Telltale Games is one of my favorite game companies out there. Some of their writers and developers go back to the marvelously surreal days of Maniac Mansion and Sam & Max, and their take on episodic gaming — comparable to a full-sized game’s DLC, with all the story and nuances of the bigger game — has been extremely successful for many established creative properties. It’s almost hard to believe that they jumped the gun on most other companies where Walking Dead-licensed products are concerned, and they delivered a product on par with the comic and TV series it was based on. And really, it was better than the TV series until that third season hit AMC.
Those five episodes of the game’s first “season” were 10-12 of last year’s most gripping hours of fiction for me, so it’s great to hear that Telltale’s CEO and co-founder Dan Connor intends to carry over players’ saves and game choices from the first season into the second. Because the game, a cinematic point-and-click adventure with a logic engine guiding the storyline’s path, gets a lot of its emotional punch from your friendships and disagreements with other characters, this approach could possibly bridge a sequel to it’s predecessor in a way that few have before. There were two scenes from this game, filled with multiple fate-changing decisions, that were the darkest and most ethically challenging minutes of any video game I’ve ever played. And while the story’s path and ending are ambiguous in some ways — don’t worry, I’m staying spoiler-free — to know that this particular sense of accomplishment can be carried on is intriguing. There’s a reason so many people refer to it as a television show that you play. See, my own geeking out just now is balanced by other people also having written a lot about this game.
In the interview, Connor doesn’t even say much about that second season, which is still in the pre-pre-development phase. ““Right now we are just starting to form the concept for season two,” he says. “This all remains to be seen but we are definitely figuring out how to carry the saves over.” So much extrapolation from such a vague sentence. This is how we do it.
It’s a great interview in other ways, of course, as he talks about the game from concept to reactions, nearly all of which have been positive, and a lot of which have pushed sales in the last couple of months, as he stated in another recent interview. To date, the game has sold over 8.5 million individual episodes, no small feat for a company that depends a lot on word of mouth and public perception. In giving gamers such a unique and refreshing take on the zombie experience, it will probably increase in popularity once more people find out about it. Go tell somebody to play it right now.