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Suggestions for Improving Telltale Releases

posted by DomeWing333 on - last edited - Viewed by 2.8K users

There have been quite a few negative threads on here lately pointing out some of Telltale's perceived shortcomings in terms of communicating information about game releases to their customers. While I sympathize with many of these, I'm not sure how helpful they are in actually trying to bring about change to the system currently in place. I realize that some people might just be permanently pissed off at Telltale for mishandling these releases and that's fine. But I, for one, do not want to have an antagonistic relationship with my game company. I like Telltale. And I want to keep liking Telltale. But in order to do so, some changes need to be made.

So I've made this thread for us to all brainstorm ideas on how Telltale could improve their relationship with their fanbase. Now let me be clear: this is NOT a place for people to vent about they feel about the company. Any post you make in here should calmly identify a problem you see in Telltale's business model AND provide a reasonable solution to it that they could implement. (And no, "hire better/more employees" is not valid suggestion.)

To start off, I think Telltale needs to be more straightforward with their release schedule.The 4-6 week estimate that they've given has simply not been met by the majority of their recent releases. This has caused some Season Pass buyers to feel that Telltale has reneged on what they thought was a promise to them as customers. Whether or not the 4-6 week time-frame was actually a promise, I think that 6-8 weeks is a lot more representative of the actual time between episode releases. Furthermore, I think they should more clearly state that whatever estimate they give is not a binding promise and that some episodes may simply take longer to produce than others. With this in mind, I'd like to propose that for future releases, Telltale should include a statement like this to better inform those purchasing a Season Pass exactly what they're signing onto:

"While we here at Telltale strive to deliver our game products as quickly as possible without compromising their quality, the episodic nature of our business model produces a degree of uncertainty in the timing of our releases. In the recent past, we have been able to release episodes in a season within 6-8 weeks of each other, with the period between the first and second episode of a season usually being the longest. We are constantly trying to refine our development schedule to meet and improve these benchmarks. However, there are times when we may require more time to polish an episode to meet the high standards we set for ourselves. In purchasing this Season Pass, we hope that you understand this mission of ours and we thank you for your patience in allowing us to provide the best possible gaming experience for our customers."

That's all I have so far. What other suggestions do you guys have? But again, please try to keep things constructive in here. If you have something negative to say about Telltale or their business model, there are plenty of other places in which to do so. Thanks.

102 Comments
  • I think they should have at least the 1st 2 eps finished before they release the game. Would allow timely releases and still be able to make some changes to the later episodes based on feedback.

    • That's a good suggestion, but the problem I see with it is that if they are completely done with an episode and intentionally delay its release, fans would be even more angry about waiting than they are now. Currently, (most) fans can at least accept that they can't play the next episode of a season for a few weeks because it's just not done yet. I don't know if they would be willing to accept being forced to wait to play the episode when they know for sure that it's already done. I feel like Telltale would get even more people annoyed at them for not releasing the episode.

      • Well they wouldn't say we've finished episode 1 but we're not releasing it. They would just release the 1st episode after they completed both episodes.

      • Exactly, people are getting annoyed at the moment with the time spent waiting for the next episode, if telltale did do 2 episodes at once and delayed even more it would just create more complaints. People need to realize it takes a lot of effort to make these episodes and it's not going to come like that but I do agree telltale should be more interactive with the fans about the episodes.

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    OzzyUK Moderator

    I agree with the 6-8 weeks estimate as that seems closer to what season 1 took to release, it seems like it takes them 4-6 weeks to make the game but the extra 2+ weeks is the authorization process with Sony and Microsoft (unless they change the story like TWAU which caused a huge delay) the delay for Smoke & Mirrors hasn't helped TWD Season 2's release schedule which seems to be running slightly late due to the delay.

    Telltale also need to do more fan interaction and fun blog posts, maybe showcasing good fan art or competitions (Clementine's hat or key art posters would be an amazing prize) All they seem to do is retweet articles and only post mundane things between releasing episodes of their games, by doing things like i suggested it could create a more positive atmosphere in the forum while we are waiting for the next episode rather than people getting annoyed by the wait and lack of communication.

    • That's an awesome idea. I know Laura/puzzlebox retweets fan art she particularly likes every now and then, but having actual competitions would be an excellent way for Telltale to interact with the forum. It doesn't even have to be a competition with prizes. they could just have weekly roundups of all the fanart submitted on here and post the best ones or (if they ever bring polls back) the ones with the most votes on their Facebook or Twitter. They could even do music video competitions. [coughs] [coughs]

    • Agreed. Interaction is the key, Telltale already has this site for starters. I wish though they'd respond quickly, directly, precise and truthfully from their updates not like the ones they had with TWAU Ep 2, which caused a bit of a stir.

  • I may be out on a limb here but am I the only okay with the releases? Yes okay I'm not happy about waiting but good games take time to release. The one time with the last wolf among us episode was too long but they said they had special problems with that episode.

    I do think they need to give people updates a bit more often but honestly I'm okay with the releases

    • I'm fairly okay with the releases as well. but there are still things that could be done that would make me more okay with them.

      You mentioned updates. What kind of updates would you like to see? Nitty gritty production details like "Still working out a weird bug with Clementine's hair" or more general things like "We're mostly done with the episode"? I guess they can't really specify when they've reached the approval process since fans apparently went and harangued Microsoft and Sony the last time Telltale did that.

