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Slow down, Telltale!

posted by Diduz on - last edited - Viewed by 798 users

I don't like to play the devil's advocate. Actually, I like to be a fan boy, because it owns! :p

Nevertheless, I feel I should say something about the direction Telltale is going, because some things have happened recently and I'm a bit puzzled about some decisions my beloved company has made. I'll get down some examples in order to back up my thoughts (skip to the end of the enumeration if you're easily bored :cool: ):

1) The first episode of Wallace & Gromit, i.e. Fright of the Bumblebees, was published with a resolution-setting bug everyone was aware of. It seems that nobody wanted to change the release date to correct the problem before getting many users frustrated. I know, release dates are extremely important for the whole Telltale enterprise, but still. That bug wasn't a minor issue.

2) The Strong Bad dvd lacked the audio commentaries and was less rich than S1 and S2 in bonus content. :(

3) I've decided to accept the direct control thing, because I like Telltale games for their script and game-design, but the control systems from W&G and ToMI seem to suffer from schizophrenia. I bought a joypad to enjoy W&G better (unfortunately there was no direct support for it, but I managed to solve the problem with Joy2Key) and it worked. I was expecting that ToMI would feature the same control layout with the hotspot rotation keys, but I was rather surpised to see that a mouse was strongly recommended. I've bought a joypad to accomodate myself to Telltale's new system but that system changed (again). I've also read that the development on ToMI began when nobody knew which control system would have been featured.

4) It's strange that nobody had planned a clear strategy regarding the translations of ToMI, especially considering that W&G has been published subtitled in the four main languages. I don't mean that ToMI should have been published already translated from the beginning, I just mean that a strategy stronger than "We don't know yet" had to be ready.

5) I like the art on ToMI, but it's undeniably simpler than W&G's. I supposed that it was due to the upcoming Wii port, so I didn't complain. I like to play my games on PC, but I'm not anti-console, so I could accept the strategy if this means a broader audience for adventure games. Now I read that the Wii version has a lot of problems and I wonder: why didn't Telltale choose to go Xbox 360 for this? Because they were already making W&G for the Live Arcade? Wouldn't have been wiser to wait for W&G to wrap and THEN publish ToMI for PC and Xbox 360? Or publish ToMI just for the PC, postponing the console ports? :confused:

6) Right now you're working on ToMI, CSI Deadly Intent, various portings and something else we don't know (I guess). I have the feeling you're in overload mode, considering that even the press advance copy of ToMI ep1 was made available really late in the process, and I guess the press evaluation copy of The Bogey Man won't be ready until after the game ships on the 29th.

Why did I loose so much time to write this post?
That's simple.

I think you're going too fast.

Full Throttle :p, granted.
But you're losing something in this rush, you're losing the time to make your creative and commercial choices stronger.
I am worried you could get offended by these remarks, because I know you've been working your asses off in these last weeks, but I hope you will understand I'm not "doing the flamer" here.
I considered you an awesome developer/publisher, but in the last months you just slipped a bit down the chart. Let's say you're now around the "very good still rather trustworthy developer/publisher". :D

I joke because I am not that angry, I've been following you since Telltale Texas Hold'Em and I'm also happy you've risen the difficulty level in ToMI after the relatively easy Strong Bad and W&G.
I'm just worried that you're not allowing yourself the time to grow in the best way possible.

I think that - as a fan - I should express my concerns openly. ;)

151 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • @GinnyN said: About the translation part... I think W&G gets a translation so fast because the primary public for these games are from Europe, and French and Spanish people just can't play a game if it's not in their languaje. For the other side, the primary public for Tales of Monkey Island is in America, so, no need of a translation thing.



    I don't think so... the primary public for TMI is Worldwide, cause Monkey Island is one of the most known franchises in graphic adventures... The reason of having W&G translated it's because Microsoft wants all XBox Live games translated, their localisation teams are who made the translations (and I think this could be one of the reasons for the delays in W&G...).

  • @vacacionero said: Error: Monkey island has a worldwide and old school fan base. All Monkey Island games was translated, even the first ones in 1990 and 1991. This is the only Monkey Island game not translated yet



    Question: How many time that takes?

    Trust me, I'm from Chile and all old school gamers I know were more than happy for the release (In fact, there's a unfinished flash version of Secret of Monkey Island with the original characters replaced with Argentinian ones). But, I think my point still stand (one thing is how big is the fan base, another stuff is the public target). Appart, having 1 game with translations doesn't mean they actually have an actual pipeline for the translations. The only thing that means is they HAVE to do it. (I think is the licensing contract).

    Their developing process is the fastest I know (I wanna know how I become an intern just because I wanna do my Tesis about their Developing Process! But, you see, I have major geographical problems T_T) and change just a little part of that process is not that simple. Probably they will need translators in house or something among this lines, but the other question if it's actually worth the effort. I have no answer for nothing, and I believe they have to still to figure out their answer.

