On #TheDopeness, we look back on specific things within the worlds of gaming, hip hop, and pop culture and discuss why they’re special to us. On this installment, I touch on TellTale Games and how they’ve unlocked a new tier of entertainment.
TellTale Games has been around for a very long time, much longer than many of their new fans realize. With designers previously employed by LucasArts, TellTale was founded in 2004 with the episodic formula we all now know and love as the foundation of their company. From Sam & Max to Jurassic Park to Back to the Future, the TellTale crew has been tailoring their pedigree and are now at their prime. After The Walking Dead took many Game of the Year awards, the team hit the ground running. The adventure genre has been around nearly since the inception of video games, but TellTale had found a way to innovate.
Doing Licensed Content Justice
It may seem like so long ago, but there was a time when taking licensed material and crafting a game was a running joke. Whether by way of comics, film, or tv shows, no one was safe (not even Batman). TellTale has so quickly and concisely made this a non-issue, I don’t think we were fully aware of the transition. Sure, games like that other Walking Dead game exist but we’re in a new day. Even mobile games have improved when it comes to licensed content, but TellTale has snatched up beloved franchises and is representing them well.
It’s one thing to have the license to various franchises and put a good game together. It’s a testament to the brilliance of their partnerships that they can use the adventure game format that doesn’t change too heavily from game to game, but still capture the spirit of the source material while adding entirely new adventures and characters to them. Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead maintain their dark, exciting drama while Tales from the Borderlands retains the great humor and action Gearbox has become known for.
While it’d be a disservice to not mention other devs providing quality licensed titles (cheers to Rocksteady), a key to TellTale is the incredible webs they…well…we weave. While laying the framework down, TellTale allows players to make crucial decisions and sway the happenings of their games. Though there’s an understood story to be told that we can’t truly branch away from, it’s a treat to manage the inner workings of these stories and their ever intriguing characters. Throughout all this, gamers will be hard pressed not to find characters that will leave a lasting impact.
And while these games are single player, they’ve managed to instill a social experience reminiscent of other forms of entertainment. There were countless times throughout the 2nd season of The Walking Dead where me and a few friends would discuss the decisions we’d made and see how things differed for one another. The brief summary at the end of each episode also gave insight into the thoughts of players worldwide, letting you know what percentage shared in your decision or not. Though no legitimate multi-player is involved or expected, subtle touches like that enhance the experience that much more.
Evolution of Entertainment
I’d like to declare, if you would so let me, that we are in the Geek Golden Age. Comics are improving and characters evolving everyday, Superhero films and (good) television shows are becoming the norm, and much of it exists in a persistent universe. Marvel is currently the better example of this, allowing their television characters to be affected by happenings in the films (and possibly vice verse in coming story lines).
I say that to say this, TellTale is giving us another means of experiencing worlds we’ve become quickly engrossed in. While Marvel and DC have us splitting time between television and film, TellTale has us shaping a digital world to accompany our graphic novels. While the Game of Thrones episodes run concurrent with the television series (its a really big deal that they have the actors doing the in-game voices), The Walking Dead and Wolf Among Us allow us to experience stories that branch off from TWD comics and Fable respectively.
With great attention to detail that can only be the product of passion, TellTale is helping to bridge the gap between video games other entertainment mediums. The future is bright. The future is limitless. I’m no Minecraft fan per-say but, if TellTale is involved, I am there. Now, to get Marvel/DC to hand them the rights to some of their lower tier heroes and villains…
What do you think about TellTale’s presence within the gaming world? Are there any partnerships you’d like to see them involved with? Share your thoughts in the comments below.