Over the past few months, Game of Thrones has been taking up a lot of my head-space. I’ve rewatched all the past seasons, watched tons of theory videos, and have been talking about it like crazy with anyone that will listen. Although it’s hard to admit, the Game of Thrones television series will be over in a short couple of weeks and the journey of our beloved (and not so beloved) characters will come to an end. But if you’ve got more than a peanut in your head, you know that the Game of Thrones franchise isn’t going to go anywhere, anytime soon. They already have multiple spin-offs planned, there are so many different board games based off the series, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are somehow trying to make a movie based in the Game of Thrones world. But what about video games? Yes, there have been Game of Thrones video games, but they haven’t exactly been anything triple A worthy. Yes, the Telltale game was pretty good, but since the company folded the story is left on a huge cliffhanger that will never get resolved, and Game of Thrones Conquest is just another tie-in mobile game. Where are the Game of Thrones RPG’s? How has no one gotten the licence to make this yet? The Game of Thrones season 8 premier was watched by over 19 million people, I’m going to guess that a lot of that demographic also plays video games and would be really excited to buy a Game of Thrones RPG.
Just thinking of the possibilities is incredibly fun. I don’t think a Game of Thrones RPG should have a class system, but a race system like in Skyrim would be cool. But instead of race, it’s whatever kingdom/territory your character is from, or whatever great house you’re pledged to. If you’re pledged to house Stark, maybe the cold doesn’t affect you, people trust you more, and you’re a good hunter. If you’re pledged to house Lannister, you start off with a lot of money, you don’t have a lot of utility skills because you’ve used money all your life to get things, but you’re good at bartering. If pledged to house Arryn, you could be good at fighting in the mountains, have extra stamina, and be able to carry extra weight. I think this kind of system would be perfect for Game of Thrones, as it would mean that people aren’t always picking the typical “good guys” and always going with the Starks. I think the story should stay away from the plot of the shows, that way they don’t have to use the actors or their likeness, and people won’t get tired of a story that they already know. Even if it was during Robert’s Rebellion, or even further back in time, it would be really cool! The game should definitely be confined to Westeros as having Essos as well would just be like adding in a whole other game. Plus, Essos is mostly desert and would be kind of boring to explore or could maybe be DLC at a later date.
So who would have the resources and money to make this game? I think Square Enix would not be a good choice. They don’t know how to do open world games that actually have things to do in them, as shown by Final Fantasy 15. Plus they take way too long to develop their games (Final Fantasy 15, Kingdom Hearts 3, Final Fantasy 7 Remake), so they probably have enough on their plates. Although like mentioned above, this hypothetical Game of Thrones game does sound a lot like Skyrim, I think Bethesda would be a really bad choice for this game. They are still using the same engine they have been for years, Skyrim is a fun game but really lacks good storytelling and writing and maybe they should just focus on getting their own games out and rebuilding some trust in the community. The only clear option is for a studio like CD Projekt Red to make this Game of Thrones game. They have the resources to take on such a huge title, they’re great at making a living world with video games, their open world games actually have things to do in them and the side-quests feel meaningful. Maybe having an evolved form of the Witcher 3’s combat? Oh baby.
To answer the original question, the real reason that a game like this hasn’t happened is probably just licensing issues. At the end of the day, it comes down to who owns the rights to the property, who has the money to buy and keep the rights, and if companies that already own the rights are willing to give other companies permission. Making a video game takes a lot of money and time, and I’m guessing developers have to pitch the idea to whoever owns the rights, and pulling off a massive RPG is incredibly hard. It’s no simple task and the developers need the resources in order for investors and the copyright holders to have confidence in giving out their properties. Do I think it will happen one day? More than likely. I just think it’s a big task that needs to be taken on by the right people to be good. Licensed games don’t always have a bad rep, and franchises that seem ripe for great RPG’s (like The Lord of the Rings) often get games that aren’t in the RPG genre. Until then, we have a few more episodes left of Season 8 until our watch has ended.