Developer Telltale Games has been on an amazing run these past few years, releasing fantastic story-focused games like The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, Tales from the Borderlands, and Game of Thrones. Just like the best movies and TV shows, these episodic games feature memorable characters and intriguing plots. The effect is kind of like watching a TV show that you control.
Apparently Telltale isn’t done innovating on the adventure game genre yet. The company has just announced its latest project, an entertainment package that will entwine TV and video games even further.
The project will be Telltale’s first new IP, meaning it’s not based on a pre-existing franchise. The company hasn’t announced what it will be about, but so far it’s the project’s format that sounds interesting. The upcoming project is part of a deal with Lionsgate that will introduce a brand new game format for the company: the “Super Show.”
According to Telltale CEO Kevin Bruner in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, “A ‘Super Show’ episode combines one part of interactive playable content with one part of scripted television style content. Both pieces, when combined together, are what make an actual Super Show ‘episode.’”
He goes on to say, “Both parts are first class citizens during the writing and design process. It’s not an interactive series with a show, or a TV show with a game, but a story integrated in a way that only Telltale can do. For us it’s a very natural evolution of the interactive story telling expertise we’ve pioneered.”
Furthermore, for any given episode of the Super Show, it won’t matter whether you watch the TV part first or play the interactive game part first. “If you play the interactive episode first,” Bruner says, “certain elements of the scripted episode portion will be tailored to reflect some choices made in your interactive play through. If you watch the show before playing, some elements in the interactive portions may be presented differently than if you played first.”
From the sound of it, the Super Show episodes will be available on a wide array of devices, from game consoles to PCs to tablets and mobile phones, just like all recent Telltale games. Such a wide release ensures the largest possible audience for game. New episodes will be released periodically, but on a regular schedule (unlike episodes of most Telltale games, which come out at unpredictable times).
It’s difficult to envision what a Super Show will be like without experiencing it firsthand, but Bruner has high hopes for the upcoming project. “Our goal,” he said, “is to create products that have a legitimate chance of winning both a Golden Globe and a Game of the Year.”
This won’t be the first title this generation to mix a game with a TV show. Quantum Break is an Xbox One game scheduled to launch this year with a similar setup: You’ll play a portion of the game, then watch an episode of the accompanying live-action show, and wash, rinse, repeat. One difference is that Quantum Break will not be released in an episodic manner.
Other recent or upcoming TV shows and video games have overlaps as well. Halo has a live-action miniseries called Halo: Nightfall, and Nintendo and Netflix are joining forces to create a TV show based on The Legend of Zelda.
As odd as this Super Show might sound, it’s worth noting that Telltale has released a series of fantastic games over the past few years, without a clunker to be found. If it can bring that same talent to this new series, chances are it will be well worth a look for fans of games and good TV alike.