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Game of Thrones MMORPG

Yes, Virginia, it's true... there is going to be a GAME OF THRONES MMORPG. And that's in addition to the two previously announced videogames from Cyanide, the real-time strategy game GENESIS and the forthcoming Cyanide RPG.

The upcoming Game of Thrones MMORPG is currently being developed by BigPoint (http://www.bigpoint.com/) in collaboration with HBO. BigPoint is already one of the premier developers of online games, including Battlestar Galactica Online, and Lord of Ultima. Now, in partnership with HBO, and based on their award winning television series, BigPoint is working on a Massively Multiplayer Online version of Game of Thrones.

Venture Beat (http://venturebeat.com/2012/02/29/bigpoint-unveils-game-of-thrones-online-game-based-on-hbo-series-exclusive/) got an early look at the game, including a few screenshots and some discussion about the focus of game play, noting that both combat and politics will be vital to the players success.

To sign up for updates on the game, go to their official Game of Thrones website (http://gameofthronesmmo.com/).


Mar. 2nd, 2012 12:32 am (UTC)
Oh-oh... a GoT game that isn't from Cyanide (Genesis was a huge disappointment)... I foresee many late nights.

One question, George - part of the problem with the Cyanide RTS game was that apparently (according to them on the game forum) you wouldn't let them put in major characters from the ASOIAF books as you didn't want them "killed". This led to a flavourless game where the "Great Lord" of House X would marry a "Lady" who would give birth to an "Heir" - all of them unnamed. As a result we got to play, at best, in a pre-ASOIAF Westeros with some of the Houses, and couldn't get a War of Five Kings map or scenario.

Will you lift this restriction for the MMO so we can play in the Westeros of the time of the books?
Mar. 2nd, 2012 12:44 am (UTC)
I don't recall any such prohibition.

The Cyanide RPG includes characters from the books, although they are NPCs, not playable characters.
Elliot Alexander
Mar. 2nd, 2012 01:16 am (UTC)
This is great news. I am looking forward to this.
Mar. 2nd, 2012 01:04 am (UTC)
Game Developers
While I think it's great that you want to share your world with us gamers...it's unfortunate that the games aren't being developed by a AAA PC game developer that is well known in the industry.

For example Bethesda Game Studios, the makers of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim would be able to provide the ultimate emmersive gaming platform for the world of Ice & Fire. You should take a look at it yourself...don't limit yourself to touched up photoshoped images and marketing people...actually get a PC or game Console and load it up and look. Bethesda's technology is so realistic that sometimes...it's more real than real.

Another game studio is Eidos...their recent release of Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a significant AAA title. They also make such hits like Batman: Arkham Asylum, and now working on a new Tomb Raider and Thief game which are forcast to be epic successes.

To be honest, as someone who plays about 40 hours of games each week, I'd rather read one of your books than play a B game even if it's set in the world of Ice & Fire. Sorry, but I just want to be honest in the hope that you will change your tack and license your product to a developer that will make an outstanding game and not just a mediocre game set in your Ice & Fire universe.
Mar. 2nd, 2012 02:04 am (UTC)
Re: Game Developers
"... change my tack...?"

That's not how the business works.

You can only dance with them what ask ya.
Mar. 2nd, 2012 03:30 am (UTC)
Re: Game Developers
Very disappointed in the selection of Bigpoint.

They make browser games, which are flatly inferior to traditional client-based console and PC games in every conceivable way (despite how the marketing types try to spin it).

When you also consider the fact that Bigpoint is reviled in the gamer community for its $1000 cash shop items and its reputation for churning out assembly line products that bear little in the way of originality or craftsmanship, it's just a real shame that they are allowed anywhere near an IP of the quality of ASOIAF.

