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E3 2019

What a FromSoftware Game of Thrones Game Could Look Like

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Every year, developers from around the world gather in June to showcase their most secret and anticipated projects. In the months leading up to E3, gamers witness the spectacle of influencers and industry veterans discussing the rumors of what might be, further fueling their desired announcements come to life. In the spirit of fun and excitement, E3 allows for the passion of gaming to be broadcast on a world stage and recognized for its influence on the entertainment industry.

Now that the industry is approaching the eve of E3, OnlySP is counting down the days remaining in a segment we like to call ‘12 Days of E3’. Please join OnlySP in celebrating an event that can be described as Christmas for Gamers, as we come together in anticipation for E3 2019!


The reaction to the final season of Game of Thrones was polarising. Fans of the show had followed the narrative for over eight years—fans of the books, George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, for almost 23 years—and to see the conclusion rushed in such a way was disappointing to audiences, despite the talented and acclaimed work of the cast and crew. A video game might be just what the fans need.

Recent rumours have circulated claiming that Martin has been working with FromSoftware, the Japanese development studio known for games such as Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. According to one such rumour, Martin is creating the game’s world, writing the story to flesh out the setting. Hidetaka Miyazaki, director of some of the studio’s most acclaimed works, is reportedly involved in the project.

According to the rumour, the player will travel the open world on horseback, visiting various kingdoms in whichever order they please. They are tasked with killing the leader of each kingdom, after which they obtain their ability and add it to their own arsenal.

Little is known about the game, known internally as “GR” (rumoured to be “Great Rune”), besides some general gameplay information, so let’s consider some options that Martin and Miyazaki may take.

Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones

Six video games based on Game of Thrones have been released—four are strategy games (mostly on mobile), one is an action RPG, and one is an adventure game. If the rumours are true, a Game of Thrones project could prove very different to the attempts of the past.

In line with the rumours, the player could begin within the land of Westeros and decide which of the kingdoms that they would like to visit. In doing so, they could meet some of the citizens of each kingdom, discovering some backstory of the nations and possibly running some side quests for the people. They would eventually make their way toward the leadership of the kingdom, finding a way to kill the leader (or a different leadership figure, such as the military commander) and obtain their abilities or weapons to add to their own arsenal.

The continent of Westeros is not the only location to explore. East of Westeros is the land of Essos, with cities such as Braavos, Pentos, and Volantis. To expand their abilities even more, the player could travel across the sea to explore these cities and kill their leaders. In the east of the land is the Dothraki Sea, populated by the hordes of house-mounted Dothraki warriors—a challenging opponent to defeat, even for experienced players.

Game of Thrones White Walkers, Night King

An even more interesting location would be the Lands of Always Winter—those that lie northernmost in Westeros, beyond the Wall. Should the game be set before the novels and show, exploring the land of White Walkers presents some interesting opportunities for both narrative and gameplay. If the game is set after the show, witnessing the aftermath of the Night King’s death and the impact his absence might have on the lands north of the Wall would be intriguing. The future of the Children of the Forest is left unclear in the show, so the death of the Night King presents some interesting consequences that a game could explore.

Setting the game in the hundreds of years following the events of the show also allows for some interesting narrative opportunities. In King’s Landing, players could discover the impact of King Bran the Broken’s reign—whether the city prospered during and following his monarchy, or whether it returned to turmoil once his reign was over. In Essos, the assassination of Daenerys Targaryen was likely to have an effect; whether or not the cities continued to prosper without slavery could significantly impact the game’s narrative and gameplay.

An open world Game of Thrones video game is long overdue, and FromSoftware might be the perfect developer to explore such a concept.

Game of Thrones Westeros Essos Map

Martin’s other work

But what if the project is not related to Game of Thrones at all? While Martin is most well known for his A Song of Ice and Fire series, he has also written several other works throughout his life, some of which could lead the way to successful open world titles.

Martin’s first two novels are both science fiction. His first, Dying of the Light, follows the story of inhabitants of a rogue planet slowly moving toward a cold death in the depths of space. His second novel, Windhaven, is set on a near-uninhabitable that humans are forced upon following the crash of a colony ship. While the concept of kingdoms is unclear in the first novel, it is evident in the second, with the scattered islands of Windhaven serving as home to different groups. Several of Martin’s novellas are also science fiction, as is Wild Cards, an anthology series that Martin edits. Of course, should Martin’s collaboration with FromSoftware be a science fiction title, a new concept could be explored—but have faith in Martin’s experience in the genre.

Martin’s third and fourth novels—his final two prior to the success of A Song of Ice and Fire—are both within the fantasy genre. While he has had some success with science fiction and horror, he clearly has a knack for fantasy. Considering FromSoftware’s experience with fantasy-like games, perhaps the genre would be the most successful for a collaboration.

