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A Taste of Cyanide

Two of the game designers from Cyanide's studio in Montreal flew down to New Mexico on Friday to give me a look at their GAME OF THRONES RTS game (that's Real Time Strategy, for those of you who don't speak Gaming), which is now done and will be rolling out Real Soon Now.

Now, I have to admit, I am far from being an expert on videogames. In fact, I've never played any of the current RTS games. My experience with videogaming was almost entirely with older, turn-based DOS strategy games like ROMANCE OF THE THREE KINGDOMS, PIRATES, MASTER OF ORION, RAILROAD TYCOON, and the like. And as you can probably tell from those titles, I stopped videogaming some years ago (not because I did not like it -- truth to tell, I liked it too much, and found that I was spending way too much time playing games on my computer when I should have been writing).

That being said... I thought what I saw looked really cool. And Ty, who DOES play a lot of videogames, seemed impressed as well. The gang at Cyanide (Montreal) have come up with some innovative features for this one, that should help make A GAME OF THRONES: GENESIS unlike any other RTS on the market at present. And fun to play as well, we hope... but that's a verdict that will need to come from the gamers out there.

Focus, our publisher, has opened an official website for GENESIS. Check it out:


(Just to be clear. This is the RTS game, designed and developed by Cyanide's studio in Montreal. A second videogame, an RPG, is also under development at Cyanide's studio in France, but that one won't be along for a while yet. The two games are very different, so please don't get them confused).

Anyway, I enjoyed having the crew from Cyanide down here, and liked what they had to show me. I hope you will as well.



Sep. 12th, 2011 01:44 am (UTC)
Comment from a Game Developer
I'm an avid fan of AGOT and a game developer myself. I don't normally comment on this stuff (although I do subscribe to your blog), but I've felt nervous about these games since they were announced, as have several other game industry folks I've talked to. The simple fact is that Cyanide is not known for quality software. In fact, they are more often associated with "shovel ware" budget titles, that is created on a strict budget and with a strict timeline, but is rarely fun and often very buggy. Their business model works for them, which is great, but it does NOT often yield a "good" game. Which is a shame, because this is such a rich property that it's going to be a real tragedy if either (or more likely - both) of these games winds up being sub-par. George - I hope that these games turn out to be great. I know I'll play them even though I have low expectations, but know that that is because of the IP, not because of the developers. I just hope that if my fears prove to be true that the poor sales and worse reviews don't scare you off from future QUALITY games with a new partner down the road.
Peter Goranov
Sep. 12th, 2011 11:26 am (UTC)
Re: Comment from a Game Developer
The cinematics are sub-par for today's standards and the promo trailer they've posted on their site has been done by an amateur in After Effects (the particles in the beginning and the rocks breaking at the end. Both are based on a tutorial, especially the rocks). I think you might have a point about quality. Let's hope that GRRM's setting will wash out the bad taste of a poorly made game, and if modding is allowed I'm sure the fans can finish the work (see Troika's TOEE and the Co8 mod, or all the great M2TW mods).

Speaking of Medieval 2: Total War, there is a Westeros mod in the makig there, and with the modding standards being so high for that community (Stainless Steel, TATW etc.) I'm expecting great things.

Mr. Martin I'd urge you to stay away from Medieval 2, it's a medieval strategy game to end all medieval strategy games, and it has eaten a lot of my hours. I think I must follow your example If I ever hope to write.
Sep. 12th, 2011 06:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Comment from a Game Developer
Sadly, have to share your concerns. Cyanide, for me, means two things. One is them being sued for breach of copyright when their Chaos League game was deemed to be too close to Games Workshops' Bloodbowl. And the second is their licensed Bloodbowl game. Great gameplay (but isn't that down to Games Workshop?), really poor UI, no real post-release involvement (the login screen for the online version is still announcing the release of the Legendary edition nearly a year later - and no mention of their current World Cup competition); and the killer for me - the appalling implementation of online play, where whatever they've implemented for peer-to-peer play means most people have to program their routers and still do a full reboot of PC and router to actually connect.

What's telling for me is that two to three weeks before the RTS is released, the first and only place I've heard about it is on notablog, despite being a gamer, having many GRRM-fan gamer friends, and having a "Game of Thrones" Google+ Spark.

All that said, and despite the seemingly poor graphics, I'll still buy it and at least play the single-player campaigns. (Hmm, there's another point - it's an 8-faction RTS game, and they've omitted Houses Frey and Greyjoy, yet include House Arryn, whose lords haven't left the Vale through six books...)
Patrick Mullen
Sep. 20th, 2011 03:59 pm (UTC)
Re: Comment from a Game Developer
I have heard about this game since it was first announced, but yes the media attention has been very minimal, and they really haven't said much about the game at all. Scary when it is about to come out.

About the houses, the game is a prequel set in the time of dragons, so they chose houses that had stuff to do then. I'm not well versed enough in westeros history to know if they were accurate, but this could explain the choices.


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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