand new characters for the game, with a handful of familiar faces popping up throughout. To give you an idea of what to expect, we raised tankards with developer Cyanide’s Lead Game Designer Sylvain Sechi.
Sylvain Sechi. Nice beard.
SFX: You were developing the game long before the TV show started. Did your approach to the world change once you’d seen what HBO did with the books?
Sylvain Sechi: Regarding the world, not really. We’re very respectful of the book and HBO was a lot as well in season one, so the two media are so close that we that we didn’t have to make changes to the environments, apart from the Throne and the sigils on the flags. For characters that appear in the show though, we had to redo them completely so they matched their HBO look.
Your two protagonists, Mors Westford and Alester Sarwyck, are new to the Game Of Thrones universe, how does their story overlap with what we’ve already read?
Their stories happen during the same time frame as the first book (so roughly a year). Things are really intricate in Westeros, and the action of someone often has an impact further away. This is something you’ll see a lot in the game, whether it was your actions as a player, or the actions of characters from the books.
Both the books and the TV show value their characters above all else. What type of men are Westford and Sarwyck?
That’s right, and that’s why we spent lots of time creating our characters, detailing their background, families, friends, enemies, tastes, fears, habits, making sure they are what they are because of what they want, and not just a simple and easy to read character, even though we like to trick the player a bit by making them think otherwise at the beginning (as with Jamie Lannister in the books)! Mors is a war veteran who was sent to the wall 15 years before for betraying his liege lord. Alester is the first son of lord Raynald of House Sarwyck, and he’s coming back from a long trip in Braavos where he became a priest of R’hllor.
We understand George RR Martin was a consultant on the game. How much was he involved?
We had several validation points with GRRM: first draft of scenario, character concept art, detailed scenario, interactive choices, respect of the universe, use and dialogues of characters already present in the books. GRRM is really a passionate man, and he gave us feedback on many different aspects of the game which was really cool for us and most of the time we were able to take his opinion into account.
How much emphasis have you placed on storytelling compared to more traditional RPG elements such as combat and character progression?
Storytelling was our biggest production effort I guess. It took us a year, just to get the backbone of the script right and create all the characters. Story is what makes RPGs unique to my mind, so we really wanted it to be great AND to reach the very high standards of the license.
The fantasy elements of the show (dragons, White Walkers) were only hinted at in the first season of the show, but play a much bigger part in later books. Will supernatural elements like these feature in the game more?
A little bit… At the beginning of the books, magic awakens, so it also awakens in the game. But you won’t see anyone casting thunderbolts or fireballs! One of the characters is a skinchanger, and their power is a big part of the game.
Expect plenty of charcter interaction throughout the game. In more ways than one.
What areas of Westeros will you explore?
The Wall, King’s Landing, Mole’s Town, the Red Keep, and many more. Plus some new places we have created only for the game and that fit perfectly within the saga.
Game Of Thrones has become notorious for its rather graphic sex scenes (for TV at least), have you toned this down in the game at all?
I’m not a big fan of sex/drugs/blood just for the sake of it. Saying something is mature because you see lots of it is actually quite far from mature to my mind. And that is very clear in the books. Our inspiration regarding this topic came from the books, not the TV show. So yes, those elements are present in the game (you’ll visit Chataya’s Brothel and Mole’s Town Brothel) but we’re not showing sex if it’s not relevant to the story.
What are the challenges of creating an RPG in a post-Skyrim/post-Mass Effect world?
The biggest challenge is realizing the game at such high standards. Skyrim is the fifth game of the saga, Mass Effect had all of Bioware’s experience and technology behind it. We’re at a much lower budget so the biggest challenge was to reach the quality level of the biggest AAA studios in terms of realisation.
Will you be able to slap Joffrey (please say yes)?
Why would anyone want to harm that adorable, polite and respectful child?
Game Of Thrones is released in the UK on PS3, Xbox and PC on Friday 8 June
Read our Game Of Thrones season two reviews.
Game Of Thrones Tarot Art Challenge.
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