This is not a dig at you, Mr. Martin, I'm sure you have licensing people looking out for your interests on things like this. But I'm sorry to say that they've failed you rather spectacularly in this case. I work in the game industry and I've had numerous dealings with Bigpoint, and they are the absolute last company I would ever want associated with such a wonderful universe.
Mar. 2nd, 2012 09:46 am (UTC)
Re: Game Developers
While I would love nothing more than to log into Westeros and stroll among the weirwoods with my fellow ASOIAF fans, it is devastatingly disappointing to hear that Bigpoint is the one responsible for bringing Westeros and the Lands across the Narrow Sea alive for two reasons:

1 - Bigpoint is hated in the gaming community for ruining Battlestar Galactica and exploiting the playerbase through highly priced microtransactions, some of which were upwards of $1000, as 'a greyjoy' says.
2 - It's a bloody, godsforsaken browser game which is a cheap, inferior way to experience Westeros

Mr. Martin, please understand that an MMO isn't just another chance to play a video game of ASOIAF. An MMO presents a rare opportunity to experience Westeros as a virtual world; a dream come true for many of your dedicated readers. And now this chance has been handed over to a company with a dark reputation for not having the players or the fans' best interests at heart.
Erdrick Draakverskrikker
Mar. 3rd, 2012 04:17 am (UTC)
Re: Game Developers
I have to agree. As a long time gamer (since I was 3, I'm now 24) of 'modern' games (consoles and PC), with a World of Warcraft account that has been around since Beta (what was that, 5, 6 years ago? More now?), I was at first excited when I saw that there's going to be an ASoIaF MMO. Then I read the rest. Sad day.
Bigpoint is awful. As you said, you don't have a choice in who offers to make your games for you. You do however have a choice in accepting them as your company to use. In this case, even more so than in the case of Cyanide with the RPG and RTS, you made the wrong choice. Terry Goodkind was offered the chance to see his stories made into a TV show, he too made the wrong choice, and look how it turned out. Rather like the Legend of Zelda games made for CD-i. No one wants to admit they're related. It's best just to sweep these things under the carpet and forget about them, if at all possible.
" BigPoint is already one of the premier developers of online games, including Battlestar Galactica Online, and Lord of Ultima."
If you're announcing it, it's likely too late to do anything about. But...
I don't know... If they already have the license, I don't really see any hope for there ever being a decent ASoIaF MMO any time in the next decade or two, at least.
Just, please, if there ever comes another time that you're thinking about having another game made, send out the call for help from video gamers in finding an organization to make your game. People who spend a lot of time playing games. I'd say 15-20 people, willing to swear themselves to secrecy if need be (until you release the announcement, at any rate), and they should be able to reach a common consensus on which companies will do a legitimately good job.
Mar. 2nd, 2012 02:08 am (UTC)
Re: Game Developers
Yes, but an MMO is a different kind of beast from a lot of other games. A lot of big studios simply aren't going to be interested in taking on that sort of a long-term investment that would take away from their pre-existing titles... New MMOs tend to have limited periods of initial success, but then need to be continually maintained even if they are no longer have expansive player bases.
Mar. 2nd, 2012 02:28 pm (UTC)
Re: Game Developers
Yeah, that's true, and I'm not saying that I wish one of the mega-studios had picked up this game. I don't think the license translates into an MMO very well regardless of who the developer is, particularly given the reductionist approach to virtual world design that many current MMO makers employ. That said, there are dozens of better choices than Bigpoint (and the IP deserves a real MMORPG rather than a browser knock-off).

The Unity engine cannot do what you can do on a PC or console, and so this game is going to be a very shallow interpretation of what an MMO really is (a virtual world with myriad gameplay choices and high levels of immersion). Log into Bigpoint's The Mummy Online for an example.

Simplistic combat, dated visuals, and no gameplay other than repetitive whacking on AI mobs or other players with your sword. Very little crafting/tradeskilling, no player-driven economy, and most damningly for something supposedly based on ASOIAF, no politics or meaningful consequences of any kind.

It will probably make HBO a lot of money (and hopefully a lot for Mr. Martin), but otherwise it's a very sad turn of events for serious fans of this franchise and serious MMO fans/gamers.
Mar. 2nd, 2012 05:55 am (UTC)
Re: Game Developers
Bethesda was actually offered the Song of Ice and Fire license, when they were in the beginning of making Skyrim. They chose to go with their own IP instead. It was of course a hard decision, but they've got press releases about this you can find.

George has not been a gamer since the early 90s or so. He can't really be blamed for not being keen on the latest gaming tech and quality.

