Now that Winter has come and gone for Game of Thrones on HBO, it appears that George R.R. Martin, the author of the Song of Ice and Fire book series that inspired the hit television show, is setting his sights on more than just finishing his book series – turns out, he’s wanting to throw his hat into the world of video games as well!
In case you missed it, this week it was revealed that the GoT author would be joining forces with one of my favorite video game developers of all time, From Software, makers of Demon Souls, the Dark Souls trilogy, Bloodborne, and the recently release Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. The new game that these two fantasy juggernauts are collaborating on is rumored to be titled Great Rune, and is supposedly taking place in some sort of Norse setting – which I have to say has me HYPED for the next FromSoft game (even if I didn’t know GRRM was attached), because I love Norse mythology so stinkin’ much and think that’s a great combo for From Software. Anyway, I digress… Hearing that the Song of Ice and Fire author and the man behind the Game of Thrones sensation was teaming up with From Software got me thinking… What other video games would benefit from writing and creative direction from one of the most talented fantasy authors of our generation? Take a journey with me as I discuss a handful of my favorite fantasy gaming franchises that I’d love to see GRRM be a part of!
Elder Scrolls – Elder Scrolls 6 is on its way in the near future (hopefully!), so it’s unlikely in my fantasy scenario in my head to get any GRRM influences, but I can’t help but smile thinking about the incredible interwoven stories of intrigue that you’d be able to take part in throughout a George R.R. Martin Elder Scrolls game. I love deep engrossing stories within my RPGs, especially open-world RPGs, and CDProjektRed’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt felt about as close as you can get to a Game of Thrones style video game – but dropping GRRM into a world like Elder Scrolls, already filled with magic, dragons, and nights that are dark and full of terror seems like the perfect combination to me!
World of Warcraft – The biggest MMO of all time has had an interesting go of things the last few expansions, including the polarizing and controversial Battle for Azeroth. Blizzard’s smash MMO has been at the forefront of online RPGs for 15 years and seems to have no real end in sight, and despite some of the game’s ups and downs the last couple of years, I have to say that one of the strongest aspects of the MMO has, in my opinion, been the overall storytelling and narrative. Now… Having said that, who wouldn’t love some sort of George R.R. Martin inspired MMO? I don’t imagine a Game of Thrones/Song of Ice and Fire MMO is going to be in the cards for us (even though I think that would be really rad!), so I’d take the next best thing: an entire expansion written and directed by GRRM himself. Will it happen? Hey… A boy can dream!
Final Fantasy – Once upon a time, the Final Fantasy franchise had some of the most in-depth and iconic storytelling moments of any RPG around: epic set pieces, beautifully written and realized moments (even in 8 and 16 bit!), incredible casts of characters, terrifying villains, magic, dragons, and so much more. Lately, Final Fantasy games have lost a little bit of the nostalgia that they once had, which I think is partly why there’s so much hype for remakes of classic FF games like the upcoming Final Fantasy VII Remake. So what better way to rekindle the horrors of villains like Kefka, the triumphs of valiant heroes like Kain, the dark and brooding settings of games like Final Fantasy VI, than to bring George on-board to write and collaborate on a future installment of the Final Fantasy franchise. “Final Fantasy XVI: A Song of Espers and Bahamut” kind of rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?
Baldur’s Gate – Now, while I’m looking at Baldur’s Gate specifically as a franchise that would absolutely kick ass with someone like GRRM in the writer’s room, I’m talking about D&D inspired RPGs in general too. Pretty much all of the really in-depth, complex, and engrossing cRPGs of yesteryear had incredible, intricate, and beautiful stories – whether you’re talking Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights, or even some of the more recent cRPGs like Divinity: Original Sin, Pillars of Eternity, or Pathfinder: Kingmaker. The nice thing about games like these is you can easily create campaigns instead of entirely developed games, so having quests or campaigns written and directed by Martin might be the most realistic entry in this entire article.
Mass Effect – Okay, okay… Hear me out here. I know it’d make sense to try and lean on the more fantasy and dragons Bioware title in Dragon Age, but I gotta be honest… I think I’d rather see GRRM get his hands on Mass Effect 5 – not only because some could argue that Bioware has lost its way a little bit with the releases of Mass Effect Andromeda and Anthem, but because I think George’s approach to magic and dragons and the gritty medieval fantasy setting could absolutely work in an epic space adventure filled with galactic exploration, political intrigue, space-magic, and badass characters. At the end of the day, I think the video game scene is better when big-name franchises are on top, and Mass Effect is one of those franchises that fully deserves a resurgence, and a hypothetical partnership with GRRM could help that – but chances are it’s only in my dreams!