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Found a recent two-part Telltale interview - Interesting read

posted by Blind Sniper Moderator on - last edited - Viewed by 1.3K users

I found these two interviews from today and yesterday where Telltale talks about their future goals. Part 1 talks about Fables and Walking Dead, while Part 2 talks about other subjects such as Telltale's future, why they cancelled King's Quest, and their new direction. It's interesting overall. I'm posting these here because I am curious about what old and new Telltale fans think of the different views.

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/05/16/telltale-on-wolf-among-us-following-the-walking-dead/
http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/05/17/telltale-on-weird-experiments-revisiting-comedy/

20 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
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    Vainamoinen Moderator

    @coolsome said: I'm gonna play Fables first TTG game I'll play since Sam and Max. I haven't followed the comics but I love the style they have done in the in game shots

    What now, and actually posting coherent comments in the GAME FORUMS again? coolsome, WTF?

    ...to be honest, it would be great to finally see a few more of the general chat bound oldies back in another section...

    @coolsome said: I think that Telltale has stopped making the kind of games I'd like to play

    That's the right way to look at it. I'm only seeing people these days who can not utter a critique of Telltale's present "direction" without dumping on its 'new audience'.

    @coolsome said: ...the belief that Telltale would make another solid adventure game. At least that's finally settled.

    I don't think so. I believe this extreme 'pure interactive story' direction will eventually lead to a cul de sac. And when you reach the end of this street, all you can do is turn around and retrace your steps. It could be quite a while though.

    @coolsome said: What's more, they had implemented some really clever adventure game mechanics. In Season 1, all of the solutions were pretty blindingly obvious. In season 2, some puzzles required lateral thinking. Season 3 had you doing interesting things like considering the uses of the ability to teleport beyond being a mode of transportation. And then, just when they were getting really good at making adventure games, they stopped doing it.

    No, no, not 'just'. Season 3 was absolutely great because it didn't only introduce new adventure mechanics, but could also introduce new mechanics every episode if it chose to do so. That was absolutely great, but don't portray the changes, i.e. the story focus as something 'sudden'. It was always there, it has intensified with almost every game Telltale has made. Season 3 already had a whole lot of cutscenes, a really complex story, and particularly in The Penal Zone, you were thankful when they finally gave you control of Sam again because there wasn't that much of it in episode 1.

    More and deeper story was always the focus, and you can see a very natural development from Bone to The Walking Dead. Season 3 was the game to make you really, really care for dog & rabbit detective team, far more than comic or TV series ever attempted to. And that really was part of its irresistible allure. When Season 3's ending brutally pulled you back into the kind of deus ex machina "whatever" storyline Purcell's comics are kind of famous for, riots broke out among the fans.

    @coolsome said: I also remember reading an interview with Dan Connors where he said similar things and implied that their new audience would have no clue what to do with being put in a room and asked to solve a puzzle, etc.

    Yes, I've read that quote about 100 times. :cool:

    And that is probably the central thing. The player is not solving problems any more. They're still in the game to a degree, they're still solved, or not, or whatever, around the protagonist. If the main character solves them, great stuff, but the player certainly doesn't. I like a full fledged inventory and item combinations as much as every adventure gamer, but I readily believe that a lot of new problem solving paradigms could be implemented with great fun for the ol' adventure game crew which just loves the 'stop and think' moments as the only ones which really make you feel part of the story.

    @coolsome said: Maybe I'm the only one! Game of the Year speaks for itself, and I see why people like Walking Dead - Nice graphics, strong writing, cinematic. I think that Telltale has focused so much on that cinematic feeling, though, that they've moved away from what makes a game a game, and interviews indicate that they intend to move further in that direction.

    Don't fall into that trap. Of course The Walking Dead is a "game", it's just one you and I can not connect to as much. But how could we dismiss these games, games that bring its audience to unashamed tears? It's a moving, it's a strong kind of storytelling. As someone with a degree in literature, I can't just declare this invalid.

  • @Vainamoinen said: No, no, not 'just'. Season 3 was absolutely great because it didn't only introduce new adventure mechanics, but could also introduce new mechanics every episode if it chose to do so. That was absolutely great, but don't portray the changes, i.e. the story focus as something 'sudden'. It was always there, it has intensified with almost every game Telltale has made. Season 3 already had a whole lot of cutscenes, a really complex story, and particularly in The Penal Zone, you were thankful when they finally gave you control of Sam again because there wasn't that much of it in episode 1.