You'd be surprised how many AAA companies turned down awesome licenses in favor of their own IPs.
Jesse Willard
Mar. 2nd, 2012 11:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Game Developers
I've heard that Bioware was thinking about Westeros for their MMO if the Star Wars thing didn't work out. It's probably better for me that it didn't. Not sure my family or career could take a seriously good Westeros MMO.
Sren Aske Hjorth
Mar. 2nd, 2012 01:09 am (UTC)
Really? An MMO?
Wow... this has some amazing potential, although, I'm a bit leery of how the spirit of Westeros can be captured in the MMO-playstyle, as most of these tend to focus on levelling and end-game content, with an infinite respawn-rate.
Apply this to the ruthless arena of Westerosi politics and the swift and often brutal end the characters meet on the battlefield
(or off, for that matter). It's a clash of "Everyone CAN die" to "Nobody dies EVER!"

Colour me skeptic until we see more, but who knows, maybe they'll actually pull it of.
Cintia Faria
Mar. 2nd, 2012 02:40 am (UTC)
Oh, goodbye life !

Welcome game !
Mar. 2nd, 2012 03:06 am (UTC)
That sounds great. Of course, immediately my mind goes to the College Humor version of a Game of Thrones video game.
Mar. 2nd, 2012 04:10 am (UTC)
YAY!!! :) And I just got unaddicted from World of Warcraft.
Greg White
Mar. 2nd, 2012 05:01 am (UTC)
Very sad to hear you are allowing BigPoint to produce this game. Having played BSGO for about a year now, it is by far one of the worst produced games I have ever seen. I hope they do not royally screw this one up.
Mar. 2nd, 2012 11:52 am (UTC)
If it's so bad, why play it for a year?
Greg White
Mar. 3rd, 2012 02:59 am (UTC)
I was waiting for SWTOR to launch.
Mar. 2nd, 2012 05:24 am (UTC)
I have high hopes... but...
I have high hopes for the MMO, but I am wary of disappointment. I had high hopes Ned Stark escaping the den of Vipers that is King's landing. See where hope gets you?

an MMO needs a good subscriber base to be viable, so a sub par outing will be under populated.

the new Star Wars: The Old Republic, has an estimated budged of 10 times more than the entire first season of HBOs Game of Thrones adaptation.

I can't see Big Point "Khal Pono-ing" up that kind of cash. I am so sorry for the bad pun, really.

This is partnership with HBO? Did they have the final say in this?

You made the best decision by waiting for HBO to be on board to develop the books into a screen adaptation. HBO is the #1 premier cable channel and very well respected. Game studios should be chosen the same way. It takes two dance, Yes, but sometimes you have to wait for the right dance partner (sorry to sound like the Captain America movie).

Well, regardless, fingers crossed. I will get around to playing Genesis since it is fairly cheap, and the RPG probably as well since it is coming for the 360. But my highest hopes are for the MMO.

Mar. 2nd, 2012 06:13 am (UTC)
Re: I have high hopes... but...
The moment I signed my deal with HBO, all subsidiary and merchandising rights not already under license passed to them.

This is pretty much standard procedure in television and film.

I reserved all publication rights, of course, and those deals already in place (Dark Sword, Fantasy FLight, Green Ronin, Valyrian Steel, Valyrian Resin, Cyanide, etc) were grandfathered in.
Mar. 2nd, 2012 06:30 pm (UTC)
Re: I have high hopes... but...
So the choice of Big Point is HBO's? I can't think of any of their other shows spawning a video game... so I guess it is no surprise.
I am not saying the game will suck. In fact, I hope it is awesome. I just have concerns. I had such high hopes when I read the subject line, I thought it would have something to do with the post last year that George had visited Bungie's studio. Imagine a Bungie made MMO based off of The Song of Ice and Fire / HBOs A Game of Thrones. That would be epic. My excitement died when I got to the second letter of the name of the actual game developer (bigpoint and Bungie obviously both start with a "b"). There is still a lot of speculation Bungie is working on a Game of Thrones game... but with an RPG, RTS and now a MMO already announced by other studios, what genre is left for Bungie? You can't do a FPS with a medieval setting.
Mar. 2nd, 2012 06:40 pm (UTC)
Re: I have high hopes... but...
I loved the Bungie people, and a lot of them were big fans of my books. Ty and I enjoyed the hell out of our visit to their studio. However, Bungie is devoting all their considerable talents to games based on their own IPs; they are not interested in licensing dealsm they want to focus on worlds and scenarios they own.
Bryan Mannion
Mar. 2nd, 2012 05:56 am (UTC)
I've been following your blog for about 6 years now, and have never before posted. Being a video game developer, I am extremely disappointed in this choice. The games this company pump out are scams. They lure you in, claiming the game is "free to play." That's a lie. The games are free to lose, pay to win. It's sad seeing your masterpiece be turned into a cash cow and milked for all it's worth. The world you created had potential to be something truly great in the virtual universe. (They will generate a large profit though since they recycle the same code and mechanics.)

