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Telltale and a "masterpiece"?

posted by Edward VanHelgen on - last edited - Viewed by 150 users

I wanted to name this thread "Can Telltale create a "masterpiece"?" or "Did Telltale create a "masterpiece"? What I really want to talk about is where do you see Telltale games in terms of the best adventure games and if do you think they can bring their games even more better.


First, the facts. Telltale has emerged as few of "lone survivors" of the golden years, when group of brave people saw that "a giant" has no good intentions. They "stole" a fire from it's cave and continued to carry adventure flame in years to come.

6 years later, we can safely say that Telltale is one of the best adventure game company around. Success with classic franchises like Sam & Max and Monkey Island can only put a smile to face of a true adventure lover, and it's not everyday that we see a company producing adventure games to acquire popular movie licences as well.

But now, let's go back in past again. When we speak about "greatest adventure games", "masterpieces" if you want, i think many people would agree that there are couple of them that can be safely called like that - that could be for example: Monkey Island 2, Gabriel Knight 1, Day of the Tentacle... someone will of course have other favourites (someone likes more Curse, or Gabriel Knight 2...) but those are some of the games often quoted as the best ones. What means "the best"? It's really a personal opinion, but let's look at what is unique for those that are often called "the best".

"Classic" adventure games certainly share the element of some good stories. Long gameplay and plenty of "background" facts, epicness, rich and meaningful dialogs, plenty of characters that serve the purpose of the story rather than being thrown in... that's all something which is often found in those games.

Next, we have puzzles. Puzzles need to be fun but challenging, while not being too illogical. I'm not using the terms "easy puzzles" and "hard puzzles", which is a subjective take on it. Some will prefer easier, some will like harder ones. And what means "hard puzzles"? It's often said that puzzles of past adventure games, like those in classics, are more harder then in current games. I'll agree with that but to some extent. Adventure games have evolved and there are plenty of factors that make games "easier" - turning on hot spots, simplified interface... but that's not bad really. What IS bad is if the puzzles are just of "casual" difficulty, aimed for big masses and even small amount of puzzles. So, are the puzzles "easier", and if they are, is that maybe one of the reasons that those older games with somewhat "harder" puzzles are above the current "easier" ones?

Now, let's look at Tales of Monkey Island. Is it a masterpiece? I don't know. Hard to say from this distance, and even if we say that it's one of the best adventure game in last 10 years but is it still better than Monkey 2?

Why i say "CAN Telltale create"? Maybe they did create, but i want to bring attention to another point. Can Telltale push the limits after their growth to create even more better game?

Again let's look at "Tales" and it's episodes. Not arguing of episodic concept and whether it's good or not, because it's obvious it's something that Telltale does best, and even Mike Stemmle, back in LucasArst days propheced and had idea of bringing episodic nature which will be distrubuted as downloads, when they were making Freelance Police. The other issue is - can an episodic game, or full game which is completed of all of those episodes be considered as one of the best adventure game in history? Does it stand a chance against Monkey Island 2?

I think yes. As much as i like "regular" games we can't deny that games like Bone, Sam & Max... are great. But, can an individual episode be considered a classic, nevertheless of it's shortness? Or even better, can a full "season" of episodes still be the same as those classics like Monkey Island 2 since even the full season while being epic and long, was still made out of concept of creating separate episodes?

And one another point - is it same that for example - Mike Stemmle is working on one episode, Mark Darin is doing the next... again, does it stand a chance against Monkey Island 2 where three designers worked together at the same time on every little thing, on every chapter?

To sum it up - do you see, or how do you see Telltale games in terms of story, puzzles... along with the best adventure games, and do you think they are even more ready now to bring some of those games?

7 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • I'm fairly certain I'll be replaying their games in a decade's time, so I'd say they make "classics". I don't know about masterpieces, but it's no secret that I'm a big fan. :p

  • Well, as somebody who played adventure games back when they came on 5.25" disks, I definitely think that Tales of Monkey Island stands up next to any of the classic greats, especially when played as a whole -- not only by living up to expectations, but by then standing them on their head.

    I mean, c'mon that ending of Episode 4 and opening of Episode 5? Wow. :eek:

    So yes, Telltale can create a masterpiece, and has already done so.

    -The Gneech :cool:

  • I don't think like Telltale is bringing adventure gaming back. Adventure gaming was never that cinematic. I think what Telltale does is constructing a whole new genre, a genre that only they're developing, so automaticly they're creating the best of what they're expected to do.

  • If we go with what you're saying, though, they're not exactly creating a new genre, they're just taking the existing one and redefining it, changing it, refining it. And that's not something that's exclusive to adventure games and Telltale, either, it's industry wide. Most of us these days expect our games to have a story and a cinematic presentation.

  • I'd say Tales is pretty close to being a masterpiece. If only the first two chapters were more on the level of the last two.

  • @apenpaap said: I'd say Tales is pretty close to being a masterpiece. If only the first two chapters were more on the level of the last two.



    Yet, sometimes I think the "not-so-much's-happening" of the first two chapters was necessary as a lead up to the action in the last 2-3 chapters. I like to think of "Launch" and "Siege" as the getting-to-know chapters.

  • I doubt they have created a masterpiece, or anything close to it so far. There's something about the old time long-form adventure games that episodic gaming can't seem to have properly. Maybe it's all the divisions between chapters, I'm not sure (Maybe they could try creating a version of one of their games without the intro/credits, and instead putting them as a long-form game?), but there's something about the old times sam & max and monkey island games that seem more... epic.

    Then again, maybe it's just because I'm not a kid anymore. But I'm pretty sure the whole episodic vs. long form has something to do. I understand the need for episodic gaming vs. long adventures, since episodes are easier to sell and get revenue faster, but maybe releasing a long form game afterward could help making their games seem like a single game, and not a collection of 5/6 episodes.

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