      • What's wrong with posting on twitter "We're halfway through the episode", or "We've just finished the episode"? People are tweeting them all the time with updates so it doesn't matter if they decide to say updates or not.

  • Just like @OzzyUK stated, more interaction with the fans over small things such as more competitions would be nice.

    ...Which brings me back to this: bring back the connectivity that TT had with the S1 community, even if just as a bare minimum. I loved Playing Dead, the stats trailers, and even the accolades trailers. They went a long way as opposed to waiting for a TT staff member to post a screenshot of the new episode. I'm pretty sure a lot of things would be more tolerable if small implements like these were taken.

    • I really want the stat trailers for 400 Days, TWAU and TWD S2. DO IT TELLTALE!

      • Yeah, I can sorta understand them not doing Playing Dead anymore since the game is already so well-known (although I do miss those), but the stat trailers seem like something they should keep showing because it lets us see all the hidden choices that they were tracking. I want to know how many people pinky-swore Sarah, goddamn it!

  • I'd say the best thing they could do is keep updating the fans on how the game is going. A simple "It's half way done" comment on twitter is better then just saying "SOON", because fans get annoyed when they see "SOON" because they don't know when the game is coming out. Just saying where the episode at would please a lot of people because they would know where the episode is currently at.

    • I agree. To me a simple email or courtesy update would be nice as a general customer service etiquette. "Soon" is too ambiguous and creates more confusion than reassurance.

    • It might be difficult to really pinpoint a "halfway done" point when producing a game like this. It might take 2 weeks to finish 90% of the episode and 2 more weeks to just work out all the little kinks to get to 100%. And then maybe one little detail forces them to have to go back and redo some of the parts they already worked on. So while it would be great if they could give us an estimate of how far along the episode is, I'm not sure if they could really say how done the game is at any single point in time.

      • Good point DomeWing333. A definite progress status may not be possible but keeping their supporting fans happy with courtesy would be appropriate if for nothing more than out of respect. Perhaps an approximation or rough estimate of how far they are complete. Any information is better than silence or a generic reply.

    • You actually should though, GOUSTTT. I'm curious to know if you agree with my suggestions for how Telltale could improve their relationship with fans or if you have any suggestions of your own.

      • All i ask of Telltale is better communication & updates 1 or 2 times a week.

        • What if there's not much to update you on? If they dive into specific details, that might spoil some things and I already mentioned that they might not be able to pinpoint exactly how much work the game still needs. Would you still want semiweekly updates if they consist of only "Still working. The game's not done yet"?

          • What i mean by updates "1 or 2 times a week" is how much of the Episode they finished, Not spoilers lol

            • Even just percentages or vague wildly innacurate guesses at a release date just once per week. It would at least entertain me watching their PR person's estimations swinging all over the place as actors got sick, came through early, massive bugs, etc.

              • I am curious how often Telltale's own internal guesses at their release dates change over the course of production. I wonder if they get an office pool going at the start of every development cycle.

                • these 'weekly updates are kinda stupid imo, if they did say how it was going, people would then assume it will be released in a certain time frame, and then complain when it wasn't out/why it took so long. if it's this quick then it won't be a long episode or very good etc etc..

                  also despite the game being made and finished it still needs to be tested/certified and then distributed and the non disclosure agreements prohibit them/ttg from giving out information on that. beyond a 'rumour' or crafty worded post..

                  not to mention if the testing then highlights a big problem that breaks the game/makes it unplayable or a story element isn't working out.. they would then have to back pedal/track on any previous update relating to time frame for release.

  • I don't know about Wolf Among Us (I don't play it), but Walking Dead episodes come out as they finish. Maybe estimated dates, or have a few episodes done before releasing the first.

  • For one, refund any disgruntled TWD S2 buyer who bought the game on the explicit promise of the 4-6 weeks release timeframe.

    You do realize this was the FIRST TIME EVER they promised a timeframe. None of their older games or TWDS1 or TWAU had "4-6 weeks" mentioned.

  • I think one thing they could do would be to simply tell us when they have submitted the game for certification etc. That would allow us to to go "oh ok, so we should have it in a week or so" and it also takes the onus off of TT as we no longer think "damn them they haven't told us anything, were not gonna get it for weeks grr". Wasn't there a tweet or something doing this for S2E1?

    • If you mean stuff like mature content certification, those aren't really great indicators of when an episode is going to be released. I remember puzzlebox mentioning something about how they sometimes submit things to be certified before actually finishing it if they have enough content in there. For instance, "All That Remains" was certified on December 4, which means that it had to have been submitted at least a week before that.

      If you're talking about getting Microsoft and Sony to approve their episode, apparently there was an incident before the release of Episode 2 of The Walking Dead Season 1 where Telltale mentioned that they had sent the game in to be approved and a bunch of fans spammed Microsoft and Sony, telling them to hurry up and certify the game. Telltale doesn't want that to happen again, so now they kind of leave it unknown when exactly they've sent the game to third parties.

  • Sugestion 1: ACtually release the episodes and don't just tease about them...

    Suggestion 2: Telltale should release some information on how the game is doing... It would improve the fans love and expectations from the game and people would allways have something to talk about in forums. Example´: "Hey, just sent the episode for the platforms test" or "Some modifications being made in the episode so it can be even greater!!"

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