Norse Video Games (Hellblade, Assassin's Creed Ragnarok, God of War)

Something else…

Some rumours about the project claim that it is based on Norse mythology, though the source of this rumour remains unclear (it appears to have begun in an unverified 4chan thread). Should the rumour have any standing, however, the game will join several other recent titles with Nordic influence, including God of War, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, and (possibly) the upcoming Assassin’s Creed: Ragnarok. Martin already has some experience in this field with Game of Thrones taking some Norse influences, and Miyazaki has some knowledge with some Dark Souls characters based on Nordic goddesses, so perhaps a collaboration in Norse mythology would not go amiss.

But perhaps the title will be something else entirely—a brand new project from the minds of Martin and Miyazaki. According to the rumours, we don’t have long until we find out. Microsoft’s press conference will take place on Sunday, June 9 at 1:00pm PT / 4:00 pm PT / 9:00pm BST.

Stay tuned for more of our 12 Days of E3 by following OnlySP on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube. Also, be sure to join the discussion in the community Discord server.

Rhain discovered a long time ago that mixing one of his passions (video games) with the other (writing) might be a good idea, and now he’s been stuck in the industry for over six years with no means of escaping. His favourite games are those with deep and captivating narratives: while it would take far too long to list them all, some include L.A. Noire, Red Dead Redemption (and its sequel), Wolfenstein: The New Order, The Last of Us, and the Uncharted series.

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E3 2019

Biomutant is Vibrant, Unique, and a Hell of a Lot of Fun

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biomutant

THQ Nordic had a bevy of games available to play on the show floor at this year’s E3. While some attendees eagerly lined up to play Darksiders Genesis (as our own Michael Cripe did), others sought to finally get their hands on Experiment 101’s highly unique Biomutant for a hands-on, 30-minute demo. Thankfully, Biomutant’s E3 demo is more than enough proof that the will end up being something truly special.

After selecting their preferred language, players were given the option to recode their mutant’s DNA, serving as Biomutant’s version of a character customizer. The customization options were satisfying. A circle graph appears on the screen with five key skills the player must find their preferred balance between: strength, agility, intellect, charisma, and vitality. A sixth skill, luck, was also present, but it was not one that the player could influence from the circle graph. This graph not only influences the player’s mutant’s skills but it also directly changes the mutant’s appearance.

Other customization options included determining the mutant’s fur length and primary and secondary colors. Once these options were set, the demo thrusts the player into a mission that begins with riding a hot air balloon  while the narrator speaks of the excitement of an adventure. Enemies begin firing to bring down the hot air balloon and the player is dropped into the action.

Biomutant

The world of Biomutant immediately pops, as the colors were sharp and invoked thoughts of Ratchet &Clank with a slightly more comic-book style. The visuals reflected the conditions of the area, too, with vibrant reds representing intense heat being a memorable example. The first thing that stood out about this sequence was how great the combat felt. Similarly to Insomniac’s Spider-Man and Rocksteady’s Arkham series, sliding through an enemy’s legs while kicking, punching, and shooting felt tight and familiar. In some instances, the game slowed down when a knockout blow was dealt, which was a nice cinematic touch.

Progressing forward saw the player in an area with additional enemies with a larger, more intimidating foe acting as the main objective. This section introduced the Super Wushu attack, which varies depending on the equipped weapon. The most rewarding of these attacks was with the Klonk Fist which was obtained later in the demo. The Klonk Fist offered huge gauntlets that could pummel multiple enemies by mashing the action button.

The key to unlocking the Super Wushu attack involves stringing together combos which felt fairly easy to do. I do not recall ever losing my combo to an enemy attack, as I obtained the special attack fairly often. The combat allowed for those who wished to mash the melee or firing button but also rewards the players who are more tactical in their combos while mixing in shooting with melee attacks.

Biomutant

With the tutorial for the demo out the way, the game continues by having the player go to a different part of the planet. This new area showcased the vibrant greens and life that contrasted the overheated reds from the previous area. After some platforming, the demo descends the player down into the world where Gizmo the Greasemonkey resides.

Biomutant NPC dialogue is spoken by the narrator from the beginning of the demo while the player’s character makes vague sounds during the conversation. This exchange felt a bit underwhelming for the action-RPG as options did not hold any consequences for how the next section plays out and can be skipped without missing out on much of the story or mission objective.

After descending down and exiting an elevator shaft, the player enters a dark, oil-spilt area. The color palette here reflected the same pop to its visuals as the other sections. A mech suit, which was required to clean up the oil, controlled fine, though combat definitely felt better out of the mech suit than in it.

A final enemy awaited which served as the boss fight for the mission. This fight contained three phases with the enemy adding a new attack method from in the second. The third phase, however, took place inside the creature. After taking him down from the inside, the planet’s Tree of Life becomes more alive as indicating a reversal of destitute for the planet.

The demo confirmed the anticipation OnlySP had for Biomutant. The combat felt great and the visuals really popped. THQ Nordic and Experiment 101 may something special on their hands if the rest of the game plays as the demo did.

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