Telltale Games is an independent game developer that specializes in episodic, point-and-click adventure games with strong RPG elements, best known for their highly acclaimed adaptation of AMC’s The Walking Dead. After falling in love with Telltale’s Walking Dead: Season 1, having mixed feelings toward The Wolf Among Us, and completely hating Walking Dead: Season 2, I had begun to lose all hope in the developer's ability to create powerful character-driven plot. I had written Telltale off as a one-hit wonder that could never live up to the horror and heartbreak they created in the chilling and exhilarating story of Lee and Clementine(Walking Dead: Season 1). That was until I played the first episode of their new series Game of Thrones.
Telltale's Game of Thrones is everything fans of George R.R. Martin's novels and the acclaimed HBO television series are looking for in a video game adaptation. Interestingly, the story does not alter plots already established in the series, but rather shows a different perspective from events that have already taken place and the ramifications of the war between The Starks and The Lannisters on other noble houses in the world of the story.
The game begins on the night of The Red Wedding, an event fans of the show will be well aware of and affected by. The game is centered around events following House Forrester, noble bannermen to The Starks, a house never mentioned in the novels, nor the television show. What was lacking in Atlus' highly criticized release of their own Game of Thrones adaption, was the appearance of prominent characters from the show and their roles within the game. In this aspect, Telltale goes above and beyond with appearances by: Cersei, Tyrion, Lady Marjorie, Ramsay Snow, and Jon Snow all within the first 2 episodes. What may be most interesting for fans, is that all of the aforementioned characters are voiced by the actors who play them in the series.
Just as is expected from Game of Thrones, each and every scene is filled with tension, treachery and tragedy. With that in mind, the Game of Thrones world is the perfect world for the mechanics of Telltale's episodic point-and-click adventures, where each and every decision the player makes affects which characters live and die. Instead of cowering and crying when your favourite character is killed, this time you get to decide who lives and who dies (for the most part). More than ever before in any Telltale game, your decisions affect the outcome. Your choices matter.
What amazed me most was the power of the story and the brilliant pace of the plot. I wouldn't have been surprised if Martin wrote the story for the games himself, nor was I surprised when it was released that Martin's personal assistant was a story consultant for the game. For gamers who have watched The Walking Dead and wished they could experience that apocalyptic world, Telltale made that dream come true. While time will tell whether they completely fulfill that same dream for Game of Thrones fans, they're certainly off to a powerful and promising start.