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Essays 20 September 2017, 10:17

author: Radek Wacha

The best video game adaptations of Game of Thrones

The Game of Thrones TV show, based on the novels by George R. R. Martin, is a massive success. It may surprise you then that this universe hasn’t received a triple-A video game adaptation yet. Still, digital Westeros already exists.

The Game of Thrones universe, or more precisely the series of fantasy novels entitled The Song of Ice and Fire has gathered an immense fanbase. To a large extent, this success can be attributed to the success of the TV series, followed by millions of people worldwide. In some places the finale of the seventh season was even screened in theatres. Such high-profile success often entails an invasion of video games that are trying to jump on the bandwagon of the franchise’s popularity. Despite the huge audience, the universe created by George R. R. Martin only generated a few games and a couple more mods for various productions. Unfortunately, only a few of the latter are full-blown conversions that take entire games into Westeros and strive to really render that gloominess of the original setting.

In this article, we are going to take a look at some of the games inspired by the world of Game of Thrones. Although these titles are not winning any game of the year medals, the fans of the universe should be able to find something of interest. It’s hard not to notice, though, that the mods created by the community are often more interesting and more fun than the official games. We’ve recently covered the subject of the best video game mods, but since then some of the titles have been updated, so they deserve our attention.

A Game of Thrones: Genesis – a strategy in Westeros

A Game of Thrones: Genesis:
  1. Platform: PC
  2. Developer: Cyanide Studio
  3. Genre: Strategy

George R. R. Martin’s universe spawned its first video game back in 2011 and it was an RTS with turn-based strategy elements. A Game of Thrones: Genesis doesn’t depict the events known from the series, but instead offers a few campaigns featuring different events, such as the arrival of Nymeria to Westeros, the civil war within the House of Targaryens, the conquests of Daeron I, the rebellion of Daemon Blackfyre or some of the adventures of young Stannis Baratheon. Apart from that, there’s a free mode, in which you strive to achieve sovereignty over the entire land.

You can achieve victory in a few ways – military conquest; weakening the enemy’s economy; or with political intrigues. Military and economic aspects of the game aren’t very exciting – the diplomacy system is arguably the mainstay of the whole thing. Spies can broker secret pacts that change the provisions of official agreements; noble ladies can seduce enemies and get them on the player’s side. You can also use assassins to quietly get rid of problematic individuals or cause unrest in the opposite nation.

Also available on mobile

Game of Thrones: Ascent, available on iOS and Android, allows you to play as a nobleman from one of the powerful families. The players can establish alliances and try to take over Westeros. Also includes character development and quests.

Game of Thrones – a dark RPG

Game of Thrones:
  1. Platforms: PC, X360, PS3
  2. Developer: Cyanide Studio
  3. Genre: RPG

Game of Thrones is one of the RPGs based on the famous series of novels the history presented in the game is a rendition of the events from the first book. The plot really does justice to the books by George R. R. Martin – intrigues, betrayals, plot twists, well-known characters and moral dilemmas – it’s all here. The game allows you to chose from two different characters and, consequently, two different stories that eventually intertwine, finally creating a coherent plot. The main characters are Mors Westford and Alester Sarwyck – the first is a member of the Night’s Watch, and the other – a nobleman trying to take away Mors’ rightful heritage. Both characters are believable and the motives behind their actions make sense and are logically justified.

So far, so good, right? Unfortunately, it’s not all that hunky-dory after we move to the mechanics used to convey the story. The combat (and there’s lots of it) requires the player to follow the same strategy over and over and over again, hence the unsatisfying fights are only an annoying obstacle on your way towards the dramatic conclusion. The location design was also neglected – the corridor structure is omnipresent. But apart from that, the fans should give Game of Thrones a shot. If you’re only willing to turn a blind eye on the limping mechanics, you should be pretty content with this rendition of the universe.

Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series – an interactive movie

Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series:
  1. Platform: PC, PS4, XONE, PS3, X360, Android, iOS
  2. Developer: Telltale Games
  3. Genre: adventure

Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series doesn’t depart from the established formula known from other titles by Telltale Games, which means we get a captivating story presented in the form of an interactive movie. The plot was integrated into the story from the TV series, and presented from the perspective of the Forresters – a generally despised house that supported the Starks during the War of Five Kings. Expect piles of dead enemies and dangers and intrigues luring around every corner.

Since several characters are available, the players will be able to visit quite a few interesting locations, such as the King’s Landing or The Wall. The fans of the universe should also be pleased to have a chance to impersonate such characters as Tyrion and Cersei Lannister or Jon Snow, all known from the source material. The general resentment towards the Forresters renders our characters’ opinions irrelevant in the eyes of the NPCs, who are actually only waiting to humiliate them some more. This creates a great and intense story, in which you follow the misfortunes of your heroes with bated breath.

The modders strike back

If you already gave a try to the above titles or found them somewhat lacking, you should check out some of the modding scene’s output. There’s a handful of mods on the Internet that are as good, or in fact better, than the officially published games.

Mount & Blade: Warband

Popular in some circles of gamers, Mount & Blade: Warband received two major, Game of Thrones-themed mods – A Clash of Kings and A World of Ice and Fire. Both of these impress us with the attention paid to minute details and the otherwise amazing delivery. The mods give you access to a faithfully recreated world map full of familiar locations that look just fantastic. Westeros (and part of Essos) can be conquered with new armies and characters known from the pages of A Song of Ice and Fire and your TV screens. Most importantly, though, these are not just some empty NPCs, but charismatic individuals that you can talk to (and have a pretty good conversation).

A Clash of Kings:
  1. Game: Mount & Blade: Warband
  2. Creator: Cozur
  3. Size: 2 GB
  4. Current version: 4.1 (as of August 2017)

Under such circumstances, there’s one question begging to be asked: which mod is better? It’s of course up to individual tastes. A Clash of Kings strives harder to maintain lore fidelity and so many things are imposed on the player. Of course, the gameplay schemes of the original Warband went out the window – while you still can become a hated outlaw, there are some events that will always unfold in a certain way – simply because the lore demands it. The authors made sure the players get new, complex quests, and the graphics were significantly improved.

We ought to mention the updates that this mod received since our previous piece on mods was posted. A Clash of Kings sports some new music, a couple of quests and enemies, along with new groups of bandits roaming Westeros. In addition, weapon and character balance was improved, and some bugs were neutralized.

A World of Ice and Fire:
  1. Game: Mount & Blade: Warband
  2. Creator: A World of Ice and Fire Team
  3. Size: 1.4 GB
  4. Current version: 1.3 (as of August 2017)

On the other hand, A World of Ice and Fire offers a great deal of freedom, which is undeniably cool. It’s the player who decides on how the events should unfold: should we follow the threads established by the books and TV episodes, with all the conflicts between the houses? Or would you prefer to write your own version of the story? There’s nothing preventing you from recruiting the Unsullied, or joining the Night’s Watch to guard The Wall.

  1. Dwonload A Clash of Kings mod from our FTP servers
  2. Download A World of Ice and Fire mod from our FTP servers

The upcoming mod for the fifth installment of The Elder Scrolls series, bringing the universe of A Game of Thrones into the world of Skyrim, is also looking very promising. This mod is unavailable as of now (there are only some older versions circulating around the Web), but the modders showed off some of their achievements on the ModDB website. This mod will introduce many known characters and locations – the Whiterun will become the King’s Landing, and the civil war of the Skyrim province will be replaced with the conflict between House Lannister and House Stark.

