Will The Telltale Formula Always Work?

Telltale’s adaptation of The Walking Dead franchise was, is and will continue to be a masterpiece. There’s no denying it. Telltale have been in the episodic game game for some time. Since 2006, in fact, with the release of the 5 episode long CSI game. But it was only really after 2012, with the release of the first season of The Walking Dead, A Telltale Game Series, that they received real notoriety and acclaim. Before that, they’d gathered steam with episodic releases from Jurassic Park and Back to the Future – but it was The Walking Dead that propelled them into the spotlight. Since then, they’ve have had their hands on The Wolf Among Us, Game of Thrones, Borderlands, Batman, Minecraft and now, Guardians of the Galaxy.

Exceptions to Telltale’s rule

But just because a series is popular, it doesn’t mean that the formula will work every time. I mean since The Walking Dead, at least, it HAS worked every time. But that doesn’t mean that it will continue to do so. There must be exceptions to the rule, right?

I’m not so sure.

The Telltale formula

In its nuts and bolts, the basic formula is just good story telling. That’s the core. It’s a powerful story told through the medium of a video-game. Sure, that can be said for many games. But Telltale make art with their stories. They’re seasoned veterans when it comes to telling a tale – hence the name. Want to make a Telltale game? Take a strong story and weave a narrative through its characters. Then add in a few shots of action, a sprig of raw emotion, a dash of player decision and a hefty glug of great voice acting. There you have it. It’s a formula that you can pick up and place in a plethora of setting or situations.

Does it work with everything?

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Taken from StickTwiddlers – http://www.sticktwiddlers.com/2015/04/24/top-five-marvel-titles-that-need-the-telltale-treatment/

That said, there are some settings where the formula just won’t work. In sport, for instance. The Journey has been pretty successful for EA on FIFA 17, and the format has been a staple with 2K’s basketball games for some time. But much of that relies on actually playing the games. You can feel the contrast between the story, choosing dialogue and watching character progression, and the game, actually playing the matches. With Telltale, it’s all point and click. There’s never really a time where the story and the gameplay is separate – it’s one in the same. It probably wouldn’t work for an FPS, either. I couldn’t see people playing CoD: A Telltale Game Series, for instance.

The emotional roller-coaster

Their strength is in the story telling. So wherever there’s a tale to be told, you can bet that Telltale would do a great job of it. I’m confident that the next series of The Walking Dead will be fantastic. I’m sure that their adaptation of Guardians of the Galaxy will be great, too. The only thing I do worry about is them spreading themselves too thin. As long as they keep delivering stellar experiences and gripping stories – I don’t really care how many they make!


What about you? Are you a fan of Telltale’s style of video game? Let me know in the comments below!