Narrative Designer Jonathon Myers discusses the “Anti-Social Game”
Game of Thrones Ascent Narrative Designer, Jonathon Myers recently sat down with Gamasutra to discuss the creative process in a live story-driven game.
Myers' first assignment on the project was to determine first steps when it comes to adapting a fervent fanbase and an obsessively-detailed universe for the world of Facebook gaming: "I was tasked with setting out how we could translate the experience of the books, tv show and universe into an interactive narrative experience," says Myers.
"The first step was fully immersing myself in the material and taking notes on the primary experience so that moving on from it into the interactive would result in authenticity, which is a major design principle," he says. "The huge web of characters is a space in which you can get lost, and spending even a little time on the wiki will prove that. All characters are surrounded by family, friends and enemies who all want to tug at or push each other in the pursuit of power."
"Characters in the series are frequently confronted with difficult moral and ethical decisions that define them as characters, he points out. "Once I realized that is what it's like for a character to live in Westeros and play the Game of Thrones, it was clear we needed to offer that exact experience as authentically as possible while also allowing players to experience the people, places and events of the Ice and Fire universe they love," says Myers. "The dense lore is the universe, and it's available as a space in which characters (playable and non-playable) can live."
"When it comes to the Facebook space, the team hopes to leverage the series' existing environment of social conflict -- which Myers believes comes to bear especially in today's age of political conflict in the Western world, where many people turn to Facebook to state their positions. "Take away the cat videos, up the stakes to life or death, displace those interactions into a medieval setting and you've got the roots of Westeros," he says.
"In our game, we're offering a chance to step into a role and play out those alliances and social conflicts in a story and character-driven environment that is ready-made for it," he adds.
"We've claimed that we're actually an 'anti-social game', and players will be able to backstab each other to their heart's content," he adds. A goal for his team is to deliver on letting audiences experience the primary themes of "power and obligation."