Why 2022 Is The Perfect Time For An Open-World Game Of Thrones

Why 2022 Is The Perfect Time For An Open-World Game Of Thrones
HBO | Telltale

Written by 

Tom Chapman

Published 

14th Feb 2022 17:05

The lure of the Seven Kingdom is just too much for some of us, with 2022 teasing the potential of a AAA Game of Thrones game. George R.R. Martin's fantasy epic may have divided critics when it bowed out on our screens in 2019, but there's a whole untapped kingdom (seven of them actually) that is more than worth exploring. 

As everything from Doctor Who to Star Wars gets a new lease of life on console and PC, the Seven Kingdoms have seemingly been shunned to the sidelines. In an era where we're getting a live-action Lord of the Rings series at Amazon, and Martin himself worked on Elden Ring, why are we sleeping on Game of Thrones? Thankfully, 2022 should remind us about the promise of the franchise thanks to House of the Dragon

Even though Martin is yet to release the final two books in his A Song of Ice and Fire saga, his carefully crafted world has thousands of years of history to explore. You might remember there was the canned Thrones spin-off called Bloodmoon, which was due to be set some 8,000 years before the events of the series. Importantly, a Game of Thrones game doesn't have to be related to Game of Thrones at all. It's just a good place to start. 

What We Need From A Seven Kingdoms Game?

Arya Stark Fight
Click to enlarge
HBO

Keeping it simple, you could adapt the core story of Thrones and even redeem THAT divisive ending. Although later seasons of HBO's show stumbled, Martin has promised his books will wildly deviate from what we saw in live-action. A video game where you get to see Lady Stoneheart, Victarion Greyjoy, and the unnerving jester called Patchface practically sells itself. Namely, it would just be great to see more of Arya going around Braavos as an assassin, the ability to ride dragons, and a proper Cleganebowl. 

Just like Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss only used the source material as a sometimes shaky blueprint, an open-world game can do the reverse and lean further into Martin's expansive world. The series admits it simply didn't have enough time to include everyone and everything, and although Martin pitched for a 10-season run, it bowed out after just eight. Even then, it would be hard to cram the entire saga into just one game. 

 

Elsewhere, forget Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen; let's go back even further and tackle a story from a different chapter of the Seven Kingdoms. Just like Amazon has breathed new life into the Lord of the Rings saga by tackling the prequel era, characters like Bran the Builder, Lann the Clever, and warrior queen Nymeria are ripe to leap off the page and into a new medium. Added to this, who wouldn't want to swing a sword at the Rat Cook, Nagga the Sea Dragon, and the Drowned God? 

Others Have Shown Us How It's Done

Elden Ring Pot Boy
Click to enlarge
FromSoftware

We'll admit that Martin's advancing years mean we're not even sure he'll finish the books, so maybe he shouldn't have spent his time writing Elden Ring's backstory. Still, it's given hope to the idea that the Seven Kingdoms could get a similar treatment to FromSoftware's fantasy epic. 

While the Souls series has put the developer on the map, Elden Ring is tipped to be its biggest venture yet and have some of the hardest bosses ever - we're sweating in advance. Fans already know Elden Ring has massive castles, mythical beasts, and dragons to slay, meaning it's not a million miles away from Westeros and its various wars. We're not saying FromSoftware take on a Thrones game, but just imagine that prospect and then insert Fry from Futurama saying, "Shut up and take my money!"

Despite there being plenty of Thrones-based games over the years, few have done it as well as Telltale's Game of Thrones from 2014. Running concurrently to the series, you played as members of House Forrester and had to make a variety of different decisions. Even if it was praised for its character development, a planned second season was put on ice in 2017. Elsewhere, Cyanide's 2012 Game of Thrones tried to do the same - running alongside Season 1 with the story of two new creations. Both had a strong story but were let down by their graphics, so you can only imagine what they'd look like in 2022. 

Is The Story Too Big To Adapt?

Hogwarts Legacy Trailer
Click to enlarge
Avalanche Software

The problem is, even Martin himself probably struggles to keep track of who is who and what is where. It wouldn't be as simple as slapping the name Game of Thrones on a title and shipping it. As mentioned above, the wider world has far more potential than the Lannisters trying to keep Dany off the Iron Throne. Interestingly, there's already a solution to this. 

Although it's been delayed, there's a lot of promise in Avalanche Software's Hogwarts Legacy - which is set in an equally wide world and also serves as a prequel to The Boy Who Lived. Remembering that Hogwarts Legacy is largely sticking to a single locale, a Game of Thrones title would be wise to do the same. King's Landing would be an easy sell considering it's arguably the hub of the franchise.

It's a truly daunting task to try and cram eight seasons (and even more canon) into just one video game. As the LEGO Star Wars games have proved, it's sometimes better to tackle things episodically. Thankfully, telling a brand-new tale doesn't wedge writers and developers in such a tight corner. Speaking of the galaxy far, far away, all eyes are on Quantic Dream's upcoming Star Wars Eclipse and the fact it will explore the untapped High Republic era.

Even if the Naomi Watts-led Bloodmoon was given the boot, a big developer would be wise to swoop in and scoop up the pieces for an open-world Thrones game. A lot rides on House of the Dragon, and if the series can relight the fires beneath the franchise, expect the Seven Kingdoms to be back on the map in a big way. We might be giving the Thronesverse the cold shoulder right now, but trust us, the White Walkers are only just thawing. 

 

Tom is Trending News Editor at GGRecon, with an NCTJ qualification in Broadcast Journalism and over seven years of experience writing about film, gaming, and television. With bylines at IGN, Digital Spy, Den of Geek, and more, Tom’s love of horror means he's well-versed in all things Resident Evil, with aspirations to be the next Chris Redfield.

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