Currently, Telltale Games is a titan of the video game industry. Their games are met with both critical and commercial favor, and the fans always seem to be hungry for more.
Having already made games based on the likes of such properties as Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, The Walking Dead, Fables, Game of Thrones, Borderlands; as well as upcoming games based on Marvel Comics, and Minecraft it is clear that companies are lining up to get the Telltale treatment. With good reason, as nobody does story in video games like Telltale Games. Their plots are epic, their characters are fascinating, and you are constantly being forced to make decisions that no one should have to make. At its best, a Telltale game is simply a riveting experience from beginning to end. Their stories are so good, that they very deftly make you forget the sometimes crippling technical issues that their games can sometimes suffer from. Though to be fair, there have been vast improvements in both performance and gameplay, particularly since the generation leap. It’s always so fun to see what’s next for Telltale, and I’m sure everyone has at least one dream project you’d like to see them do. Here’s my personal list of six IPs I’d love to see Telltale Games tackle.
Something completely original
Ok, let’s start with the elephant in the room. Yes, it would be really cool to see Telltale create their own world in which to tell a completely original story. And it would provide them with a launch pad for a series of games they’d have unlimited creative control of. Yes, that would be nice, and I’m positive you’ll see them do that at some point in the future. But that’s not the point of this list, we’re here to talk about pre-existing worlds we’d love to see TellTale do their own take on. Ok? We all good here? Moving on!
Beavis and Butt-head
Ahhh Beavis and Butt-head the saddest yet quite possibly the truest examples of the sticky underbelly of generations X and Y. There is evidence to be found that there is some life left in Mike Judge’s dumbest sons, evidenced by the all too short, but extremely on point revival of the popular 90’s tv show.
The duo already have some history in being the focus of video games, particularly with Beavis and Butt-head for Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo. The game basically played out as a console version of a point-and-click adventure, the very genre that Telltale has revived and evolved. While Telltale has dabbled in comedy in the past, and continues to do so in Tales from the Borderlands, and the upcoming Minecraft: Story Mode I think they’d hit comedic gold with Beavis and Butthead. Most of Telltale games have epic stories driven by high stakes such as surviving the zombie apocalypse, time traveling to save your reality, and not being eaten by dinosaurs. I think the comedy in a Beavis and Butt-head game would be able to take a low stakes plot, and give it the epic treatment Telltale is known for.
Playing out as a modern version of Leisure Suit Larry, Beavis and Butt-head are just looking to finally score, and along the way we’re treated to over the top quick time events of incredibly mundane tasks such as them frying up some burgers at Burger World, wrestling on their couch over the tv remote, and perhaps a game of the infamous Frog Baseball (note neither Middle of Nowhere Gaming nor myself condone Frog Baseball). To quote the sophomoric duo, “Huh huh huh this game would rule!”
The Saw franchise has a mixed reception within the movie world to say the least. While I agree wholeheartedly that over time the story in the Saw movies got more and more muddled and underwhelming, and they focused more and more on the franchise’s signature torture porn death trap scene, I do strongly feel that Saw still has redeeming qualities. The initial idea was great, and so was the first movie, the story was clearer, the movie focused more on a mystery rather than horrific scenes of violence, though, when they were used, the death traps were used to great effect, on top of that, the ending was simply jaw dropping. The original Saw was innovative and stands as one of the best horror movies of its time.
Saw is no stranger to the video game world either. Saw: The Video Game, and Saw II: Flesh & Blood (Saw II: Electric Boogaloo would have been a much superior title), were a set of disappointing games because they had some strong points, and were close to being something really cool, but just fell short. Needless to say, I feel that Saw is ripe for the picking for Telltale Games.
Saw would work really well in the Telltale format as it’s a world where stakes are life and death and terrifyingly imminent. Escaping Jigsaw’s traps would involve making it through tense quick time events, frantically searching your environment, and solving puzzles in a desperate attempt to stay alive. Character interactions would illicit a sense of paranoia as you don’t know the agendas of the other characters, and it’s always possible Jigsaw has a player in the game. And to top it all off, Telltale’s Saw would feature epic choices that help determine who lives and who dies including yourself and at what cost. Because Jigsaw always intends there to be a way to win the game, but the question is if you are willing to do what it takes. “You don’t know me, but I know you. I want to play a game.”
Sons of Anarchy
Kurt Sutter’s biker drama has just recently ended within the last year, but the love of FX’s smash hit seems to persevere as everyday someone new is being turned on to the series. The town of Charming California would serve as a future setting for a Telltale game. The world of Sons of Anarchy consists only in shades of gray. The “good guys” are a group of drug running, weapon toting outlaws, and more often than not the “law” in the series looks the other way, knowing that for all their problems, the town would probably be worse off without the motor club.
Playing with moral ambiguity is right in Telltale’s wheelhouse, and I think they could craft a gripping story set in the town of Charming, and the world of the Sons of Anarchy. Often times you would be left with no “good” choices, just “bad,” or worse “choices,” and there is no way of knowing the far reaching effects your actions have. Character would be king as in the world of SOA, you have to have allies, or you’re most likely dead. Your actions would determine your brothers in arms, your enemies, and who ultimately will have your back until the bitter end.
Telltale would have a lot of flexibility with what they’d like to do with a Sons of Anarchy game, as you could easily set it after the series, or as a lost storyline somewhere in the midst of the show, or even as prequel to the show following the life of Jax Teller’s father. The action sequences would feature the same brutality that Telltale has aptly featured in past games (the fight scenes from The Wolf Among Us come to mind), and their recent work on Tales from the Borderlands has shown they are up to the task of providing us with some over-the-top motorcycle battles. I think a game like that would have a lot of us ready to patch up and join SAMCROW.