That being said, you are a true hero to me, and one day I hope to create a world I love half as much as the one you've given me.
Mar. 2nd, 2012 11:56 am (UTC)
Re: George...
Bryan, as a fellow game dev you must know that this type of business model is sadly one of the only ones that is profitable these days, with retail tanking and players not wanting to pay fixed subscriptions. Yes, people who pay more will get more out of the experience, but it can be done in a way that isn't "pay to win".
Mar. 2nd, 2012 06:19 am (UTC)
Congrats, George! I hope the developers manage to find a way to incorporate the myriad themes of the stories into a format that bazillions of players can enjoy equally.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 2nd, 2012 09:55 pm (UTC)
Re: I am a realist. This game will fail unfortunately.
As long as theirs an incest option, I want to play.
Mar. 2nd, 2012 03:22 pm (UTC)
Hmmm, that doesn't read like Mr. Martin's writing style. Perhaps this is a new Perspective Character?

My theory is that the new perspective character is named "marketing language guy"
Mar. 2nd, 2012 03:35 pm (UTC)
Patience: in the world of MMORPGs this game will quickly be in the top five.
Aaron Baker
Mar. 2nd, 2012 06:24 pm (UTC)
The funny thing is how Game of Thrones has involuntarily affected gaming. We may not get to see a AAA title with the GOT label on it but we can't ignore that there is a shadow of GRRM's work in a good number of RPG games that have been released. In fact, the creators of Dragon Age: origins have openly admitted to taking inspiration from Martins work.

I personally never read Martins books for the combat or action and there is a deeper emotion to the novels that video games would have trouble implementing

Edited at 2012-03-03 08:12 pm (UTC)
Mar. 2nd, 2012 06:28 pm (UTC)
Aaaaand there goes my life.
Mar. 2nd, 2012 11:48 pm (UTC)
Don't know if you can smell it from where you are, but I just crapped my pants reading this. This is excellent news. Can't wait to spend countless more hours of my life immersed in your world, George.

My wife is probably going to be mad at you though, just a heads up.
Mar. 4th, 2012 05:15 am (UTC)
I can't wait! It looks awesome :) I am pre-ordering on Amazon to get the RPG book art.
Mar. 4th, 2012 06:41 am (UTC)
A game type I would love to see.
An ancient Chinese epic on a grand scale to match A song of Ice and Fire is the Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong. This work of fiction is 600 years old and based on a historical peroid over 1800 years ago. It features political intrigue, dynastic manipulations, epic battles and duels between both great warriors and great strategists. The game company Koei has been mining it for 20 years now with a couple different series of games, the very popular (but inferior IMHO) Dynasty Warriors, and the more Niche (but amazing) Romance of the Three Kingdoms which is spawning its 12th game soon. Koei has done similar things with other historical periods, such as Fuedal Japan, the world conquest of Genghis Khan and the American Revolution. There is even one based on a fictional setting called Gem Fire. My point is, the game play of Romance of the Three Kingdoms would be well adapted to A Song of Ice and Fire. I wonder if it will ever happen.
Mar. 4th, 2012 09:15 pm (UTC)
I've beta tested many MMOs. I've seen Turbine do a poor job promoting a decent attempt at Middle Earth and never gain the mass appeal from a Lord of the Rings title, NCSoft flop trying to use Richard Garriot's name, Funcom drop the axe and cut off their own feet with Age of Conan, Bigpoint exploit BSG's popularity rolling out a narrowly scoped game and Bioware/EA release a bug ridden, unbalanced game with huge potential in SWTOR.