A Game of Thrones (Crusader Kings II)

A Game of Thrones:
  1. Game: Crusader Kings II
  2. Creator: CK2:AGOT Development Team
  3. Size: 245 MB
  4. Current version: 1.5 (as of August 2017)

A Game of Thrones mod for Crusader Kings II allows the players to set the starting date (within 300 years from the events described in A Song of Ice and Fire) and then takes them into the dangerous world of Westeros and Essos. There, as a member of one of the Houses, the Night’s Watch or even the Free Folk from beyond The Wall, you will fight for survival amidst the perpetual conflicts and civil wars. The main thrust behind this mod is the ability to create your own scenarios that can change the whole story – forging an unlikely alliance or killing an important character will alter the events known from the books and the series, oftentimes leading to unexpected repercussions.

The events from the original Crusader Kings II were superseded with occurrences that well befit the universe of George R. R. Martin, and each faction has its own, characteristic traits, which the fans of Game of Thrones will recognize in an instant. In order to be even more faithful to A Song of Ice and Fire, the creators introduced a load of changes in the core game mechanics – improved the interaction with NPCs and added duels.

A Game of Thrones mod, similarly to A Clash of Kings for Warband, has also been updated a number of times. The authors added new artifacts, improved the graphics, eliminated many bugs and managed to make the mod compatible with The Reaper’s Due expansion, which introduced new ways of wiping enemies from the face of Earth (or whatever planet we’re considering).

  1. Download the mod from our servers

Game of Thrones: Total War (Medieval II: Total War)

Game of Thrones: Total War:
  1. Game: Medieval II: Total War
  2. Creator: Inarus
  3. Size: 1.8 GB
  4. Current version: 4.9 (as of August 2017)

Game of Thrones: Total War is actually a submod, based on another mod, called Westeros: Total War. The authors of Total War decided to pick up where the creators of Westeros: Total War stopped working (which was at version 0.53, so the mod was far from being finished), and wrap the whole project up. The map from Medieval II was covered with territories belonging to the most prominent houses: Lannister, Stark, Fray, Arryn or Baratheon. The task is. quite obviously, to seize the Iron Throne in King’s Landing.

The premise of the original game wasn’t dramatically altered. You lead a faction, develop cities and castles, manage the economy, raise armies, send spies and try to make things difficult for your enemies. All models and textures were faithfully rendered, so the difference between different houses is quite apparent – just look at the buildings and soldiers. Familiar music plays in the background and long and harsh winters only reinforce the gloomy atmosphere.

  1. Game of Thrones: Total War on ModDB

A map for Heroes of Might and Magic III (with In the Wake of Gods mod) is also worth noticing. The scenario of Games of Thrones and Dragons depicts the story from A Song of Ice and Fire – obviously in a somewhat more concise form.

A Mod of Ice and Fire (Sid Meier’s Civilization V)

A Mod of Ice and Fire:
  1. Game: Sid Meier’s Civilization V
  2. Creator: Luir and VirtuaBoza
  3. Size: 10 MB

This list is concluded with A Mod of Ice and Fire, which merges the world of Westeros and Essos with Sid Meier’s Civilization V. The rules are simple – the player takes control over one of the biggest houses (although it’s also possible to lead other factions, such as the Free Folk) and strives to control nearby lands, or even the whole continent. Now, only two people created this mod, which makes all the minute details featured in it much more impressive. The atmosphere of G.R.R. Martin’s world is prevalent from the very first moments.

The fans will feel at home – the mod features lore-friendly religions, and the map is abundant with characteristic locations. The authors have also given enough thought to the allocation of unique traits, buildings and units to every nation. There’s a huge difference in style and strategy between different factions, so each playthrough can be a unique experience.

  1. A Mod of Ice and Fire on Steam

The remastered version of Age of Empires II has also gotten its own Game of Thrones map – The War of the Five Kings. The scenario tells the story of the titular war and allows players to chose one of the leaders, for example Joffrey Lannister, Robb Stark or Stannis Baratheon. Apart from detailed locations, the authors have also prepared some events that can alter the outcome of battles.

Radek Wacha | Gamepressure.com

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