[dropCap]S[/dropCap]o TellTale made it big last year. The Walking Dead was a run-away hit, bagging the awards and raking in the moolah; and It finally turned TellTale into a big time player. You can see the aspirations of the company rising as they offer not 1, not 2 but 3 different games in 2014. As a rule of thumb we consider ‘Strength in Number’, but is TellTale doing too much by putting their eggs in so many baskets?
Come 2014, TellTale is going to release a plethora of games. The 2nd season of The Walking Dead is beginning soon, the 1st season of ‘Wolf Among Us’ will also continue in 2014. Add to this the 2 new franchises ‘Game Of Thrones’ and ‘Borderlands: Tales of Borderlands’ will also be kick-started in 2014.
That’s 4 different games. We already know ‘Wolf Among Us’ is an episodic point and click adventure game. We also know ‘The Walking Dead Season-2’ is going to be another episodic adventure. So I think its safe to say that both the ‘Borderlands’ and ‘The Game Of Thrones’ games will be episodic in nature as well.
So, if every game has atleast 5 episodes (considering TellTale’s modus-operandi). A simple calculation will tell us, that we can expect atleast 19 episodes (deducting the already released and reviewed Chapter 1 of the ‘Wolf Among Us’). This amounts to 1 episode per month, and even more than that in some.
Will the past haunt the future?
Expectations are high for the ‘Walking Dead’. That game swept most gamers and critics off their feet, and no-one would be expecting any less from the second season. The story of ‘Clemetine’ has to be mind-blowing enough to keep gamers in their seats for the duration of the season. People can be extremely judgmental, and can reject even good games, if their first impressions are not satisfactory. Given the success of season 1, expect ‘The Walking Dead Season-2’ to have a longer rope than usual. But the new season can be forgotten pretty quickly, if the first 2 episodes are not able to find the balance between recreating the old game and still offering something new.
What would YOU choose?
‘Wolf Among Us’ has its own problems. At every point it will be compared to the ‘Walking Dead’. The features, the game-play, the style is all very similar to the ‘Walking Dead’. The only thing setting it apart is the ‘Story’. Now Episode-1 was good, even stand-out, but already we could see critics compare the game to its iconic zombie forefather. While it might have been a good idea to offer ‘Wolf Among Us’ as a filler until the 2nd season of ‘The Walking Dead’ was ready (the series could have established itself and even flourished), it remains to be seen if the game can survive direct competition when the user has a choice between say the episode 3 of ‘Wolf Among Us’ and episode 2 of ‘The Walking Dead’.
In this times of increasing Quantity, can we expect TellTale games to give us consistent if not increasing Quality?
TellTale has been all over the place announcing games. At the recently concluded VGX, they announced ‘Tales Of Borderlands’ and a brand new game based on the ‘Game Of Thrones’. It makes you wonder, if TellTale aren’t doing too much. One can safely presume that there would be different teams working on different projects. But there are 2 problems with that assumption:
- This would mean that TellTale games have increased their manpower exponentially, which would increase the risk and cost of each episode of each game.
- This means that the original creators of the ‘Walking Dead’ are either not working on all the games, or are divided into teams. Neither of the scenarios are ideal.
Add to this the saturation which might be created for the adventure genre, not unlike something which happened way back in the late 90s when every 2nd game was a point and click adventure. The Walking Dead was a refreshing change, but will the others hold out or be condemned to cheap rip-offs riding TellTale’s past glory.
Why So serious?
I am particularly worried about ‘Tales Of Borderlands’. Each of the other 3 games are set in dark, gritty universes which put focus on the ambiguity of morals and decisions. But the Borderlands universe is very tongue in cheek, ‘devil may care’, ‘do bad things’ and ‘shoot and then talk’ kind of a place. How will TellTale be able to create a meaningful tale in a place where death is trivial and little girls play with bombs.
The optimistic advocate
This may all be much ado about nothing. TellTale games may produce a stellar year. They couldn’t have timed it any better that’s for sure. This year is bereft on any huge titles. No Halo, No Uncharted, No GTA (nothing announced yet atleast). So it wont have to compete against giants. What also needs to be considered is the fact that because of the episodic nature of TellTale games, a gamer might end up buying all the episodes if he buys the first even if it is to get 100% gamescore. So, TellTale really needs one great episode per game to really lure in a gamer and the money.
What do you think. Is TellTale games eating more than it can chew. Or is this their first steps towards becoming a full blown AAA development house. Are too much episodic adventure games bad for the genre. Or you can just get enough of them. Sound off in the comments.