What Should Telltale Games Tell A Tale About Next?

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.

Willow, the Underworld guard from Fallout 3, talks with the player

Maybe we can play as a ghoul! Or romance one!

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.

Several power-armored Spartans talk with local soldiers and civilians

Or maybe a Halo game where you’re a civilian. We’d learn to appreciate that power armour real quick.

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.

Hogwarts castle in the distance as young students row towards it.

Can’t get much more constrained of an environment than a boarding school where breaking curfew is punishable by giant spiders and dark lords.

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?

About Savannah Winter

White, bisexual transwoman with a passion for commentary, critique, and action on all forms of consumer media, but especially film and video games. I've been gaming extensively for about 13 years and am more than willing to make people uncomfortable by reading them the uncomfortable truths about the things they enjoy. Accountability matters. Identifying problematic tropes and decrying them matters. I want gaming to be an experience myself and others can enjoy without having to brace for inevitable aggression and micro aggression after another.

There are 17 comments

  1. suburbantimewaster

    I think Star Trek would be an interesting franchise for Telltale to adapt. I can also think of a few games I’ve played in the past that would’ve been way more fun if Telltale had made it instead of the companies that did, like Rule of Rose. Yes, I’m well aware that the latter will never happen but I can dream.


    1. Savannah Winter

      I didn’t think of Star Trek. That could be amazing. I dunno if I’d want a new captain, and I don’t know which timeline I’d want to be in. Leaning towards the original timeline, given my dislike for the last two films.

      I haven’t played RoR, though, so I’ll take your word on that one.


      1. Savannah Winter

        True, and what action there is could be handled by Telltale’s engine. We get all of the diplomacy and conflict and heady stuff and it’s awesome.


  2. Nick Verboon

    I’m actually kind of concerned that they are going to stretch themselves too thin. If they just stuck with TWD and Fables I’d be happy, especially if it meant the chapters came out faster. I’d like to see them stick with books and comics, though, rather than existing video game franchises. Games based on Y: The Last Man or Sandman could be amazing. Or maybe something based on Lovecraft.


    1. Savannah Winter

      Well, I’m just talking about if they could. There is concern they’ve been stretching themselves, so I want to avoid that hang-up.

      If we’re talking just comics (which I didn’t think about for some reason), I’d probably go for Batwoman first. I’ve not read that many comics, but from my New 52 experience, hers are generally inoffensive and thematically gorgeous.


      1. Nick Verboon

        If you haven’t read Batwoman: Elegy, I highly recommend that one. I really need to read her New 52 stuff, but I just haven’t gotten around to it. It’s pretty much the only non-Simone New 52 title that strikes me as worth my while.


      2. Savannah Winter

        Elegy was fantastic. I read it before I dove into the New 52 titles, which start out great. I haven’t read the third volume, but I heard it was a bit of a letdown.

        The only other New 52 I’ve read is Wonder Woman. I’ve been trepidatious about reading Batgirl just because the Oracle to Batgirl thing rubs me a little weird. I hear it’s fantastic, though.

        Thinking on it, a Batwoman and The Question Telltale game would be really neat.


      3. Nick Verboon

        Did the New 52 wipe Renee Montoya out of existence? I really liked her as the Question. I got the impression from the Justice League: War movie that New 52 Wonder Woman kind of comes off like Starfire from the Teen Titans cartoon. Is her comic any good?


      4. Savannah Winter

        Not as far as I know (though I haven’t read anything with her in it besides passing mention), but her relationship with Kate Kane is… different now. Trying not to spoil too much.

        I really liked the first two volumes (I don’t usually do individual comics), actually. Looked good, though not as good as Batwoman, and the stuff going on was pretty dang cool. A little bit of fanservice, which I’m not super fond of, but all in all good.


    1. Savannah Winter

      That wouldn’t be a bad idea, actually. I wouldn’t mind working with other franchises, too, but to see them try their hand at a unique canon with which they can actually allow for more breadth and depth of choices would be exciting.


    1. Savannah Winter

      I would be cool with that if it was marketed for the primary demographic of young girls. I could see dude gamers making that all kinds of effed up.


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