Checkpoint: 'Game of Thrones' and the promise of closure

Telltale games released its season finale on November 17. (Courtesy/Telltale Games)

The biggest complaint most gamers had after playing the concluding episode of Telltale’s “Game of Thrones” was the lack of closure. Several characters march off into the woods as the screen fades to black. However, my theory is that it was not laziness on Telltale’s part that resulted in this unsatisfying conclusion, but rather a long term plan to continue creating stories and content in the “Game of Thrones” universe as the show and books continue to flesh out the world, which I’ll call “multi-generational storytelling.”

One thing Telltale loved to do with the first season of their “Game of Thrones” game is to insert popular characters like Tyrion Lannister and Jon Snow into the story. That’s not just lip service to the television show either, as Telltale clearly wanted to immerse the player in the world of Westeros and Essos and make them feel like they’re playing through a story that could be from author George R. R. Martin himself.

Some might call it lazy to take characters from the show rather than create new compelling characters, but I don’t think that’s the case. Rather, Telltale wants to make the Forresters a significant part of the “Game of Thrones” world. Being able to talk to characters that we know and love, or hate in some cases, makes the original characters that Telltale has created feel like they have a meaningful role in the world.

So now that Telltale has a meaningful place in the future of “Game of Thrones” as far as video games are concerned, the next priority for Telltale should be making sure they stay involved, since the show and book series is far from over.

The fact that the game opens with the infamous red wedding, arguably the most significant event in the entire series, is a sign that Telltale wants to incorporate events from the show into their game. Mira is present for the purple wedding, another huge event in the series, and Asher directly participates and fleshes out the conquest of Mereen.

Telltale is deliberately inserting its characters into major events in the series, but we still haven’t answered why Telltale would end the first season on what must be considered a fairly low note.

I’m not part of the Telltale development or managerial team, but if I were speculating, and I am, I would say that Telltale has spent the first season developing a small core cast of characters and they plan to expand on them in future seasons. It’s not something Telltale has really done before.

“The Walking Dead” is the only Telltale game to have a direct sequel, and only two characters are brought from the first season to the second in any meaningful capacity. For gamers who have played Telltale’s previous titles and expected a similar level of closure, “Game of Thrones” ends with some extremely disappointing moments. Almost nothing is resolved, but I have too much faith in Telltale’s storytelling abilities to think that this wasn’t on purpose. I think this is part of a bigger scheme by Telltale to keep creating future seasons of “Game of Thrones.”

So, will Telltale’s scheme to keep creating content as the show progresses work out in the long run? I certainly don’t know. Telltale has proven very adept at taking wildly different genres and creating high quality point and click adventure games, but I don’t know if a direct sequel where multiple storylines will have to be continued and concluded will work.

Telltale has never had the resources to really try before, however, so I’m curious to see if it will work. When “Game of Thrones: Season 2,” or whatever they end up calling it comes out, I look forward to seeing if multi-generational storytelling can work in the gaming industry.


Edward Pankowski is life editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at edward.pankowski@uconn.edu.