'Game of Thrones: Ascent' Comes to Facebook, Puts Farms to the Torch

'Game of Thrones: Ascent' Comes to Facebook, Puts Farms to the Torch

By Carol Pinchefsky for Forbes 

Have you ever had a friend brag about his Farmville farm and thought, “I would so love to take an axe to your field?” If you have, good news: When I asked Jon Radoff, the CEO and Founder of Disruptor Beam, the creators of the upcoming social game Game of Thrones: Ascent, if I’ll ever have to plant a crop, he said, “No, but you might burn a crop and raze someone’s land.”

He had me at “burn.”

It seems that in the Facebook Game of Thrones, you Like or you die. And I’m already liking it. Really, I never thought I’d say that about any game on Facebook, home of the Skinner-box-y  Farmville and the recent CelebrityMe, which rewards you for, egads, clothes shopping. It isn’t because my literary hero George R.R. Martin has been involved with this game since its inception…because writing a fantasy saga, A Song of Ice and Fire; overseeing two other videogames (A Game of Thrones: Genesis, an RTS, and Game of Thrones, an RPG); and scripting the occasional episode of HBO’s hit TV series based on his own currently-unfinished-damn-him-get-back-to-writing books, just isn’t keeping him busy enough.

No, I’m excited because it uses my  favorite mechanics in video gaming: moral choices and consequences, just like BioWare, the makers of my all-time favorite video games, Knights of the Old RepublicMass Effect, Dragon Age, and others. When you choose one of several options (and if these options are similar to the series, we’ll have opportunities to scheme, lie, cheat, fornicate, and/or kill), all of these actions will have far-ranging ramifications.

Didn’t like the outcome and want to reload? Too bad. There’s no killing your ally for the lulz and going back to a saved game.

In a move that will keep fans of the books and television show on their toes,GoT: Ascent will integrate events from the HBO series, so as the show progresses, new game content will appear. We’ll also be interacting with characters from the series. Now fans like me want to know if we’ll be joining Tyrion as he makes his way to a brothel.

Well, perhaps not a brothel, but it seems that every other action from the book is up for grabs. In a recent LiveJournal post, the author wrote, “I saw several early versions of the game demonstrated, and Jon and his designers took great pains to make sure the flavor of the novels is here. I saw alliance building, treachery, marriages, murders, and most of all the constant struggle to be the greatest house in Westeros.”

As of now, there’s no word on the release date or even when the demo will be available. And to vague it up for you, Radoff hinted that GoT: Ascent may be released on other platforms, but he didn’t say which or when.

But I’m genuinely interested in GoT: Ascent for the exact reasons I’m uninterested in other Facebook games: They’re basically Skinner boxes–games that you play not because they’re fun but because they’re addictive. These are the games that are designed to hook you with simple yet repetitive tasks and then punish you when you don’t play. GoT: Ascent may be a social game, but the developers have made it their mission to swim against that tide.

No word on the Joffrey-slap minigame.

This is an excerpt. Click here to read the full article on Forbes.com.