    Story focus is just fine and I agree with you it was a natural progression, but the departure from proper puzzles did seem rather sudden to me.

    @Vainamoinen said: Season 3 was the game to make you really, really care for dog & rabbit detective team, far more than comic or TV series ever attempted to. And that really was part of its irresistible allure. When Season 3's ending brutally pulled you back into the kind of deus ex machina "whatever" storyline Purcell's comics are kind of famous for, riots broke out among the fans.

    Ho boy, I remember that. Y'know, I don't think the last episode of Season 3 works quite as well as the rest of it, though it's still a good and worthwhile entry. I always thought it was kind of odd that they brought the whole story arc - the toybox, norrington, etc. - to a very impressive climax in episode 4... and then had another thing happen. Episode 4 felt more like a final episode to me than 5 did. But that's a totally different discussion.

    @Vainamoinen said: Don't fall into that trap. Of course The Walking Dead is a "game", it's just one you and I can not connect to as much. But how could we dismiss these games, games that bring its audience to unashamed tears? It's a moving, it's a strong kind of storytelling. As someone with a degree in literature, I can't just declare this invalid.

    It's not invalid, I'm just not sure "game" is the word for it. I see a game as an interesting problem or set of problems to solve, at its essence. That's just semantics, I don't mean to dismiss it as a piece of storytelling. The main issue I have is, like you say, I can't connect to it as much. I feel like the game, if we want to call it that, doesn't need me.

    I'm not arguing with you, by the way - I agreed with nearly all of what you said. Thanks for spotting that I never meant to dump on the "new audience;" I hope they enjoy their experiences, but it's really not for me, a longtime TTG fan, and I just felt like venting a bit about that. And I'm done.

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    Jennifer Moderator

    I found this part the most interesting:

    [quote=Kevin Bruner]Yeah, I’d say it’s less puzzle-heavy, but that’s because the core narrative, being a mystery, has more intrigue built into it. I think some of the same questions that a puzzle, in a more traditional adventure games, might pose in your head, like “How am I going to do this?”, it’s more like, “What does this information that I have right now mean?” In some ways it’s like a whodunit kind of thing. I think you feel a lot of the same things you might feel if there were more puzzles, but it’s not a puzzle game, in the same way. I think it’s mentally challenging in the same way as a puzzle game, but that’s more because of the whodunit nature of the tropes.[/quote]
    He says the detective part of the story is supposed to be mentally challenging, at least as much as traditional adventure game puzzles. If that's true, this might be the bridge in the gap between Telltale's old and new direction that they (and we) have been looking for. :)

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    Vainamoinen Moderator

    @Jennifer said: I found this part the most interesting:


    He says the detective part of the story is supposed to be mentally challenging, at least as much as traditional adventure game puzzles. If that's true, this might be the bridge in the gap between Telltale's old and new direction that they (and we) have been looking for. :)

    I really can't see it as optimistic:

    RPS: Compared to Walking Dead, is this even less puzzle-heavy?

    Bruner: Yeah, I’d say it’s less puzzle-heavy, but that’s because the core narrative, being a mystery, has more intrigue built into it. I think some of the same questions that a puzzle, in a more traditional adventure games, might pose in your head, like “How am I going to do this?”, it’s more like, “What does this information that I have right now mean?” In some ways it’s like a whodunit kind of thing. I think you feel a lot of the same things you might feel if there were more puzzles, but it’s not a puzzle game, in the same way. I think it’s mentally challenging in the same way as a puzzle game, but that’s more because of the whodunit nature of the tropes.

    RPS: How does the whodunit part function? Can you make a wrong call? Can you accuse someone who’s entirely innocent?

    Bruner: A big part of the choices that you make is how you interpret the information that you know right now. That’s one thing that’s going to be a lot of fun. The game certainly isn’t set up in a way where it rewards or punishes you for making a call. If you say, “I think all the events that I saw mean this, or this other thing,” it just allows you to express that. The world comes back and says, “Well, if it means that, then this follows.”

