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Why Bethesda Turned Down A Song of Ice and Fire

EGMNOW has a tidbit from the upcoming EGMi - Digital Magazine where Todd Howard of Bethesda Softworks explains why his company passed on the opportunity to make a game based on A Song of Ice and Fire, the series of books that inspired the hit series A Game of Thrones (thanks Gamer's Hell). Here's why:

“With A Song of Ice and Fire, we went ‘We want to do that!’ People in our studio liked it, and it seeped in a bit to what we were doing,” Howard explained. “We were actually asked a while ago to turn those books into games.”

So why didn’t they take the leap? According to Howard, the idea of a partnership was very tempting, but the team was just too invested in their own IP.

“We wanted to do our own world. That’s where we wanted to put out time into. Before we were even making Skyrim, there was a conversation with George R.R. Martin’s people. They thought it would be a good match—and so did we, actually—but then we thought about if that was where we wanted to spend our time. It was tempting, though.”

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11. Re: Why Bethesda Turned Down A Song of Ice and Fire Sep 15, 2011, 02:49 Rockn-Roll
 
I was wondering about this...it didn't seem like a good fit for Cyanide...makers of sports management software...to do an RTS game for A Game of Thrones. And, keep in mind that it's just the first book...there's already 4 more books of material available for 4 more games...Bethesda doesn't need to give up home.

But, I see their point...G.R.R.Martin puts a huge amount of details into his world...there's not much room for originality in the story or characters. The major task of a game based on A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF) is figuring out what has to be left out, what can be left out, and what needs to be a scenematic because there's no way it can be left out, but that part of the story absolutely has to be told.

Battles? There are so many battles and fights and melees and such. Especially Storm of Swords, but also Clash of Kings. His next book Winds of Winter should be a huge battle with dragons fighting others literally with Ice against Fire. The intrigue and mind games are important, but I believe cut-scenes would suffice for most of that stuff i.e. the court banter is the reason for the battles, but the battles themselves and where they take place are what drives the story...even the tiny skirmishes.

But, what makes a game based on these books a very difficult project is that each battle must have a set outcome or else the rest of the story won't work. For example if Renly wins the battle of bywater then a whole different story would occur...especially where Southern Westeros was concerned. The events across the sea and Northern Westeros would still go as written, but a huge amount of story would fall away. And just think of what would have happened if Stannis had won? The wall would have been breached and all of the North would have fallen to the Others. I suppose it could be done, but I'm not sure if Martin would want it that way. I think Martin's vision of a game based on ASOIAF would be one where the player can take on the role of one or more of the major characters and spend days in the atmosphere of the book canon...not really a strategy...more of a story book rider than a game player. The problem is that all the characters lose some fights/arguments...and players don't like to lose...the game would have to "cheat" so that the player always lost when they were supposed to. Or, I suppose the player would have to jump from character to character so that they are always the one that wins.
 
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