'Game of Thrones' Fans Get First Facebook Social Game

Melisandre and Stannis Baratheon
Helen Sloan

Carice van Houten joins the cast as Melisandre, an intimidating woman who councils Stannis in his quest to claim the throne. Stephen Dillane is set as Stannis Baratheon, the older brother of the late King Robert and the rightful heir to the throne now occupied by the newly crowned King Joffrey.

Disruptor Beam is launching "Game of Thrones Ascent" on the social network, which is based on both the HBO TV series and George R.R. Martin’s novels.

Gamers are about to get yet another way to experience bestselling author George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire. Disruptor Beam is developing the first Facebook game based on HBO’s Emmy and Golden Globe-winning series, Game of Thrones. The new social game, Game of Thrones Ascent, will allow fans of the show to connect virtually for a deeper dive into the fantasy mythology.

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“We recognize that one of the reasons Game of Thrones has been so successful is because of its large and ever-supportive fan community,” said James Costos, VP of HBO Global Licensing. “For this reason, we are delighted to give our fans the opportunity to dive even further into the world of Westeros and live out tales of intrigue, sacrifice and deception inspired by the stories they love.”

Game of Thrones Ascent joins several games based on the franchise. Atlus just released Cyanide Games’ PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 role-playing game, Game of Thrones. Bigpoint is developing a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) in conjunction with HBO based on the hit TV series. And now there's a new Facebook game.

“Our game is and will be the only game based on the series to appear on Facebook and therefore will rely heavily on the social functionality of the platform in addition to a strong storytelling element as key drivers of gameplay,” said Jon Radoff, CEO of Disruptor Beam. “Bigpoint’s game is an MMORPG, so as a strategy game Game of Thrones Ascent’s gameplay will be totally different.”

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In Game of Thrones Ascent, players will lead the life of a noble during the time of upheaval as portrayed in the books and the series thus experiencing a new type of game that unites both story and strategy. Players will claim their birthright by choosing which of the great houses they’ll swear allegiance to, securing their holdings, developing their lands and personal reputation, and assigning sworn swords to quests -- while forging alliances with new friends.

“Disruptor Beam is working very closely with George R.R. Martin,” said Radoff. “In fact, our relationship with George was a pre-cursor to the partnership with HBO. After meeting with him initially, he fell in love with the concept of bringing the story and characters from the books and show to fans in a whole new way. As we move forward in the game’s development, we will continue to work directly with him to ensure that we are delivering an authentic experience that is in line with his vision for the world of Westeros.”

Radoff said his team is working in lock-step with HBO on a very regular basis to ensure that the game is in line with the concepts and artistic direction of the show. The game is not currently working with any of the show’s talent on this game.

“HBO is fully supportive of the game and one of the things that we are both really excited about doing is bringing the content of television episodes into the game – in sync with episodes as they air – so that players feel like they are facing some of the same challenges of the characters in the show, but from their own unique perspective,” said Radoff. “While many social games based around TV or film are more ‘advergames,’ one of the differentiating components of our game is that it will not just tie into the show, but that it also stands on its own as a fun and engaging experience for players.”

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The game will allow players to dive even further into the storyline. In the role of a noble lord, players will be faced with many of the political, military and economic decisions that they’ve seen on TV or read about in the books.

“Many existing social games rely heavily on often repetitive actions that involve push messages to a players list of friends,” said Radoff. “With Game of Thrones Ascent, we will be taking players a step further by leveraging the social aspect of Facebook as a means of true collaboration between players.”

Radoff added that the relationships between characters are extremely complex, all with their own unique histories and decisions among them impacting the world. The team has taken this to heart and Game of Thrones Ascent players will rely on others to make certain moral and plot decisions that will impact other players and the storyline of the game.

“There are ample opportunities with dialog and interactive, multiplayer storytelling that are only possible when you connect gameplay to a social graph,” said Radoff. “Some people think social games often mean superficial, emotionless gameplay. But, if we do our job right, we’ll be proving that not only is there a way to build a new type of social game, but it’s a whole new way to play games with your friends.”