By Mento 16 Comments
Fortunately, that isn't actually a real thing. Nor will it ever, if HBO's usual aversion to merchandizing holds out. As the first season of the adaptation of George RR Martin's A Song of Ice & Fire series bows out for some nine months or so, I decided to peruse the grand archives of video gamerology for analogues of that franchise that the great gaming public can entertain themselves with while they wait for season two. This blog post kind of assumes you have some familiarity with either the TV show or the first book (there's no spoilers for the other books, nor do I want to see anything of the like in the comments. Pretty please?)
What I'm looking for specifically in these examples is a deeply layered high fantasy world, where political intrigue and civil wars of succession cause as much consternation and terror to the general populace as the wild monsters, bandits and vaguely supernatural horrors lurking in the periphery of their medieval-esque kingdom. Turns out that sort of thing is a more common staple than one might think.
We have a loose coalition of baronies and territories, ruled by "Lords" and "Sers", that band together in only the most dire of cases (such as the semi-regular invasion of legions of boogeymen) and spend the rest of the time squabbling over perceived slights and inane political minutiae. The only constant, reliable defense against the darkness is an increasingly understaffed color-based (gray, not black) brotherhood of overly-serious warriors who swear lifelong vows to protect the rest of the ungrateful kingdom from the very worst that the vast, untamed wilderness has to hide.
Ferelden represents the North of Martin's world of Westeros: A group of dirty, stern canophiles with beards and broadswords and a fatalistic focus on the honor and duty of protecting the land from horrors untold. Orlais, meanwhile, depicts the sort of wealthy, decadent and willfully ignorant "civilized" capital of King's Landing, just as dangerous as the unlawful countryside but in a far more subtle and deceitful manner. Though more French.
Moreso than in any other video game, which generally make their characters into broad archetypes, there are various characters that attempt to hold onto their morals and values at the cost of their honor and public image. Ramza especially, as the protagonist, makes several decisions that at first estranges him from his noble knight heritage and then brands him a heretical traitor and terrorist, all from following his moral compass and protecting his friends. His common-born childhood buddy Delita, however, goes from strength to strength by deftly manipulating events to his advantage, with complete disregard for the hurt he's causing. This sort of "noble hero fails" paradigm was used to great effect in Game of Thrones also, in the downfall of poor Eddard Stark, as well as being a persistent theme throughout. Neither Ivalice nor Westeros is a world where heroes prosper.
The game itself isn't too great, as it spreads itself too thin with a lackluster first-person RPG "adventure" mode and an interesting-but-underdeveloped war strategy sim, but it's as close as you're going to get to controlling your own faction in a Game of Thrones' overarching civil war, feuding against rivals and demons both.
So there's your best three bets for getting your virtual Game of Thrones on. Unless.. wait, there actually is a Game of Thrones game? Holy shit, why?
So.. do I just delete this thing then? Which button does that.. this one?