Back to the Future. Jurassic Park. The Wolf Among Us. Game of the Thrones. Tales from the Borderlands and of course, the Walking Dead.
These aren't just licensed games. These are interactive stories. These are the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books from our youth in video game form. These are adventure games. These are Telltale Games.
In the past few months, I've played through The Wolf Among Us, Game of Thrones Episode 1: Iron from Ice and Tales from the Borderlands Episode 1: Zer0 Sum. In each case, I've walked away from the game not only thrilled with what I've played, but awfully excited about what was next. For my money, Telltale is one of the only video game developers out there I feel is consistently going to put out a great *story* in their game. That is what makes a Telltale game so very much it's own thing.
Telltale, is of course, not perfect. They have had their issues in the past (and the present) with save file corruption, occasionally buggy gameplay, performance issues (happens to the best of us) and the always enjoyable graphical glitches. These issues generally seem to be resolved, maybe not with the greatest speed, in a relatively reasonable amount of time. They're no different from any other studio in that regard. Everybody has glitches now and again but you have to ask yourself if the game and the developer are worth sticking with. In the case of Telltale, the answer for me is an unequivocal YES!
The thing about Telltale Games that really tickles my fancy isn't the graphics and it isn't the gameplay.
It's the writing and the stories.
For every licensed game Telltale produces, the love, care and deference they give to the source material is unmatched. They keep those worlds intact but play around inside of them, never breaking the already established rules. They build new characters into stories where interactions with fan-favorite characters is the norm. And it works. It never feels out of place and it never feels like pandering. The writers at Telltale do their homework, they take their time fleshing out these new characters, and make certain that they fit the world. We're allowed to become connected in a deeper, and possibly, more meaningful manner than ever before with some of these characters because of those writers. And with Telltale games, your choices *matter*.
Getting to *know* a character who will interact with Tyrion Lannister in Game of the Thrones, playing AS Marty McFly while you work through an alternate past in order to get Back to the Future or going through the emotional roller-coaster with young Clementine as she struggles to survive The Walking Dead is incredible. But, it's incredible because Telltale's writers stay true to the license. They stay true to the characters, be them new or existing. They make sure the story they're telling and the dialogue options presented are in-line with how the character would respond or react. That is a feat unto itself. It's "easy" to take a license and just write something in order to utilize the world. It's more difficult to get into the head of a character, especially one that exists in a different medium and even more so if they are played by an actor. The writers are forced to think about not only the main protagonist but every other interaction that will exist. They have to know how the world around them works, how the people talk, what they talk about and then *know* how our hero would respond. That's something special.
Telltale Games is a studio that continues to go strong into the adventure game world. With new licenses and games being announced what seems like every 6 months along with the new investment in Telltale Games from Lionsgate, I think there's a lot to be excited for in the near future.
I don't know if the adventure game will ever hit the high it had early in the genre's life, but if it does, I think Telltale Games will have a lot to do with it. And for me, that is _______
- exciting! Feel these nipples!
- pretty good news, I guess.
- probably going to hurt my wallet more than I want to admit.