Will you live or die by the sword? George R. R. Martin's epic fantasy series awaits on PS3 to test your courage...
No one is safe in Game of Thrones - especially you. Whether it's through the pages of the critically acclaimed novels, A Song of Ice and Fire, or on the screen in the hit TV adaptation, George R. R. Martin's popular fantasy series plunges you into a world where death stalks everybody equally.
It can come from the icy grip of political sabotage or the burning heat of magic - either way, servants and kings become food for worms in the blink of an eye. And it's this sense of ever-present danger you have to overcome when you play Game of Thrones on PlayStation 3. As the tag line says: "you win... or you die."
Choices and consequences
Developed by Cyanide Studios, Game of Thrones is a role-playing game which takes Martin's incredible fantasy world and wraps you within its deadly embrace. Faced with a story which spans five published books (and at least two more in the works), the first challenge the France based development team faced was where to place the player in this huge tale.
"We wanted to create an original story," says lead game designer Sylvain Sechi. "That was important to us. People were asking if you get to play as certain characters, but this would be a bad idea. Apart from the fact that you're interfering with the narrative, we want to surprise you, so you don't know the end of the story when you finish the game."
Working closely with Martin, Cyanide created a story which runs alongside the events of the first novel. This allowed the developer to pen an entirely new plot line which delivers a fresh experience to fans of the series yet still packs in familiar themes and storytelling. And most importantly, it benefits the gameplay. "This allowed us the freedom of giving the player choices... and consequences to their choices," explains Sechi.
Two games at a time
Created before the hit HBO TV series, this new story - and your entry to it - is through the eyes of two characters. Mors Westford, a veteran ranger of the military order the Night's Watch, and Alester Sarwyck a priest of R'hllor, are as different as fire and ice. Yet they share common goals which will eventually result in them crossing paths in the adventure.
In the creation of Mors and Alester, Cyanide has focused on one of the most important aspects of role-playing games - customisation. From the start you can select the attributes of your characters, personalising anything from their ability to loot gold from defeated foes, to bargaining with others in conversation. With different skill sets, classes and a variety of ways to level up your character, your choices make Mors and Alester distinct from your friends' versions.
Another vital element to the game is dialogue, and as any Game of Thrones fan knows, words in this fantasy world often cut almost as deep as a sword. "We spent a lot of time developing a dialogue system that was cinematic and able to convey emotion," says Sechi, and the result of this hard work is clear. When striking up a conversation, you can choose your character's reply from a variety of sentences - some are harsh while others are more positive, however each response moves the conversation and the story forward immediately with no backtracking, so choose your words wisely. After all, they may come back to haunt you later in the game...
Take your place on the throne
With its strong emphasis on story, politics and character interaction, Game of Thrones has plenty for any fan of the books and TV series. While nothing is black and white in this murky world of swords and cynicism, one thing is certain - you'll need both brain and brawn to survive.
Thanks to Cyanide Studios' dedication to create a game with a wealth of weapons, different play styles (including the ability to sneak around as Mors' dog using his skinchanger ability) and smart use of dialogue, you may have a fighting chance. Just remember the series' classic quote: "you win or you die" - and that should be all the incentive you need. "We wanted to create a game for fans of the series," smiles Sechi. "I think we've succeeded."
Ready to play the Game? Take your oaths and steel yourself - you can buy Game of Thrones on PlayStation 3 now.
Check out PlayStation 4 at the PlayStation E3 press conference on 10 June 2013.