  • Getting to the point where they could output lots of (high quality) episodes in an astonishingly little period of time was always part of Telltale's vision since it was founded. Here's what was in Telltale's head way back in 2004:

    [quote]This is the ultimate goal for Telltale: to be producing multiple "shows" and bringing out regular "episodes" that carry a lower price point and a shorter playing time. Specifics of the pricing and method of distribution are obviously to be worked out in the future, but estimated playing time would be 4 to 6 hours for each episode of each show. This shorter playing time, combined with the fact that the games will be built on essentially the same engine framework (a la Sierra's SCI days), will allow them to come out with much more frequency—in fact, Connors told me that the goal will be a period as short as four months between episodes of any given series, and the eventual goal will be a new Telltale adventure every five to six weeks![/quote]

    Until you actually see issues with quality, there's no point in openly worrying about how much Telltale is developing at once. What they're doing is precisely what their production processes were built to accomplish. Think of how much they were doing even just in 2006, and then consider how much they've grown since. When you build games that are 4-6 hours long with a single, versatile tool designed with rapid development cycles in mind, have production overlap between episodes, and have enough developers that multiple projects can be worked on simultaneously (and perhaps near-independently), the rate at which Telltale is going now isn't that implausible. Although the "breakneck speed" probably does take its toll, I think it's also something Telltale wants. That level of productivity probably plays a large role in profitability when you're an independent publisher and developer.

  • About the translation part... I think W&G gets a translation so fast because the primary public for these games are from Europe, and French and Spanish people just can't play a game if it's not in their languaje. For the other side, the primary public for Tales of Monkey Island is in America, so, no need of a translation thing.



    Well i'm french, and i REALLY don't see the point in getting the translated version if i can keep the original one :p
    And while it's true that a lot of my fellow froggies don't think like me, we ain't SUCH a minority, AND, more to the point, a of other european countries didn't get the "everything is systematically dubbed" treatment and don't mind at all about playing the original games.
    Plus, yeah, saying monkey island appeals mostly to the US gamers is plain wrong. The games are classics, they've had a lot of time to grow almost everywhere, and therefore, as it's been said before me, the fan base is pretty much scattererd all over the world.

    That being said, it's funny because somehow it does seem logical to me than wallace & gromitt gets immediate translation when the other franchises don't... Don't have a clue as to why, tho, and i'm too lazy to think about it.
    So in the end i kinda agree with you, but not at all with your reasons :p

    But as I-forgot-his/her-screen-name said that microsoft want their game translated before porting them to X Box, i guess that could really be the only actual reason.
    Telltale's job is to create the games, not to translate them. They left the local distributors take care of this for sam & max season one, and i guess for everything else as well, and that's for a reason : that's just not THEIR jobs.
    Add to this the whole episodic factor, and it would be pretty hard to get the game released in several language at the same time.

  • Ok, let me elaborate about the Target Public part with an Example:

    A Japanese Company develop a Naruto Game for X platform (It's just an example. I don't really like Naruto. You can replace it with any famous anime and the idea still works). They develop it with with the Japanese Market in mind. So, is only japanese people fans of Naruto? Heck no. I'm still scared of the amount of Naruto Cosplayers everytime I'm going to a Convention (And they are small compared to actual USA ones). But that doesn't mean they have to do the game with localizated versions in all the languajes every Naruto fan can talk.

    It's the same logic: Let's do a Monkey Island game for the USA (and anyone who has a International Credit Card and read english) fans first, and then for the rest of the world. Why not? I don't believe the original were released with all the languajes at first either. And just like Astro Gnocci says, they don't have to handle it too.

    @Astro Gnocci: I have to admit my comment about french people is somewhat biased, but about the spanish people I can be sure by experience. For the moment, my sister can't play any Telltale game without spanish subtitles because the english ones goes way too fast for her. Maybe an option to trigger the next phrase by clicking the mouse (or a button) can help with the Non-Speaking English costumers a bit more (Not as much as a full localization, but will help) and I think will be not that costly to implement compared to a translation.

  • I have to admit my comment about french people is somewhat biased, but about the spanish people I can be sure by experience. For the moment, my sister can't play any Telltale game without spanish subtitles because the english ones goes way too fast for her. Maybe an option to trigger the next phrase by clicking the mouse (or a button) can help with the Non-Speaking English costumers a bit more (Not as much as a full localization, but will help) and I think will be not that costly to implement compared to a translation.



    Well i said we weren't SUCH a minority, but we're still one, so you still had a point there ;). It's true than most french people don't bother, but my main point there was about the "non english speaking world" as a whole (i'm always blown away by dutch people's level of english. Even their 14 or so kids speak english better than me, and i'm 23 :eek:)

    Glad we seem to agree in the end, tho :)

  • Thought I'd chime in.

    Telltale is taking on more projects, but only because we're expanding. There are roughly the same amount of people per project as there have always been.

  • @[TTG said: Yare;172702']. There are roughly the same amount of people per project as there have always been.



    :( There goes my mental image of two people running from computer to computer, making five or six games at a time.

    "Nooo! We just put Max in W&G! How did this even happen!? The game is due tomorrow!! DELETE F***ING EVERYTHING! Get people off the streets if you have to! We need more manpower! Go go go! We don't have time to get the VAs back in! Just pay a homeless guy ten bucks and tell him to sound British!"

  • @ShaggE said: :( There goes my mental image of two people running from computer to computer, making five or six games at a time.

    "Nooo! We just put Max in W&G! How did this even happen!? The game is due tomorrow!! DELETE F***ING EVERYTHING! Get people off the streets if you have to! We need more manpower! Go go go! We don't have time to get the VAs back in! Just pay a homeless guy ten bucks and tell him to sound British!"



    This actually happened once. :(

  • @[TTG said: Yare;172707']This actually happened once. :(



    No need to have a sad face about the day you were hired! :D

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