Cyanide Developing 'A Song of Ice and Fire' Video Games

Heaven (or Westeros) help us, it seems someone's finally landed the video game rights to George R.R. Martin's Hugo-winning "Song of Ice and Fire" series. Who? No one you know. Probably.

As in Cyanide, a French game studio comprised of former Ubisoft employees and known for their -- wait for it -- sports games. Well, that and the Games Workshop fantasy American football parody Chaos League, as well as the upcoming Blood Bowl remake for Windows, Xbox 360, PSP, and Nintendo DS.

What's that add up to? It looks like Cyanide's secured exclusive rights to develop "A Song of Ice and Fire" video games for both consoles and PCs. That's the whole series then, from A Game of Thrones through the upcoming long-MIA fifth volume, A Dance of Dragons.

"And," teases the press release, "in collaboration with George R.R. Martin, development has begun."

"We are all huge fans of 'A Song of Ice and Fire', so it is a true honour for our teams to be entrusted with creating the first video games inspired by this masterpiece," said Patrick Pligersdorffer, Managing Director of Cyanide. "The twists and turns of the plot will allow us to deliver an experience which can be enjoyed by both long-time fans as well as gamers new to the series."

It's not the first time someone's nabbed a gaming license for Martin's critically lauded series, just the first video game license. Green Ronin actually has the rights to the recent pen and paper reboot, Fantasy Flight Games publishes a collectible card game that's been around forever. Not a game tie-in, but there's also been recent rumbling about an HBO TV series.

Never heard of the books or George R.R. Martin? For shame. Or maybe you have, but you're not on negotiating terms with "fat" fantasy, in which case -- I hear you.*

That said, while I'm told Martin loses his way in the most recent installment, what I've read of the first doorstop was impressively cliche-defying. Think virtually no-magic Medieval Realism -- not to be conflated with virtually no-medieval Magic Realism -- and twice as interesting.

As a bemused aside, one news outlet tainted their nod to the press release by calling Martin's series "refreshingly light on orcs and goblins." Hey guys, try no orcs and goblins in the books. Dragons, yes, as well as the occasional monster, but mostly of the "humans behaving badly" sort.

Predictions for the game: Originally planned for three or four installments, it'll balloon into something like eight or nine iterations. That, or they'll just go full-on MMO with it, though you'll get Part One: Epic Character Creation, then have to wait a couple years for Part Two: The Actual Game. In the meantime, the developers will start -- not a blog -- but a "virtual-hangout-journal-space-thingy" where they'll regale us with stories about their favorite NFL picks.

Chances we'll see the games before we see George's next book? Magic 8-Ball says: "Outlook good."

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Matt Peckham

PC World (US online)

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