It’s time to get all Timey Wimey up in here! The long time cult television show has recently reached a new zenith of popularity, ever since the modern relaunch of the series back in 2005. These days it’s practically impossible to walk into a Barnes and Noble without tripping over a small mountain of overpriced Dr. Who merchandise. Perhaps the biggest draw of Telltale doing a Dr. Who game is the sheer immense variety of things they could work with. History, space, alternate dimensions are all very real possibilities for a story based in the universe of Dr. Who. All three could be done if you had each episode within the season be a standalone adventure connecting to a larger story arc.
There are a wealth of classic villains, allies, and locations to choose from. Hell, you even have 12 iterations of The Doctor to choose from, and could easily have each season be set in a different era of the show (I’d kill to have a storyline where you got to play as The War Doctor set during the Time Wars.) But it wouldn’t just be about The Doctor, as his Companion, and other comrades would make for a diverse selection of perspectives to jump between.
Gameplay wise, Telltale’s Dr. Who would task you with saving the day time and time again while facing impossibly unsurmountable odds in which you must find a way to rise to the occasion. A Dr. Who game would also make for a refreshing challenge for Telltale as most of their games as of late have heavily featured outrageous, often times brutal violence as a cornerstone of their action moments. It would be refreshing to see them make a game based on a character who is always struggling to find the least violent solution. Allons-y!
Alright, I’ll admit this one is kind of cheating as Telltale President Kevin Bruner has already gone on record stating he’d love to make a James Bond game. It’s not my fault he had a great idea. I can’t think of a better direction for the genre of the adventure game to head than to steep itself into the shady world of spies and espionage. Dashing heroes, megalomaniacal bad guys, exotic women, cutting edge gadgets, and a story that hops all over the world. James Bond would take Telltale games to the next level!
James Bond has without a doubt met the most video game success of all of the franchises on this list. GoldenEye 007 is considered one of the greatest games ever made, and was certainly a multiplayer bible for an entire generation of dorm dwellers. But ever since then, a curse seems to have set in on the Bond franchise, and despite many attempts, no one has been able to make a James Bond game that reached the lofty heights of GoldenEye (though James Bond knockoff game The Operative: No One Lives Forever garnered widely favorable reviews.) Perhaps the problem is that developers can’t get past seeing a James Bond game as a first-person shooter, and without a doubt the answer to that is Telltale Games.
Telltale would rebuild the concept of what a James Bond game should be from scratch, and by doing so add some true freshness to the IP. Instead of haplessly wandering down a hallway and mowing down wave after wave of henchmen, expect to see a Bond game that focuses more on the power of choice. When the world is at stake, every choice truly counts, and James Bond is the man to make those choices. Expect witty banter, eye rolling double entendres, and when the action gets going, expect outrageous action set pieces that will push your reaction time to the limit. For king and country!
Welcome to Night Vale
Now I know that many of you are saying “Wait, what?”, and probably haven’t heard of Welcome to Night Vale yet, and yes it probably would have been safer to go with a more well known #1 pick. That being said, I’m convinced this is the most interesting property Telltale could possibly work on, so let’s catch you up. Welcome to Night Vale is a popular podcast that has been rocketing in popularity; it has reached #1 on the most popular podcast list on iTunes for a while, has had a series of world tours, and has an original novel coming in October. Welcome to Night Vale is the creation of Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink, two veterans of the New York theatre scene.
To describe to someone uninitiated is a little tricky, but in a nutshell Welcome to Night Vale is a community radio show set in the fictional town of Night Vale. The town of Night Vale is your average small town, except your worst fears, whether they be psychological, supernatural, or conspiratorial are all very real, but pretty much par for the course. Night Vale features such oddities as a dog park that no human nor dog is allowed to go into lest they anger the hooded figures that meet there. A pretty normal library, except the librarians are all vicious wraith like beasts. Helicopters from multiple shadowy governments that keeps tabs on Night Vale’s citizen. Hiram McDaniels, a literal 5 headed dragon that is running for mayor. And last, but most definitely not least, a faceless old woman that lives in your home, not just your home, everyone’s homes. You know, just to name a few.
Now while this all sounds pretty dark (and it can be), the whole show is far more upbeat about all of its horrors than you might think, and the whole thing plays like Prairie Home Companion by way of Stephen King and Lovecraft. Probably the closest parallel to Night Vale I can think of in the video game world would probably be Day of the Tentacle or Maniac Mansion where the horrific and the humorous combine sublimely. I think Welcome to Night Vale would be the perfect get for Telltale as the podcast has become popular, but hasn’t quite gone fully mainstream yet, Telltale would do well to help bust it through with their brand of game. Also Night Vale is an incredibly lofty, and surreal concept, one that no one has had the opportunity to bring to a visual medium. I believe taking this complicated IP and bringing it to life in a story-heavy video game format, would prove a challenge unlike Telltale Games has ever had. This project would take Telltale’s talents to a new level, while bringing to the forefront a property that deserves to be widely known because Welcome to Night Vale is nothing short of extraordinary, it’s storytelling is as fresh and compelling as anything being done today.
If you have not listened to Welcome to Night Vale, do yourself a favor and go check it out. Telltale Games and Welcome to Night Vale would be a match made in heaven.
So there you have it, my 6 dream Telltale projects. What would you like to see Telltale work on? Something on the list, something else? Sound off in the comments below!
Adam Leonard is an Associate Editor with MONG, he also contributes over at Creepy Kingdom. You can follow him on Twitter.