Telltale Games are quickly solidifying themselves as one of the most exciting studios in the video gaming industry. The team has cultivated a story-telling prowess that few can rival. The Walking Dead: Season One took the gaming community by surprise when it first sauntered into digital store fronts in early 2012.
The series confronted players with that most elusive cornucopia in gaming: a good story. Clumsy mechanics were quickly forgiven for such evocative melodrama. Few games were so emotionally powerful; no game of 2012 was as gripping. That’s saying a lot for a game that would be more at home on Netflix. The melancholy misadventures of Lee and Clementine were just too intense to pass up. An excellent 2013 effort in the name of The Wolf Among Us has assured that Telltale aren’t just a one hit wonder, either.
From the shaky beginnings of Back to the Future and Jurassic Park, Telltale have risen from strength to interactive strength. Amidst whisperings of Season Three and abstract teasers for Game of Thrones: A Telltale Series, the future of interactive TV looks bright. Telltale have etched out a niche that many will no doubt attempt to imitate in the future. For now, however, they still remain the kings of the TV/game chimera playground. With this in mind, the Power Up Gaming team have eloped once more to come up with a list of the series we most want to see realised in cel-shaded goodness.
Now, for the boring part, the criteria: just picking our favourite shows isn’t good enough. Not every show works in interactive form. The tight, intricately woven worlds of Breaking Bad just don’t cut it. The series ripest for interactive licenses work because they allow for artistic license. Think The Walking Dead: post-apocalyptic America is open for just about any jaded hero to battle his demons, a hero and ensemble completely unacquainted with Ranger Rick and his band of tired pillagers. Anything can happen in the morbid expanse that is Westeros; so too can (just about) anything happen in the seedy worlds that head our list of series that Telltale need to administer the point-and-click treatment to next.
Inspired by the film from which it takes its name, the Machiavellian plots of Fargo are characterised by salacious webs and backstabbing North Dakotans. Ensconced by heavy snowfall (there’s a metaphor in there, somewhere) characters enact cops-and-robbers scenarios with, more often than not, very bloody consequences. A generous sprinkling of dark comedy seasons melancholy reflections on life, sin and human nature nicely. Fargo kept us guessing right until the very end when it first hit the small screen earlier this year; just one series in, it has already done enough to solidify itself as one of the most exemplary TV series of all time.
Writer Noah Hawley has pledged that every season will be headed by a completely new cast. Fargo’s one-shot-series format would complement Telltale’s tried and true development cycle perfectly. The malicious mental machinations that lurk in the morally ambiguous world of Fargo pit the series perfectly for a Telltale takeover. What better way to incite morally taxing cognitive conundrums than to force the viewer to make the decisions for themselves? Stepping into the worn boots of Lester Nygaard’s spiritual brethren is all the selling we need. Watching your fate unfold in the final episode according to your deceptive proficiency throughout could truly be a thing of beauty. Following up the near-impeccable collective efforts of Hawley and the Cohen brothers themselves is a formidable task, but one we think Telltale is more than capable of doing justice.
Telltale: we expect the royalties delivered (cash only) in the coming weeks – you’re welcome.
George Lucas, Hasbro and (soon to be) Disney have all already run Star Wars into the ground. Why shouldn’t Telltale be able to take a crack at salvaging this Gungan-filled wreckage? The final nail was surreptitiously planted into Lucas’ brainchild’s coffin long ago; it’s about time a talented team had a crack at unleashing this beast.
The mention of Star Wars in the video game world is enough to make many feel queasy. The beloved series, after all, has, for the most part, left behind a legacy of virtual disappointment. Whether it’s via cancellation or downright mediocrity, interactive Star Wars licenses have always had a penchant for letting down legions of starry eyed fans. Much like their big screen counterparts of late, these games unwisely focus on lavish budgets and laborious battle sequences, not what made the original trilogy so great.
This is where Star Wars: A Telltale Series has the opportunity to be truly great. A brash, glorious return to the space-opera days of old would be facilitated perfectly by an episodic format. Telltale has never been afraid to stray away from video game clichés of mindless killing and end bosses: this is exactly the treatment an authentic Star Wars game needs. An emphasis on unforgettable characters in the vein of Clementine and Darth Vader is just what the doctor ordered. The rich, nebulous expanse of space offers unlimited possibilities for epic and emotional storytelling.
If the shelving of Star Wars: 1313 is anything to go by, Disney will be looking to outsource their Star Wars games in the future. Ladies and gentlemen: brace yourselves. Star Wars: A Telltale Series could actually be a thing.
Seinfeld (Yes, really!)
Telltale already lays claim to the monopoly upon interactive TV drama. So, as the question on every sane individual’s lips goes: why not seize the interactive TV comedy monopoly? OK – maybe this isn’t the question on everybody’s lips. But we, at least, think it’s a pretty damn pertinent one. Most video games these days pride themselves on being way too serious. In an industry which features a showreel of one ridiculous controversy after the next, a bit of comedy might just be what we all need.
As one of the most forerunning comedies of all time – what better show to inject a bit of elation in to our squalid hearts than Seinfeld? A fully fledged comeback show is long overdue, and a cel-shaded haze is as good a way as any to watch Jerry, George, Kramer and Elaine attempt to negotiate the minor annoyances of modern day life. Cheaper, truncated episodes could offer addictive, instant gratification. Witnessing the hilarious implications that befall the cast as per the player’s decisions in the face of life’s every-day dilemmas could be sublime. Wilful imaginings of Kramer pursuing increasingly unorthodox methods to repair his bent iPhone 6 Plus beg to be realised.
If we had it our way then Telltale would be karting out new series like Nintendo does Pokemon. We’d even be interested to see what this distinguished team could come up with outside of any established series. A purpose-built, true, Telltale Original could really provoke these creative folks to produce their best work yet.
Do you love Star Wars, Fargo and Seinfeld as much as we do? Do you feel obligated to dispel our heresies, and point us toward a much, much better series? Do you have your very own ingenious matchup in mind? Then direct all your wildest interactive TV yearnings toward the comments box below.