    But it’s very non-judgmental. The story allows all that space to exist. It feeds that kind of detective story whodunit intrigue. Okay, you saw this, what does it mean? What we want is for you to say, “I don’t know what it means.” Narratively you don’t have enough information to know exactly what it means. You could say, “I think it might mean this,” and then the story will start telling itself. If that’s what you think it means, we’ll give you a bit of information that reinforces that, or maybe a bit of information that will make you question that, and we’ll take it from there. I think that makes it really engaging. It feels cool.

    So there essentially remains a way for the player to communicate his thoughts to the game, and there is a way for the game to evaluate and give feedback to this communication (again, both VERY important things in the adventure game), but there is no 'result' of that thinking process, nothing is 'solved' with the input the player gives to the game. Best case scenario, Wolf eventually finds out who the murderer is anyway and the player gets a pat on the back for having handed in his whodunit voting paper with the correct answer early. But, oh my, that would possibly be too judgemental of the game, wouldn't it? :(

    Still, the departure from TWD's leftover puzzle mechanic shards must be embraced. You either try to do it right or not at all. I didn't bother 'fixing the swing' or 'getting the cookies', because this was obviously not what TWD was supposed to be good at.

  • @Vainamoinen said: So there essentially remains a way for the player to communicate his thoughts to the game, and there is a way for the game to evaluate and give feedback to this communication (again, both VERY important things in the adventure game), but there is no 'result' of that thinking process, nothing is 'solved' with the input the player gives to the game. Best case scenario, Wolf eventually finds out who the murderer is anyway and the player gets a pat on the back for having handed in his whodunit voting paper with the correct answer early. But, oh my, that would possibly be too judgemental of the game, wouldn't it? :(

    I am skeptical of Telltale's claims. The "difficult choices" gimmick in TTG's manipulative and cheaply exploitative TWD was a sham because, almost no matter what choices you made, the game followed in the same, pre-determined direction.

    With every new Telltale release there is less and less actual "game."

    What disappoints me the most is how many in the gaming press have uncritically swallowed whole Telltale's talking point about how these kinds of interactive movies are the future of adventure gaming and that classic adventure gaming is the past. TTG promotes the self-serving notion that traditional adventure gaming is dead, and yet adventure game fans still continue to support the company and beg them to develop a LucasArts-style adventure, which TTG couldn't do well even if they wanted to.

    I hate to say it, but Telltale Games is anything but a friend to the traditional adventure game community. It's not a company I have a lot of respect for. This interactive movie factory just piggybacks off the popularity of well-known franchises, and I wonder if this is the year we'll see original IP from them.

  • @MtnPeak said: I am skeptical of Telltale's claims. The "difficult choices" gimmick in TTG's manipulative and cheaply exploitative TWD was a sham because, almost no matter what choices you made, the game followed in the same, pre-determined direction.

    With every new Telltale release there is less and less actual "game."

    What disappoints me the most is how many in the gaming press have uncritically swallowed whole Telltale's talking point about how these kinds of interactive movies are the future of adventure gaming and that classic adventure gaming is the past. TTG promotes the self-serving notion that traditional adventure gaming is dead, and yet adventure game fans still continue to support the company and beg them to develop a LucasArts-style adventure, which TTG couldn't do well even if they wanted to.

    I hate to say it, but Telltale Games is anything but a friend to the traditional adventure game community. It's not a company I have a lot of respect for. This interactive movie factory just piggybacks off the popularity of well-known franchises, and I wonder if this is the year we'll see original IP from them.

    Telltale has not said what you're saying they're saying. They're saying it's the future for them. It's going where the money and fame has led them. Many, many people loved TWG because it let you make decisions that reflected you. Be a jackass and the relationships were damaged. Long term you could force Kenny to leave by being a jerk, or come to Ben's aid, a character he despised and a relationship that had grown since episode 3 with pure anger, and in the end redeem those two. You could determine whether Ben fell to his death and completely missed the culmination of that relationship entirely. While the overarching plot ends at the same place, the nuance and details of how it gets there change based on actions, and yeah that's a big deal. When you have people doing Let's Plays and crying because they're so invested in the game, yeah that's a big deal.

    But there are plenty of places to go for point and click adventure games. I don't buy EA games because I don't like shooter games. I buy Telltale games because I like stories. I bought Last Door because I like point and click and horror. I'm going to buy Deponia because I think Daedalic makes decent adventure games.

