The computer game rights to A Song of Ice and Fire have been sold to French developers Cyanide, it was announced today.
Cyanide, an independent video game studio, and George R. R. Martin today announced their partnership to create the first-ever video games inspired by the author’s award-winning, international bestselling ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ fantasy series. Under the terms of the agreement, Cyanide has obtained the exclusive rights to develop ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ video
games for next-generation consoles and PC, and 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", stated 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." Published most notably by Bantam Books in North America and Voyager Books in the United Kingdom, the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ novels have been translated into more than twenty languages (including Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian) and have been nominated for numerous prizes. Set in a world where nothing is simply black and white, the rich web of characters makes it an ideal background for numerous genres of video games. ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ has already been adapted into a card game and a board game. More recently, HBO acquired the rights with the intent of turning the novels into a television series.
Cyanide are a relatively small-scale developer who are best-known for the well-received Chaos League and Blood Bowl fantasy sports titles (the latter a Warhammer tie-in game).
This news is both welcome and of minor concern. On the welcome side, fantasy books aren't often signed up for being turned into computer games and they have a surprisingly good hit rate. The three games based on the Discworld novels were all pretty good adventure titles, the Betrayal at Krondor RPG (based on Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar novels) was excellent and even the 1999 Wheel of Time game was reasonable, considering the difficult circumstances it was made under.
On the minor concern side of things, and I stress the minor, Cyanide have never had a project of this scale to handle before, and given that both Relic and BioWare (the premier PC real-time strategy and RPG developers respectively) had cited the books as influences recently, there was some reason to hope that a major studio with a large budget would be interested in the project. However, smaller studios have a certain amount of creative freedom that larger, more financially pressured ones do not, and small or new studios have certainly come from nowhere to produce an amazing game before. The Creative Assembly, for example, were only known for porting EA sports games before developing Shogun: Total War, which came out of nowhere to revolutionise the strategy game genre in 2000.
At this time, no further information is available on the title, such as what the game's genre will be or the expected development schedule. For a modern multiformat game, unless they've already been working on it for some time before the announcement was made, it is likely to be at least a 1.5-3 year development cycle, depending on genre.