With the news that Game of Thrones Season 7 won’t be on the air until next summer, Thrones fans have a long wait to know whose Westerosi buttocks will grace the Iron Throne when the dust settles. The variety of fantasy literature available to fill your time during Game of Thrones‘ TV hiatus is immense. But if you’re the kind of fan who likes to feel truly immersed in the story, it might be you could find some satisfaction in turning to some great fantasy video games instead. We’ve found the best game series to scratch your Game of Thrones itch, looking for fantasy titles with similar themes, heroic central characters, and good replay value. With some help from howlongtobeat.com, we’ve also run the numbers on how much of that void you can fill with gaming goodness. If you add them all up, the time will fly from here to Game of Thrones Season 7. Here are five game series that will keep your frozen, fantasy-starved heart warm while you wait for next summer’s Westerosi winter.
Final Fantasy Tactics
There’s trouble in Ivalice. The world of Final Fantasy Tactics is at war, and a corrupt state religion is manipulating events behind the scenes. You assume the role of Ramza, a knight-in-training who finds himself swept up in a push to stop the machinations of a small group seeking ultimate power. For a game originally released on the PlayStation, Tactics shows a remarkably complex plot. The updated War of the Lions port for PSP, iOS, and Android brings a brand new translation that shows off writing as moving and intelligent as some of the best episodes of Game of Thrones.
Later entries in the series Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift are not as impressive in terms of story, but the gameplay and graphics got some great upgrades. As in Game of Thrones, religion and powerful noble houses dominate the political landscape and it makes for compelling drama. The turn-based, small squad combat is easy to pick up and offers surprisingly deep strategy.
Who Is it For?
Pretty much anyone. This is the most readily accessible of the games, being available as an inexpensive download from the App and Google Play stores. Advance and A2 are a bit harder to come by, but they can be played on a Nintendo DS.
Total Series Playtime: 226 Hours for War of the Lions, Advance, and A2.
Platforms: iOS, PlayStation, PSP, Android (Tactics Advance and Tactics A2: Gameboy Advance and Nintendo DS)
The Fire Emblem series represents tactical RPG combat at its finest. You assume the role of a military leader and command vast armies vying for control of a continent called Archanea (or Ylisse in later titles in the series). Much like Game of Thrones, the war-torn universe of Fire Emblem is perilous, and it is populated by an enormous cast of characters. And also like Game of Thrones, when a character dies in your game it is usually permanent.
The series has long been a favorite franchise in Japan, and devoted fans in the U.S. and Europe successfully lobbied to get the games distributed overseas as well. There are currently 14 games in the series, with the most recent entries landing on the Nintendo DS and 3Ds. Seven of those titles are readily available outside of Japan, most recently Fire Emblem Fates.
Fates is the first game in the series to offer two completely different story arcs, though you’ll have to purchase both Birthright and Conquest to get the complete tale. Fortunately, the alternate story is available as DLC in both versions of the game. There is also a third campaign available as DLC, Revelation, that explores what some fans view as the true ending, where the protagonist didn’t choose the path with either of the warring kingdoms.
Who Is it For?
Fans who like characters on both sides of the story. Fire Emblem shows the prowess of heroes on opposing sides, and the sweeping conflict offers many names and faces to remember and root for.
Total Series Playtime: 245 hours (includes all titles on Gameboy Advance, Nintendo DS, & Nintendo 3DS)
Platforms: Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, Gameboy Advance
The Banner Saga
The Banner Saga and its recent sequel transport you to a fantasy world inspired by Viking mythology. You command a small band of troops fleeing the onslaught of a dark and menacing Dredge horde from the frozen wastes beyond the realms of men. It has a massive cast of characters, and like Fire Emblem, the death of a character can have momentous consequences for the story. The art of the game is beautiful, and the turn-based combat can make for dynamic shifts in the course of a battle. Many players compare the art style to classic Disney animation, making this game a spectacular fairy-tale-come-to-life that you won’t soon forget.
Who Is it For?
Fans of the frozen North, particularly the Free Folk. The landscape of The Banner Saga is bleak and beautiful and you’re on a desperate run to survive. Combat is intense and rewarding, and the story benefits from multiple playthroughs as you try to keep your followers alive.
Total Series Playtime: 27 hours for both titles.
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4, iOS, Android
The games in the Dragon Age series have developed a rich fantasy setting in the world of Thedas. The series has a deep cosmology, compelling magic system, and detailed character creation and dialogue. The first game offers remarkable replay value as the story takes different shapes depending on the character you choose to play. There are certain to be elements of the games that will satisfy fans of all stripes. Players will recognize many similar plot elements (fighting Darkspawn is a lot like fending off the undead hoards of the White Walkers) and the robust dialogue choices help illustrate the difficulty of leading effectively in the face of terrifying odds.
The great thing about these games is that your choices follow you. Starting with Dragon Age: Origins, you begin to create a different world with each action you take, all the way through the last DLC for 2014’s stunning Dragon Age: Inquisition. If you stick it out to the most recent entry, you’ll even get your very own throne from which to pronounce judgment #LikeAKing (or Queen).
Who Is it For:
Fans of Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. The zero-to-hero narrative that is at the heart of all of the games mirrors the meteoric rise of everyone’s favorite bastard scion of a noble house and princess-in-exile. Make your own “prince that was promised” and save the realms of Thedas.
Total Series Playtime: 183 hours for Origins, Dragon Age II, and Inquisition; 234 hours with all DLC and extras.
Platforms: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC
Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series
The final title on our list is so obvious it shouldn’t need mentioning. Telltale Games’ excellent foray into the Westeros of the TV series is a first-class example of a game capturing the look and feel of its source material. You assume the role of various members and vassals of House Forrester, disgraced after the murder of Robb Stark at the Red Wedding. Telltale’s foray into Westeros puts you right into the heart of the intrigue. The game lets you interact with fan-favorite characters such as Tyrion, Margaery, and Jon Snow, and cross paths with the vile Ramsay Bolton. From Meereen to the far north beyond the Wall, it opens up new, previously unexplored lore. It’s a nail-biting romp through a troubled kingdom that lets you really see if you have what it takes to win, or if you are doomed to die as an unsung pawn in the great game.
Who Is it For?
Everyone who loves Game of Thrones. This game plays like an episode of the TV show, and House Forrester is an excellent surrogate for the Stark family.
Total Series Playtime: 13 hours (but you’ll need to pace yourself – it gets intense).
Platforms: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, iOS, Android, PC
Shortening the Long Wait for Game of Thrones Season 7
Beyond the vague promises of summer 2017, there’s no official date for the debut of Game of Thrones Season 7. Fortunately, the games above present you an easy way to fill that time between compulsive binge-watching sessions of Seasons 1-6. If you were to play every game discussed above it would take you around 534 hours. Played straight through, that’s a total of 22 days you can cross off of your countdown calendar. However, if you pace yourself, averaging 2 hours a day, you can stretch that game time to 267 days. That will get you all the way to 2017! With patience, devotion, and access to a game system or two, you can easily fall in love with a new series while you wait for next summer to come.
Editor’s note: All playtimes were calculated using the Main Story + Extras totals listed on howlongtobeat.com