Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Game Of Thrones - Genesis Preview

A Game of Thrones- Genesis is a PC real time strategy game that many people have likely heard about. It is based around the Song of Fire and Ice Series, the books by George R. Martin; the series that was made into the HBO show called A Game of Thrones, which just finished it's first season not too long ago and did quite well for itself. Most people who have read or know Song of Fire and Ice/ Game of Thrones, have big questions about how any company can make good RTS game based on series that is not just about war, but also politics, humanity, inhumane situations, evil, sorcery, magic, backstabbing, religion and faith. Well, they could start doing that by actually working with George R. Martin, and allowing him to help them with the world and story. This game is being made by Cyanide Studio (creators of Blood Bowl), they are also making a RPG based on Game of Thrones. This game is slated for a release of 9/29/2011.

In Genesis they are claiming to have successfully mixed military strategy and political prowess. The game takes place in Westeros, the main landmass from the series, with all of it's features. I must say, they are downplaying some features while making other features seem huge. For instance, huge castles on the map, but  The Wall is very tiny looking, compared to how big it should be. The single player campaign will take place before the Song of Fire and Ice books, but contains much of it's history and will allow you to play out the campaigns of famous characters like Aegon the Conqueror. It will take place during the year -750 to the year 299, I have no idea how their years work but it all supposed to be during the origin of Westeros. You can play eight of the great houses from the books, most of which fans will know, houses like: Stark, Lannister, Tully, Arryn, Tyrell, Baratheon, Targaryen and Martell. Each of which have their own special starting locations, unique house bonuses and special units. House stark get's direwolves, which is awesome, but then again I'm sure plenty of people would be pissed if they hadn't included the direwolves in some way. For more on the houses check out this guide. They also have an interactive map showing where each house starts and some of it's history.

The Wall
The goal of the game is to take the Iron Throne, which can be done numerous ways. You can of course use military force, but you can also use politics, the economy, backstabbing and deception to help you gain power, while also weakening your enemies. Each house has prestige, prestige must be built up in order to gain the Iron Throne. You can gain prestige by building alliances, being overly wealthy, controlling Sept temples and defeating your enemies. You can also lose prestige and I must say if this is implemented well it could be interesting. Prestige can be lost by having your bastard sons discovered, laying siege to an enemy city or castle when you are not war with them, being the victim of a secret alliance and several other ways that they have not divulged. Peace and War are a huge part of the game, each game starting with everyone at peace. Peace can be kept by making alliances, marrying your Great Lord in a town or castle, sending envoys, creating secret alliances, freeing captured enemy units and other actions will all maintain peace. When a war starts all the towns and castles that you have been working to influence will show their allegiances, the more on your side the better, because once a war starts many of the peace time options disappear.You can play the game either way, apparently, both peace and war being better for different grand strategies.

There are many different units that are unique throughout Genesis, so let me detail some of them. The Great Lord is your leader and if he is killed, and you have no heir, then you will lose the game. If you take too long to marry your Great Lord then a bastard son may appear, a bastard son who may be made into a legitimate heir for a specific amount of money. There is the envoy, basically the diplomat from the Total War series, that is used to send peace messages and build alliances, but he is susceptible to enemy spies and rogues. A merchant, also basically the same as the Total War series merchants, makes money by traveling between towns, mines and the seat of your house. The farther away the merchant is from your kingdom the more money he makes, but if an enemy defeats him then they will take all of his money. Spies can enter an enemy house and become a turncoat, or they can do the opposite and search for turncoats among of your own units. When you are not at war you can have spies set up secret alliances with towns or castles. Noble ladies can be married to towns or castles in order to secure an unbreakable alliance, they can also seduce enemy lords and try to bring them over to your side. Mercenaries are a interesting bunch in this game. You purchase three different mercenary units, men-at-arms, bowmen and calvary, all of which are not as strong as normal unit. Mercenaries can be bought by anyone who has enough money, so it sounds like if you take a mercenary near an enemy, but the enemy has more money than you, then they can buy them no matter what you are doing with them. This is about half of the units in the game, all of which sound a lot like units from Medieval Total War 2, but that could be a good thing for a game that looks a little bland.

A Game of Thrones - Genesis : Official Trailer 

Even with this game four days away from release, there is surprisingly little information and very little actual gameplay shown or discussed anywhere. That is pretty worrisome, but Genesis looks better than how I originally thought it was going to be. The first time I saw this game all I could think of was how they were going to ruin a great series with a poor RTS, but after reading and learning about this game I'm a bit more hopeful. From the tiny amount of combat they have shown, I can say that it looks like it's going to have RTS combat like Age of Empires, but it seems to have the unique and individual units like that of the Total War series, so we will see how that combination turns out. Here's to hoping this is a great game, but the best I can hope for is a good game that is generally fun to play. Genesis will also have eight player multiplayer, one player for each faction, but there is no information available about that. I really hope that this game has a demo, but for some reason that feel's like I'm asking for too much. It will cost $39.99 retail, and it is available on Steam, Green Man Gaming and through their main website (it is by far the cheapest on Green Man Gaming). Thanks for reading and for more information check out the main website.
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-Written by Sean Cargle


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