We all know by now that the listing on Target for a Game of Thrones video game from Bethesda was faked as those URLs can be spoofed easily (Target should really fix that). But it did get me wondering; what if Bethesda did make a Game of Thrones game? Would they be the best developer for it? And my conclusion was always, no, they wouldn’t be. So what other big name developer could take on the challenge?
Obsidian Entertainment Co-Founder and CEO Feargus Urquhart recently revealed in an interview that the studio was offered the chance to develop a Game of Thrones game in 2005, years before the hit television show would propel it into the stratosphere, but they ended up turning it down. Though I am certainly interested to experience their take on the universe, I don’t think they would be the best for the job either.
Speaking entirely hypothetically because I know CD Projekt RED is busy with Cyberpunk 2077—not to mention the logistics of working on the Game of Thrones IP—they would be the best studio to develop it in my opinion, if you envision the Game of Thrones game of your dreams to be an open world RPG.
Much of the love for Game of Thrones comes from its characters, its lengthy dialogue, the politics, the scheming, its elaborate lore and tales that twist together. I hate to say it, though it’s kind of well-known, those aren’t Bethesda’s strong suits. Players have already joked that Bethesda made a Game of Thrones game with Skyrim, and if that’s what we would look forward to except with established characters, then I don’t want it. Bethesda creates vast worlds with rich history, but what happens in the moment always falls flat. Their narratives lack the depth and nuance that oozes from every second spent in The Witcher 3.
Not only is CD Projekt RED better suited for this sort of storytelling, the studio has already found success in adapting a novel series to video games. While A Song of Ice and Fire is undeniably more popular and recognizable than The Witcher books worldwide, and will therefore be subjected to higher scrutiny, CD Projekt RED crafted such an unforgettable and beautiful experience that I have no doubt they could do the same with Game of Thrones if given the chance.
A theoretical game wouldn’t even need to take place simultaneously with the books, following its timeline along with it. It doesn’t need to adapt them word for word. As evidenced by HBO’s desire for more Game of Thrones after it ends in the form of spinoffs, it’s clear that a story could be told from any number of eras within the universe. If this means that a video game would not have to blatantly contradict anything in the show or books because of a player’s decision, and in turn not be too restricted by them, it could be beneficial in the long run.
There are Game of Thrones video games out there—like the entirely forgettable and mediocre 2012 entry and the mostly successful Telltale series—but there isn’t one that fully encapsulates the feeling of being sucked into its world, with the freedom to go anywhere and leave your own mark on Westeros. Maybe a stellar Game of Thrones RPG just isn’t meant to be. But if one were ever to be made, I surely hope CD Projekt RED rises to the occasion.
What developer, big or small, would you like to see develop a video game based on Game of Thrones? And what does your dream Games of Thrones game look like? Let us know in the comments.