Game of Thrones Previews, Video Interview, and Screenshots

Atlus recently hosted a European press event for Cyanide's forthcoming RPG Game of Thrones, and that means we have five new screenshots, a video interview, and an assortment of previews to send you off to. Let's start things off with CVG's four-minute interview with lead game designer Sylvain Sechi:

And then check out the previews at CVG:
The story runs parallel to events in the first book and TV series, and follows two new characters created specifically for the game. First up is Mors, a ranger of the Night's Watch, faithful dog at his side, which you can take control of using Mors' 'skinchanger' ability (more on that later). The second new face is Alester, a Red Priest who has the power to cast magical fire spells. Both can be customised extensively, as you'd expect, fine tuning their attributes, abilities and skills.

Like the books, the game is broken down into chapters, and like the show, each chapter ends with a cliffhanger. Initially these alternate between Mors and Alester's stories, though later on the two come together and join forces. Players who haven't read the books (or even watched the TV series) shouldn't feel too out of place, as each chapter begins with a recap. There's also a codex, the Westeros encyclopedia, which collates all the information you need.

Despite being men of action, Mors and Alester will have to negotiate a great many social interactions. It's here that the developer again illustrates its faithfulness to Martin's fiction by proving that a tale of fantasy needn't rely on fairy folk and arcane magic so long as the cast of characters is sufficiently well realised, with believable motives and appropriately judged language. To this end, conversation is guided by tone. The protagonists convey the desired emotion through subtle language, allowing the insinuation that a member of a royal house is ignorant or foolish to be as explicitly insulting as hurling a string of profanities at a common soldier.

Choices made both in dialogue and action will be far-reaching - Sechi confirms that conversations will move to a natural close with appropriate consequences, rather than continuing until all of the dialogue options have been exhausted. Despite this, Cyanide has deliberately avoided providing clues to how your words or actions will be received, insisting that there should be no sliding scale of morality or visual representation of your alignment.

Official PlayStation Magazine UK:
Canonically, the game takes place during the events of the first book/TV season. Giving you control over two different characters (who you can customise Mass Effect-style) the plot takes place just after the Hand of King Robert Baratheon the fat bloke from the Tesco ads has been offed.

Protagonist the first is a gruffly-voiced (of course he is) chap called Mors. He's a sworn brother of the Night's Watch, which is an order of bastards, crooks and murderers cast from society to protect a sodding big wall from rumoured demon beasties that live in the North.

The Sixth Axis:
If this were an open world game such as Skyrim then a little graphical roughness could be forgiven but Game Of Thrones is a series of linear missions, there are side quests but you will not be wandering around in the forests between activities. Hopefully the game will receive some extra polish before it ships.

Back to the gameplay and Mors begins to attack three soldiers in real time. You can use two sets of weapons such a sword and shield for close quarters combat and a bow for long ranged attacks and swap between them during combat.

Different weapons can penetrate different armours too, so a dagger might be more suited to getting through chainmail, while plate armour will require something a little stronger. There's certainly plenty to think about, and it's clear that the strategical and tactical aspects of fighting are deep and intricate. Unfortunately, it seems to be devoid of the spectacular brutality and unflinching violence that's so prevalent in the TV show, instead favouring encounters that look somewhat stilted, yet typical of the RPG genre, with numbers and status effects popping up amid small, perfunctory splashes of blood. If battles were punctuated by some graphic finishing moves or final kill animations, then we'd be happy, but at the moment we fear the violence has been toned down along with the rudey nudey bits to snag the game a 15 rating for a wider audience. If you're hoping for heads on spikes, cut throats, gurgling blood and bouncing breasts left, right and centre, you might be disappointed.

Still, it's the themes and narrative that'll really matter to the fans, and on that front, Game of Thrones looks poised to deliver. While Mors' story handles the more down and dirty, gritty side of Westeros with clashing steel and blood aplenty, second protagonist Alester Sarwyck, the red priest and R'hllor, Lord of Light covers the complex political intrigue and power struggles in locations like King's Landing or Riverspring. That means meeting characters like Queen Cersei Lannister or Lord Varys, the latter of whom provides some of the narration in the game.

Pocket Lint:
What we did absolutely love is that armour is very important and the type that each of your enemies is wearing is displayed as an icon next to their health info above their heads. It's then your job to use that knowledge to work out how best to attack them; piercing weapons are not much cop against leather but the slashing of swords will find its weakness, with the opposite true for chain mail. You get the picture, and it makes the whole thing much more a puzzle than hammering away and hoping to bash and dodge a path to glory.

Of course, it's not all about swords and daggers. This is a fantasy game after all and magic does feature, although, like Game of Thrones, it's handled with a light touch. While Mors is the fighter, it's the second playable character, Alester Sarwyck, that gets to dabble in the darker arts. Alester is a Red Priest returning to his home of Riverspring 15 years after turning his back on becoming the lord of house and only news of his father dying has brought him back. Through veteran ranger of Castle Black, Mors, you get little opportunity to play through any of the political intrigue for which Game of Thrones is so well known - the Wall is a very long way from King's Landing - but Alester's journey, we're told, is the one where you get to scratch that itch.

And The Sun:
The combat system allows you to plan up to three attacks in advance. Both Mors and Alester are hugely customisable. A mix of over 60 weapons and armours are available, if you can find them.

Each lead also has their own unique abilities. Mors has his faithful hound, who can attack, track and dig up buried booty.