Telltale Games makes wonderful choice-based adventure games. What other games should they make?
Folks who know me can attest, roughly, to how much I love Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead. I’ve tried to get into point and click adventure games in the past, but I’d had pretty bad luck. Dreamfall looked like it was going to be amazing, and then I got to the inflatable duck puzzle and I just couldn’t stick it. Telltale’s most recent games have been really great about offering intuitive puzzles and in depth character interactions and choice-based gaming. With their recent move into creating games for George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones and the Borderlands series of games, I have to wonder what other franchises they could work their magic on.
I think one of the biggest things about these games is that they generally need to take place in a small area. While Mass Effect‘s choice driven gaming seems like it would fit, it might be a bit tricky to make a game work given the scope of the games. That said, they might could pull off a game based entirely in the Citadel, as a C-SEC cop, but that might play a little to similarly to their The Wolf Among Us game. Also, the series is known for its character creation, and to remove that might not be well received.
The Walking Dead works, I think, because the story naturally progresses slowly and it’s a situation where every decision has major consequences. Apocalypses are great locations for these kind of games because mobility is difficult and survival is extremely risky. For that reason, I think Telltale could pull off an amazing Fallout title.
Fallout has a strong backdrop so that no one gameplay has to be reflected. Throw on some forties blues and have the protagonist aggressively collecting bottlecaps and everyone will know what it is. The games have been heavily geared towards reflecting players’ choices and this would transition well.
It would be far less shootery than the most recent titles, but I don’t think that’s a problem. If you get the atmosphere right, you could do an excellent Fallout game without making it into a slaughterhouse like Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. Instead, we’d get a character driven story focusing on the hardships and camaraderie somewhere after nuclear annihilation.
Controversial as this may be, I think that Halo might could have an interesting spin-off here. The franchise is no stranger to trying new things, and Halo Wars was a refreshing break from all of the shooter action. They’d have to keep the Flood out to avoid TWD parallels, but I think most everyone was tired of them as enemies anyways.
Have the game revolve around a squad of marines (ODST managed without Spartans, right?) trying to survive on a Forerunner or Promethean world or something like that. I don’t guess it would appeal to a some portion of Halo‘s demographic, but I can’t be the only one who plays the games for the story!
Another setting that would provide a lot of opportunity would be the Harry Potter universe. I’d say that prequels are out of the question because it’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to show significant choices being made when the canon is so dense. You’ll either have to ret-con, which drives fans up the wall, or make the choices so inconsequential as not to really matter.
Instead, make it a game that takes place after the original story. There’d be cameos from old characters, but I’d want a new story and a new way of portraying it. Bring on a new character who has to deal with a new big bad in addition to having to deal with all the drama of growing up in a magical boarding school. They’ll have to have one professor be a jerk, though. Harry Potter just isn’t Harry Potter without the students dreading one class or another.
Because of the number of important initial choices (house sorting would determine peer group and starting friendship levels and so forth), it’d be an ambitious project to take on, unless players were railroaded early on to avoid too many branches. If you add to many choices later, you can prune, but if you start big, you have to stick with it.
Looking at my suggestions, it appears that my choices are all fairly mainstream, and some might say overdone. I can’t necessarily disagree with that. I’m guilty of wanting more stories in my favorite universes. That said, I’d like to hear what everyone else thinks in the comments. Can you think of other franchises, video game, television, literary or otherwise, that would lend themselves to the choice-based adventure game model that Telltale champions?