  • @tim333 said: Story focus is just fine and I agree with you it was a natural progression, but the departure from proper puzzles did seem rather sudden to me.

    Ho boy, I remember that. Y'know, I don't think the last episode of Season 3 works quite as well as the rest of it, though it's still a good and worthwhile entry. I always thought it was kind of odd that they brought the whole story arc - the toybox, norrington, etc. - to a very impressive climax in episode 4... and then had another thing happen. Episode 4 felt more like a final episode to me than 5 did. But that's a totally different discussion.


    It's not invalid, I'm just not sure "game" is the word for it. I see a game as an interesting problem or set of problems to solve, at its essence. That's just semantics, I don't mean to dismiss it as a piece of storytelling. The main issue I have is, like you say, I can't connect to it as much. I feel like the game, if we want to call it that, doesn't need me.

    I'm not arguing with you, by the way - I agreed with nearly all of what you said. Thanks for spotting that I never meant to dump on the "new audience;" I hope they enjoy their experiences, but it's really not for me, a longtime TTG fan, and I just felt like venting a bit about that. And I'm done.

    When you and your friends played tag as kids, was it a game? Is tic tac toe a game? Is basketball a game? Wikipedia defines it as "structured playing, usually undertaken for enjoyment and sometimes used as an educational tool."

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    Vainamoinen Moderator

    @MtnPeak said: The "difficult choices" gimmick in TTG's manipulative and cheaply exploitative TWD was a sham because, almost no matter what choices you made, the game followed in the same, pre-determined direction.

    While I see that as a key problem of TWD, things are not as clear cut here.

    If we define a game as an environment in which interactive elements are key, we would have to define 'choice' as an interactive element, but 'consequence' as an element that is passively experienced. So, by rendering more choice but less consequence to the player, wouldn't you actually make a game more interactive? :D

    @MtnPeak said: TTG promotes the self-serving notion that traditional adventure gaming is dead, and yet adventure game fans still continue to support the company and beg them to develop a LucasArts-style adventure, which TTG couldn't do well even if they wanted to.

    I hate to say it, but Telltale Games is anything but a friend to the traditional adventure game community. It's not a company I have a lot of respect for. This interactive movie factory just piggybacks off the popularity of well-known franchises


    That is a bunch of gross and factually incorrect assumptions.

    1) I don't see any company statement concerning the liveliness of the adventure game. Recent statements made explicit that Telltale is not about to return to traditional adventure game mechanics, but no disrespect was expressed with said statements.

    2) Adventure game fans are rather torn concerning the new direction. I assure you that among the internet communities I am active in - in this respect, Telltale's forums and the German adventure-treff people - opinions differ GREATLY as to whether it's a valid path for adventure games to take. Like it or not, Telltale's 'new audience' contains far, far more traditional adventure game players than you'd ever admit.

    3) Telltale designers have proven that they have a theoretical knowledge as well as a creative grasp of traditional adventure game mechanics as well as a profoundly expressed love for the genre. If they WANTED to, they could beat the LucasArts adventures of old in the ground by employing the same game philosophy. Heck, they could beat Fate of Atlantis hands down if they got the Indy license and were willing to really go for a similar kind of experience. That is, the fuck, the actual reason why the traditional adventure game fans would WANT Telltale and in fact, as you say, BEG them to do it!

    4) Seizing on existing franchises is a wise business move on the one hand, but it has also become clear that Telltale is able to identify key concepts of said franchises and make a better story out of them. The Walking Dead was a franchise they, in my opinion, didn't even 'do justice'. They took the basic zombie story and inserted some decent fleshed out characters with actual backstories instead of the crap Robert Kirkman routinely treats his readers with. They surpassed the franchise (for which, granted, I don't have much love lost).

  • @DAISHI said: When you and your friends played tag as kids, was it a game? Is tic tac toe a game? Is basketball a game?

    Y'know, I'm not sure about tag. It depends on how you play it. The other two are games by the definition I gave (they contain problems you are expected to solve, such as "how do I get this ball into that basket despite the fact that people are trying to stop me?") and in ways that TWD isn't. Anyway, I was talking about video games.

    I don't mean to suggest that my definition of "game" should be everybody's. It's meaningful to me.

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    Vainamoinen Moderator

    If tag's not a game, nothing is. It's even an exemplary skill based one. :o

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