Hopefully they will take the time necessary to produce a decent entry into an already crowded field. The question that I have is do they have the resources and the talent to do that? My initial feeling is that they will George's and HBO's GoT popularity to take in a quick buck.
Mar. 7th, 2012 10:16 pm (UTC)
I had hoped for a better mmorpg than what Bigpoint (ugh) is doing... "a browser-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game." Big-time suck. Oh well.
James Cox
Mar. 11th, 2012 12:09 am (UTC)
GRRM Franchise
Its ironic with your views on intellectual property that you are not a little more discerning with who you let create for your world, and the lack of any kind of quality control you impose on them. Particularly in games.

The Fantasy Flight products are all brilliant. And from what I have read, (correct me if I am wrong) you provided input throughout the creation process). I own a first edition of the Game of Thrones board game. And it is still a favored one to break out.

What happened with the video game adaptions? Because Genesis was a mess. and I don't hold out much hope for the RPG or the MMO. Honestly, you need to grab these guys by the neck George, and tell them to stop trying for a quick buck on your reputation.
Fox Nemhauser
Mar. 12th, 2012 01:44 pm (UTC)
i love the asoiaf books, i love the got tv-series and i love mmorpgs.

those three combined into one would be a dream come true, right?

sadly - no, i don't have high hopes for this product.

judging by the existing creations of that developer and the route they are taking - it will be just another generic mmo on a generic and dated engine with a cash shop on top that will only share some basic names with the world we love.


so, i'm again left with my imagination on how a truly epic asoiaf mmorpg would look like.

coincidently, that's something i like to do while traveling or during a nap time.

1) there are seven factions based on the seven kingdoms
2) when a player starts a character he can choose to play
a) as a "loner" - so he would be most likely a mercenary/sellsword/assasin and the gameplay would be mostly similar to current fantasy mmorgp hack/slash

b) or start a small House that would be loyal to one of the known Houses from those that are loyal to the main seven houses.

3) there is no leveling in this game, there is no typical gear grind progression in this game

4) but your character ages and eventually dies, when you picked the "House" option - your House lives on as new members of the family are born (essentially new playable characters).

5) some of the family characters could be specced into fighters (so like the mercenary/sellsword type of gameplay but your actions would be dictated by current politics) while others could be devoted to crafting (although there is no typical stat progression - the gear is still divided into better and worse based on the materials [for example: copper/iron/steel swords and the end-of-the-line valyrian steel and also based on the quality of the production)

6) i always envision battles to be like the ones in mount & blade, and your character would of course have some small army (all the gear would be crafted)

7) and the actual gameplay? the major house would have alliances and wars, so you (and all other players) would have to fight the battles for those houses.

major npc forces of the seven houses would be marked on the map and players would travel around the westoros with that information in mind - you could join up with the main forces, or perhaps take your small army behind enemy lines etc.

8) non combat gameplay would revolve around crafting and politics (you would try to find a good match for your females or your males between houses of other players, or if the reputation with medium houses is high enough - perhaps you could wed a mormont or cerwyn or...)

9) fighting wars would earn you some loot (unless you have defeats :P) and reputation, good with those that you fight for, and bad with those you fight against (and then traveling during peace time in the faction that does not like you would still be dangerous)

10) there has to be some kind of organized pvp and that would be done by various tournaments

X) and then expansions would come: "Beyond the Wall", "Essos"...


as you can see - i like to dream (that was a very short version of what i've dreamed).

so i was excided for a brief moment when i saw the title... and then i was solely disappointed; oh well, i still have my imagination :-)
Mar. 13th, 2012 06:23 pm (UTC)
can't wait,hope it will be f2p!
Hannes risson
Mar. 16th, 2012 01:21 am (UTC)
Game of Thrones RPG
Hi, just wanted to say congrats on the Game of Thrones HBO series. Best book adaption I have ever seen on TV/Film.

Being a RP nerd since I was 10 and played Gurps almost exclusively since 1991 I would have loved to see the series published as a GURPS 4e supplement.

With best regards -
Hannes Þórisson - Reykjavík Iceland.


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

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