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MMORPG.com Staff Blog

The staff of MMORPG.com gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

Author: staffblog

Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

A Game of Thrones

Posted by garrett Tuesday September 28 2010 at 6:55PM
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So I have just recently been watching all of the Game of Thrones bits on HBO. I for one am very excited about this miniseries. Although I wish George would finish the book series, I still think this is an awesome take on the books by HBO. At least, I am making that assumption based on the short material I have seen.
 
Many of you probably think this is a blog about a Game of Thrones MMO. Well that is an easy one: Starks, and Lancasters, and Greyjoys, oh my. Well it is and it isn’t. Basically it is about the approach that HBO takes on a project. From the history of TV shows, HBO seems to give quite a bit of creative freedom to the teams that are making a project. In terms of allowing the writers and directors do their job without corporate hurdles being placed in their way, or always having someone there in an executive role that thinks they know more than the team. From what I have seen HBO is pretty cool about letting the shows form themselves and simply airing them they way they are.
 
I wonder how this take would work in MMOs? It seems like lately the corporate game machine was so busy racing against World of Warcraft that they forgot the best games are the creative ones, the ones where the team is allowed to pursue an idea within a budget and no one gets in their way.
 
This approach to MMOs is the shot that it needs. As long as teams can be creative within their budget and not have people come in and make executive decisions based on what they think the players will go for…well that would be something.
 
Look at Wizard 101, it was created by a team without any major corporation throwing its weight around behind it. The game was designed and built by gamers with a passion for their product. No one got in the way, now Wizard 101 is one of the most successful MMOs out there.
 
Now since I lured you in with A Game of Thrones, I will say this. As normal fantasy goes, if the HBO series is a massive success, you will likely see a rush of games come out as well. Will you see an MMO? It is always possible. Yet, in my book the only way to do a Game of Thrones MMO right is to choose a Household and fight for that side. Have the tides of war change hands and various factions in the game. There wouldn’t be any real monsters, expect maybe dragons. It would also have to take place during the storyline of the books similar to Lord of the Rings Online. In a nutshell it would be fun, but Game of Thrones will always be books to me, the same as Conan and Lord of the Rings, long before they are anything else.
 
In the end, hopefully the MMO world will learn to keep creative teams working on games and not push the corporate race for millions. Just make a good game and the players will come. In terms of the Game of Thrones HBO Series…I cannot wait. I am re-reading the books now. As for George R.R. Martin, well George, the Giants season is going lousy, there isn’t much to do, so please finish a Dance with Dragons!
Rohn writes:

I've been watching and waiting for the HBO series for a while now, too.  It looks like it'll be great, and I love the books.  Martin just needs to finish.

Personally, I think this IP would make a great MMO as well.

Wed Sep 29 2010 8:45AM Report
freston writes:

I think the actor they picked to play Tyrion is going to do a hell of a job. Ive seen him in other movies and im sure he is going to give the character just the right amount of cynicism

Wed Sep 29 2010 9:59AM Report
mCalvert writes:

A game of thrones MMO would be easy. You dont even have to choose a household. You can simply be a normal human who signs up with a household to fight. Or a hedge knight. You could fight wights in the north, join or fight the northern barbarians. Head over to the lands across the see and join or fight slave owners. The great thing about a got mmo would be almost no magic, so you could have a really fun sword combat system.

There is so much material to choose from. But the cynical part of me knows theyd ruin it. 'oh we have to have lots of dragons!" and fireballs and magic swords!

Wed Sep 29 2010 10:12AM Report
misfitzx138 writes:

no monsters to fight except maybe dragons? what about the ice zombies? or the barbarians (i.e. hillmen from lotro).

or the desert people...i think there is alot of npc monsters they could add to it. Even if they dont make an MMO, any game based on this IP would be cool. Even if it is like the1990's game based on wheel of time (just skinned over unreal tournament)

Wed Sep 29 2010 12:36PM Report
gatheris writes:

wait, wait, wait, what?

the only thing i've seen is the splash screen stating "winter is coming"

i missed something?

crap

Wed Sep 29 2010 1:37PM Report
gatheris writes:

ahh - on the HBO website

the most exciting thing to happen to TV ever!

well, maybe watching the landing on the moon but............

Wed Sep 29 2010 1:54PM Report
templarx writes:

@gatheris

Yes, you've missed quite a bit. Start here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjY6QnOPcoI

That's an interview with George Martin himself...and scenes from the show.

Wed Sep 29 2010 1:57PM Report
MagicManICT writes:

I just want to hold my breath for the show, thank you very much. I don't want to get hyped up and disappointed like I did with the Goodkind based "Legend of the Seeker". All I want to know is when it will premier, and I'm sure I'll see that as I'm a regular HBO subscriber. (Can't miss my "True Blood" or "Boardwalk Empire"!!)

