'Game of Thrones - A Telltale Game Series' Premieres With 'Iron From Ice'

December 4, 2014

Over the last four years, the HBO series Game of Thrones, a fantasy-drama based on the literary works of George R. R. Martin, has captivated viewers through its expert storytelling, and outstanding cast. The show has grown to be wildly successful, propelling an otherwise niche tale into the mainstream pop culture zeitgeist. The series has a little bit of everything for everyone: sex, violence, romance, betrayal, the walking dead, incest, and dragons. What isn't there to like about the show? Well, up until this week, the video game adaptations were at the top of that list. With a sprawling story on such a grand scale, porting it into an interactive medium hasn't gone so well. The series has seen successful board and card game adaptations, but the few video games that have been released have gone over about as well as most weddings in Westeros (that is to say, "not well"). The maesters at Telltale Games hope that they can change all of that with the release of the first episode of Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series where they will bring their unique style of narrative-driven gameplay to the world of the HBO series in the premiere Iron From Ice.

Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games

Attempting to recreate the world of the Seven Kingdoms in video game form is a daunting task, but it's clear that Telltale were up for the challenge. Fans will instantly recognize their now signature gameplay mechanics in Game of Thrones, where the choose-your-own-adventure experience works well within this world. The heavy reliance on dialog, mixed with light action sequences, Iron From Ice feels like a natural extension of both the books and the TV show, as it captures the essence of Game of Thrones that fans have come to expect and adore. It's clear that HBO played quite a role in bringing the game to life as well, since a handful of the cast members make appearances, bringing the likes of Cercei (Lena Headey) and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) Lannister to life by using the actors that portray them in the game.

What: (Spoilers Ahead)
Iron From Ice is the first in a six episode season that brings fans of Game of Thrones to a new part of The Seven Kingdoms. Ironrath can be found deep in the Wolfswood, where House Forrester has overseen it, and it's ironwood forest, for centuries. Prior to the War of Five Kings, House Forrester were Bannermen to House Glover, and allied with the Starks who held the ruling seat in the North. Iron From Ice starts off on the night of the Red Wedding, which doesn't go very well for a certain King in the North, and brings an end to the Stark's power. After the fallout of Walder Fray's betrayal, House Forrester comes under scrutiny after the (now deceased) Lord's squire kills a couple of Roose Bolton and House Whitehill's men. From there the game weaves a complex story that reaches as far as King's Landing as it builds the importance of House Forrester, creating a story that escalates quickly, very much in line with how things happen in Game of Thrones.

On the gameplay side of things, players jump through the roles of five different members of House Forrester as they try and cope with losing their Lord, and House Whitehill's targeting of them. You meet each member of the family, and converse using Telltale's discussion trees, which should be familiar to fans of The Walking Dead, Fables, or Tales From The Borderlands. There are a couple of quick action sequences, but they aren't the focus of this episode, which is more on making decisions about the future of Ironrath.

Most fans of Game of Thrones should be able to enjoy Iron From Ice as Telltale are bringing the series to a number of different platforms. Anyone with a PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Mac, PC, iOS or Android device will be able to check out the game as it is rolled out on each platform. So, that means pretty much everyone can dabble in the exploits of House Forrester as long as they can find a screen.

If Iron From Ice is any indicator, Telltale's Game of Thrones series are on track to being some of the best licensed titles since Telltale's The Walking Dead series. This first episode does exactly what a game like this needs to do: immerses the gamer in a world they already know and love, while introducing a new set of interesting characters, and offering them an original experience that stays true to the source material. Iron From Ice feels like a Game of Thrones episode that could air on HBO, balancing action with (a lot of) character development, some tough decisions, and a signature GoT twist. Both Game of Thrones and Telltale fans should be delighted with this season premiere, which hopefully sets a precedent that future episodes will maintain.