Atlus has announced that it is to produce an action RPG based on the HBO series Game of Thrones, itself based on the award-winning fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, releasing the first screenshots ahead of a 2012 launch.
Developed by Cyanide Studios - a French development house with offices in Paris, Montreal and Chengdu best known for sports titles including Pro Cycling Manager and Games Workshop fantasy football title Blood Bowl - and published by Atlus, the Game of Thrones title is scheduled for release in early 2012 on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
Featuring an original story written under the supervision by ASOIAF author George R. R. Martin, the title is expected to feature a 30-hour single-player mode in which gamers will enter the world of Westeros as one of two original characters - both former soldiers of Robert's Rebellion - to fight the war for power of the Seven Kingdoms.
"The Game of Thrones television series and the A Song of Ice and Fire book series it is based on represent some of the most captivating, original medieval fantasy and drama ever created," claimed Shinichi Suzuki, president and chief executive officer of Atlus's parent company, Index Digital Media.
"Its amalgam of bitterly antagonistic rival houses, deeply nuanced characters, intricate political machinations, and breathtaking fantasy - all set within a richly storied world - offers unparalleled realism and raw emotion. We are honored to work with HBO, Cyanide Studios, and the great George R. R. Martin in bringing an exciting action RPG set in this beloved fantasy universe to fans and gamers in early 2012."
The company promises that players will have a chance to interact with recognisable characters and locations from the series, and that decisions made within the game will cause dramatic differences in how Westeros evolves. A new feature dubbed 'active slowdown tactical combat engine' will also appear, whereby combat slows to allow for tactical decisions to be made without ever fully stopping and becoming turn-based.
Although Cyanide's heart might lie in sports simulations, it's not the strangest choice of companies to develop an action RPG: in 2007 it released Loki based on Norse, Greek, Egyptian and Aztec mythologies, and while that title didn't do terribly well - garnering only slightly above average review scores - that didn't stop the company announcing work on a second RPG entitled Of Orcs and Men earlier this year.