Saturday, 14 February 2015

Telltalle's Game of Thrones - Episode 1 Review

Telltale’s Game of Thrones is an episodic adventure game new for 2015, based on the TV Show and Books of the same name.

Firstly, Telltale don’t make choose-your-own adventures; they make interactive stories. You shape the story, and shape how it plays out, but the story is theirs. This one is set after the end of Season 3 of the TV Show, and is said to go up to the end of Season 5.

Being granted the Game of Thrones licence was a huge scoop. It’s a massive world, prime for storytelling, about the harshness of life and the inherent cruelty of power. But it’s also a story of heroes and swords and people trying to do the right thing.

Telltale’s story follows the (newly created) House Forrester, a family in the North who own the valuable Ironwood forest. Their wood is coveted, and they are running very short of friends. Despite playing as multiple members of House Forrester (including the Lord of The Family himself) and making major decisions at crucial moments, this story is about the sacrifices required by, and danger inherent to the lives of every Forrester.

A major theme of Game of Thrones is how everybody is powerless to someone else. King Joffrey is a maniac, he rips out people’s tongues and has men executed because he doesn’t like the look of them, but he get sent to bed early by his grandfather. Dany is the Mother of Dragons, she’s set herself up as the Queen of Meereen and leads an army of freed slaves, but she can’t keep the slave-fighting pits closed and she still only human against a handsome sellsword like Daario. Knights serve lords who serve their liege-lords, their lives in the hand of the whims of others, and nobody is safe.

Everyone in Westeros bows to someone else. But they all wield the small powers they do have arbitrarily and to the suffering of others. Jon Snow chooses who will die defending the gate under the wall. Tyrion and Ned both ruined lives of nameless and inconsequential smallfolk with decisions they made as Hand. Tywin is a monsterous and cruel man – remember why Oberyn was so pissed off? "You raped her! You murdered her! You killed her children!"