Wed Sep 29 2010 5:01PM Report
jakin writes:

tsk...Lancaster is a ww2 bomber, you want Lannister.  :P

 

Creativity in interpretation is alright for a film or movie, as the audience isn't participatory to the event.  As long as the filmmakers do a reasonable job of fitting the existing story into the proven mold of a good series / film it will do fine.  I guess in that way it emphasizes the point of making a good product - but balanced with a good understanding of the core of the adapted work.

Peter Jackson (for instance) is a true fan of LOTR, and it showed in his adaptations - keeping the themes as much as he could while still making what constitutes a good movie.

MMOs are a different beast really, with the players being participatory to the world developers have a much harder time.  LOTRO does a pretty decent job, but then the source material is all about the journey - which mates very well with an MMO.

ASOIAF would be orders of magnitude harder to adapt faithfully, the themes are actually far more complicated and intricate than Tolkien's work and would probably bury anyone but Blizzard.

Again, because the players are within the event - I'm not sure anyone has yet figured out the "must haves" that constitute a "good MMO".  Perhaps if the genre manages to survive as long as movies and TV has, but right now you've got computer programmers (who are very rarely gifted in storytelling and artistry as well) trying to both figure out the formula that makes a great MMO as well as the formula for staying true to a source IP.

For that reason, I think MMO devs should really steer far away from existing IPs.  Without having to worry about the IP, they can focus on making a great game (as seen in EVE, EQ, UO, AC, etc).

Maybe once people have figured out the "formula" that works for MMOs (with subgenres probably), then it might be worth coming back to IPs and trying again.

I mean, think about what a huge pile of crap most comic book adaptations have been up until 5-10 years ago.  It took that long for movie makers to figure out how to be able to represent that form of art on screen.  Now they're frequently quite good movies and fairly faithful to the source IP to boot.

Let the genre grow up, then try to adapt things into it.

Wed Sep 29 2010 7:13PM Report
jdlamson75 writes:

Awesome.  Maybe it'll include all the stuff he HASN'T written/published in the past three years so I don't have to wait until I'm 90 before the new book comes out.

Wed Sep 29 2010 7:17PM Report
karnisov writes:

i'd prefer that A Song of Ice and Fire not get dumbed down for mmo format. which it probably would. what are the odds of it not becoming a dumb themepark mmo, different from wow only in name and art direction? not good.

Wed Sep 29 2010 8:09PM Report
Vercin writes:

If it was an MMO, it would defintely define RVR combat. A DAOC format that was fully supported would actually be nice. You could either join a house or be a mercanery. However if you were a mercanery people may remeber who you last fought for and not be so eager to have you join their ranks.

Could be a good mmo world.

Thu Sep 30 2010 1:09AM Report
Vercin writes:

Oh but as to what the writer said about make a good game and the players will come in. True, very true.

Thu Sep 30 2010 1:11AM Report
Spadey writes:

The rights for developing video games based on "A song of Ice Fire" (the name of the series of novels that the HBO show will be based on) have already been acquired by french development studio Cyanide. Here's a link to the press release:

http://www.cyanide-studio.com/?rub=node&nid=806

They where acquired more than 1 year ago. First they will release a strategy game, then possibly an MMO although they have not confirmed this. 

For those interested in following the production of the HBO series you can get a lot of info from here:

http://winter-is-coming.net/

and the official HBO website:

http://www.makinggameofthrones.com/

@garret:

Maybe, as part of the staff of mmorpg.com you could contact cyanide and confirm that they have plans for making an MMO? 

Thu Sep 30 2010 6:26AM Report
Shmaw writes:

When I saw "A game of thrones" in an MMO website, my heart stopped for a second (a good thing!).  Seriously though, I can't think of a series of books that I have enjoyed reading more (and re-reading).  That being said, I would imagine that anyone even considering the MMO would need to ensure that they keep the fanbase happy, which right now is only the people that have read the books.  The mini series looks excellent, but even a good Tv show will not have all of the detail the books do (how could it?).  The best way for a company to create an MMO based on Thrones' would be to do take the best form both worlds, and be honest about the game from day one.

Thu Sep 30 2010 8:19AM Report
vack writes:

An MMO on this IP, would certainly contain the 3 faction basis, that many of us loved in DAOC.  If it happens mark me down for a copy.  I read the first book so far, it's good, really good.

 

Thu Sep 30 2010 10:48AM Report
valrin writes:

From what I have read, and what George has said, they are only going to release an RTS and RPG. No mention of an MMO as of yet.

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