Strong writing is almost always what ultimately makes or breaks a video game, but it’s especially important in a game that’s as narratively-driven as Reigns: Game of Thrones.
What’s interesting about Reigns: Game of Thrones is that each of its various plots involving characters from George R.R. Martin’s book series are designed to play out much in the same way that they would in HBO’s live-action adaptation. Given that Game of Thrones hasn’t finished airing (and Martin has yet to finish his book series), it makes each Reigns: Game of Thrones story fascinating, if only for the fact that they might just be hints about how everything’s going to be wrapped up.
Like the original Reigns, the Game of Thrones iteration is all about the precarious balance of power necessary to successfully maintain a monarchy in a land that’s always on the brink of war. What becomes very clear as you begin to dig deeper into the game’s plot lines, though, is that all of Game of Thrones’s remaining power players could legitimately be the ones to finally take a seat on the Iron Throne. And that happens in ways that would totally make sense for the series’ ending.
In Reigns: Game of Thrones, you technically play as Lady Melisandre, who divines multiple scenarios about Westeros’ future that you experience as a series of decision-driven events. After choosing one of the game’s nine would-be rulers, you’re tasked with making a handful of decisions that all culminate in an attack of White Walkers from beyond the wall. Depending on the choices you make while playing through, said attack from the White Walkers can either herald the end of all things or be the beginning of the period of political stability.
Daenerys is the first character you’re actually able to play as in Reigns: Game of Thrones and, out of all of the game’s plots, hers is the most straightforward – which makes it seem as if it might not actually be how HBO’s Game of Thrones comes to an end.
Should you survive as Daenerys long enough to trigger the game’s final stretch, it turns out that the only way to survive the coming winter is by partnering with the Lannisters or the Starks – Sansa or Tyrion, specifically – to act as a fellow dragon rider in the final conflict with the White Walkers. It’s an outcome that gels somewhat with the theory that Tyrion might be a secret Targaryen, but again, it feels a little bit too convenient of an ending for an ongoing story that’s known for its melodramatic turns of fate.
Jon Snow’s path to surviving the winter is one of Reigns’ more complicated puzzles and involves a fair amount of interacting with other characters. After spending some time as the ruler of Westeros, you eventually receive a raven from Daenerys explaining that a thief has stolen an item of great importance from the Warlocks of Qarth and is now hiding somewhere in King’s Landing. Ultimately, you learn that the thief is posted up at a nearby tavern and the valuable item is Valyrian dust, which you can buy from him and bring back to the castle, where Samwell Tarly will study it and realise that he now knows how to forge Valyrian steel.
With this information, Jon can then task a blacksmith to create Valyrian weapons which, as luck would have it, are exactly what the kingdom needs to defeat the frozen undead once they arrive.
As interesting as Cersei’s path is, it also seems somewhat unlikely that it’s how Game of Thrones will end, considering that we’ve already seen her using wildfire to make a major play for the throne.
While meeting with your small council to discuss the oncoming winter, you have the choice to ask your pyromancer to begin investigating new ways to create and store wildfire – something that will give you the opportunity to construct a new generation of wildfire-powered war machines. Should you survive for 10 moons after setting the pyromancer to his task, the war machines are yours to command and they’re exactly what you need to defeat the Night King and his dreaded army.
The key to winning the game while playing as Sansa is through diplomacy and bringing all of the kingdoms together to pool their collective resources. After learning of Jaime Lannister’s presence nearby and capturing him, you’re given the chance to go speak with him in the dungeons. Should you answer his questions correctly, you can move forward with plans for Sansa to marry into the Lannister family.
But Sansa’s marriage to Jaime can’t move forward until King’s Landing is at peace with all of the other ruling families, and, depending on who you happen to be at war with while playing the game, that means there are multiple paths to success which all require different actions. Gaining the Greyjoys’ trust comes after you make one of them your new Master of Whispers, but the Lannisters will only join you after you offer them money. The Martells’ attention merely needs to be guided elsewhere in order to bring them over to your side, and the Starks require a simple visit in order to reaffirm your alliance with them.
Once everyone’s feeling copacetic about their partnerships, Sansa’s wedding to Jaime finally happens and together, the kingdom’s families unite to wage war against the undead.
Though Jaime might not be everyone’s first choice to become Westeros’ next ruler, his journey to the throne in Reigns is the kind of melodramatic nonsense that makes perfect sense for Game of Thrones.
Of course, because this is Jaime we’re talking about, the plot involves Cersei, though not in a way that she’d likely be happy about. After being alerted by Tyrion that Cersei’s been captured, you have to put her on trial for her many crimes and then decide to sentence her to death. This prompts a number of people throughout the kingdom to begin to believe that Jaime is the reincarnated Azor Ahai; accepting this as your fate inspires the seven kingdoms to unite, which makes it possible to defeat the White Walkers.
Much like with Cersei, Tyrion’s rise to power relies on using his cunning to outwit those around him.
While chasing after a cat somewhere deep within the castle, Tyrion eventually discovers that his pyromancer has been experimenting with wildfire without his knowledge. But, reasoning that it might be a good weapon to have at his disposal, he tasks the pyromancer to create more of it.
When you begin playing as Tyrion, a raven gives you a cryptic hint about how he survives the winter and it involves the Gods Eye – the largest lake in Westeros. When prompted to make a decision about what to do with all of his newly-developed wildfire, Tyrion can choose to stash it beneath the frozen surface of the Gods Eye. Eventually, the White Walkers show up, Tyrion launches his trap, and blows them all to hell while they’re attempting to cross the lake.
Gendry’s rule is one of Reigns’ more interesting paths, because it involves a number of plot elements that have yet to be fully explored in the televised series.
Interestingly, Gendry’s success is contingent on his alliance with Arya, who reveals her presence within King’s Landing after you successfully complete a memory mini-game. After reestablishing his connection with Arya, she will take her leave for Braavos where the mythic Horn of Winter has been discovered; eventually she brings it back to King’s Landing where it remains until the White Walkers arrive. Blowing into it during battle awakens a number of giants who turn the tide of the fight and allow you to defend the kingdom.
Arya’s rule as queen is hands-down the most satisfying of Reigns’ narratives from a storytelling perspective. Arya ends up on the throne not by being named the rightful heir, but by assassinating Cersei, wearing her face, and then posing as her. This is Game of Thrones at its ridiculous best, especially when you consider that, should this be the direction the show takes, we’re going to see Lena Heady do her best Maisie Williams pretending to be Cersei, which is just rich.
Much to everyone’s confusion, Arya-as-Cersei makes a point of striking an alliance with Jon Snow and Sansa, who quickly learn of their sister’s scheming. This pact unites all of the kingdoms and makes it possible to take on the army of the undead.
Reigns’ final plot line doesn’t actually focus on a specific character, but rather on the already-established importance of dragonglass, which is one of the few substances capable of easily destroying the White Walkers.
After making it all the way through the game using every other possible ruler, you’re tasked with mining as much dragonglass as you possibly can after a new deposit of it is discovered. In this scenario, it’s important to maintain all of your resources long enough to mine the dragonglass and fashion it into weaponry--while also not letting the kingdom go to war before the White Walkers show up.
There no telling which (if any) of Reigns’ plots might be pulled from Game of Thrones or Martin’s books, but it makes a certain degree of sense that elements from each of them might eventually pop up. All there is to do now is wait until we, like Melisandre, can gaze into the flames once again and finally learn how this epic story is going to end.