Game of Thrones the RPG
This post contains Spoilers from the HBO Series, The Game of Thrones. Read at your own risk.
I was originally hesitant about watching the Game of Thrones series on HBO. I am one to always read the novels before I watch the movie or show because I love to compare the two and see which I like better. However, upon countless recommendations from friends and family I decided to give this show a whirl one lonely Saturday afternoon. I was not expecting this show to knock my socks off or quickly become one of my favorites. But after viewing ten straight episodes in one sitting, let’s just say I was hooked!
What I like most about this show is the intense over-the-top story line. I love knights, kings, queens, stories of love and betrayal, friendship and loss, weird nocturnal zombie type people, and strange politics. Needless to say, this show has all that and more. Not only is this one of the best shows on television since LOST and Battlestar Galactica, if George R. R. Martin keeps dishing out the novels, I believe this show is going to have a long and fascinating shelf life.
After watching all ten episodes back to back, I started to ponder about how this show reminds me of a few RPG’s that I have recently played. This got me thinking; wouldn’t it be awesome if this show was a role-playing game? Here’s my analysis of why I think this show would make an epic action/fantasy RPG.
1) Basic RPG Elements. This show already has the basic elements of a classic RPG. The opening credits alone should remind you of a large open world map on Fable, Oblivion, or Dragon Age. As the screen pans around the vast countryside you can see the beautifully colored landscapes and imagine riding a horse from (and if you did it in Red Dead Redemptions then not so well) kingdom to kingdom. And upon arrival, waiting on the loading screen with some important tip about the land, people, or fighting, to let you in to the new area. Imagine in the opening cinematic someone was being attacked by the supernatural “White Walkers”. Sounds awesome right?
2) Characterization. Character development is one of the most essential elements of an RPG. Gamers want to feel that they are the character and every action they make will have a favorable (good) or renegade (evil) effect on the people they interact with throughout the game. Maybe it’s just me, but the whole time I was watching the show I could feel myself yelling at the characters for the decisions they were making and thinking how I would proceed if the choice was in my hands.
Think back to your journey through Mass Effect 2. Do you remember gathering you team and assembling a group of intelligent/skillful individuals to take down the Collectors? Can you not see the events of Game of Thrones unfolding in this same manner as the Starks gather an alliance to take down the evil incestuous Lannisters? I can, and I am looking forward to reading and/or seeing it play out. And what’s a fantasy RPG without unusually hard to spell names with a heavy use on the consonants and/or e’s? Yup, GoT has those too.
RPG’s are also loaded down with estranged family members, friends who become enemies and enemies who join the alliance. We have already seen in the first ten episodes that there are estranged/unrecognized children of a couple of the characters floating all over the place. I am not sure what that means for the rest of the series, but we were not given these tidbits of information to hold on to them lightly. And more often than not these characters play an important role in either the big heroic end battle or in determining who will live and who will die.
3) Supernatural Elements. In any RPG there is typically some sort of supernatural entities that the main characters are trying to eliminate or battle their way through to get to some huge plot-point goal. Whether it is the Darkspawn in Dragon Age or the infinite amount of creatures in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. The mysterious “White Walkers” in Game of Thrones are like any other creature that one must battle to stay alive in an RPG: they have an unexplainable/mystical existence and they are always there as a constant obstacle to stand in the way of your main objective, threatening to take you down and deter you from your mission. I am not totally on board with saying the “White Walkers” are zombies, but they are certainly not of this world and would make for an excellent opponent in the shows to come.
4) Great Acts of Betrayal. Way back when I was playing Dragon Age: Origins, I remember the one act of betrayal that caught me so off guard I was stunned. I don’t think anyone, well maybe just me, was expecting Loghain to betray King Cailan and the Grey Wardens at Ostagar. When he turned his back on those he was sworn to help, I was crushed because as we all know almost everyone was wiped out except for a few who managed to escape. Already in GoT there has been a great act of betrayal against one of our main characters. Lord Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish committed an unforeseen act of betrayal against our beloved main character Ned Stark. It pained me to see this happen to Ned because I knew exactly where it was heading, death. With all the alliances shifting its hard to say who will truly become the villains and who will succeed at being the heroes in this show.
5) Kingdoms and Races. Whats a great story game without unconventional kingdoms/rulers or races? I can’t think of a single action/adventure/fantasy role-playing game that I have played that didn’t have unusual characters, races and classes. Mass Effect 2 is one of my favorites because of the vast amount of races that you come in contact with throughout the game. From the all female ruling society of Asari to the reptilian humanoid creatures called the Drell. Each race brings something different to the table, sometimes it can be magical abilities and others its great intellect. As we have seen, Game of Thrones is no different, if you take a look at the characters you can see that each race is its own entity with extreme cultural practices and governing bodies. My favorite of the lot was definitely the Khalasar. Their fierce fighting skills and brutal customs made them a very interesting race of people.
All in all this show is a major hit in my book. I don’t know if it was the gamer in me that forced me to compare it to my favorite role-playing games or the fantasy book junkie in me that wants to see this made in to a game like the Lord of the Rings. Either way I hope someone is thinking about it because I for one wouldn’t mind spending sixty bucks to play as Ned Stark or my favorite little misfit girl Arya.
Hope you enjoyed the post; comments are always welcome from gamers and readers alike!