As a man who has worked with children and still continues to take care of others as a career, I found Telltale’s Walking Dead to be equal parts awesome, uplifting and gutwrenching. I’m hard-pressed to name any other game that tasks a player with co-operating with so many other vulnerable parties (even if they are all NPCs) while also giving players a plethora of choices, with each choice resulting in some kind of reward or consequence (but in Walking Dead’s case, usually a consequence). Thankfully Telltale is willing to rip our hearts out through our noses some more and maybe scare us all half to death too as long as they get their hands on some more franchises. I’m okay with this, Telltale. Just make sure you make your next games based on these franchises:
Game of Thrones
Telltale themselves want to create a game that involves the cast and characters from the Game of Thrones universe, despite the fact there is already a Game of Thrones game available for the Xbox 360 and it involves dialogue trees. However, the already existing game hasn’t generated much of a buzz, more of a “that’ll do pig,” response from gamers at best, which is startling news considering that the Game of Thrones game is an Atlus game. Telltale could definitely create a much better, much more tense game with lots of choices and ally/enemy making. How? Put players in The Hound’s shoes, that’s how. For the unacquainted, The Hound is one of the best fighters in the Game of Thrones universe and functions as the right hand man to a very nasty young king. The Hound is also placed in a lot of difficult situations that fans of the series would enjoy reliving and possibly doing differently. Trading quips with Bronn (an equally talented fighter), saving the king’s wife from a sexual assault and fighting at the Battle of Blackwater?
If you want to really focus on interpersonal relationships and have a game that has little to no combat, let players take control of Tyrion Lannister, the smartest character on the entire show, who gets more than his share of quotable moments and dramatic scenes and is responsible for running the king’s affairs, so he’s always got his hands full. If you want to throw combat in, just have the player shift between Tyrion and the aforementioned Bronn who does all of Tyrion’s fighting for him.
The Ace Attorney series is known for its brilliant, comedic dialogue, smart puzzles, questioning other NPCS and exploring the environment to collect evidence. Capcom has already experimented with a pseudo-adventure game feel with Ace Attorney Investigations, a fun game in it’s own right, only hampered by graphics and presentation fit for the SNES. Give gamers an Ace Attorney game with fully animated and illustrated Ace Attorney characters plus voice acting and multiple dialogue options and you’ve got a winner. Let gamers choose from a variety of side-kicks and throw in a little tension between Phoenix Wright and Miles Edgeworth (assuming there isn’t an original character as the protagonist) and you’ve got fans frothing at the mouth. Hell give Phoenix and Edgeworth some suggestive dialogue just to keep the female fans happy (‘sup Melissa?) but don’t follow through on it, JDL don’t get down like that.
A show all about sneaking around, doing what you’re not supposed to, where the main character is greatly affected by his friends and enemies. Sounds like the perfect candidate for a Telltale Adventure game to me! A Breaking Bad game that lets players relive the show’s greatest moments like in the Game of Thrones example (or alternatively, doing things differently by choice or force) could be interesting. Imagine being able to relive the show’s famous fulminated mercury scene but being able to name your own price with Tuco instead of stopping at just 50 large. How about being able to relive other sinister MacGyver-esuqe moments like blowing up a car with a squeegee — collecting the items one by one — or even setting up something more destructive? Hell, those’re just moments from the first season alone and there are five seasons, which could means five episodes if Telltale went through with this idea.
Penny Arcade Adventures
Penny Arcade Adventures has presented a few ways now, first as a downloadable turn based RPG, then in text form, then as a turn based RPG again, albeit this time with retro graphics. Now with the final episode of their series coming up, what better way to bring the story to a close than with a little love from Telltale? Telltale has already animated Penny Arcade’s Tycho for their Poker Night at the Inventory game and he looks great, the dialogue in the PAA games is both hilarious and well-written and giving the Penny Arcade duo choose-able lines could result in a whole lot of laughs. Even better? You wouldn’t have to give up the turn based combat, just change the fixed dialogue from the regular games to the dialogue trees everyone knows and loves.
It’s not a franchise, but it’s probably the only episodic urban legend that exists and could benefit from a Telltale re-telling. The Dionaea House is the segmented story of multiple people’s encounters with a house, investigating it (usually solo) and then ultimately ending up missing. Many of the stories deal with investigation, exploration, finding lost friends, losing others and even solving puzzles at some points. Above all, it’s really a genuinely scary story, even if it’s authenticity is highly dubious. A game about the house could be downright terrifying, with interactions with others opening up new information about the house, more investigation opportunities and more backstory on the people who go missing. Choices made could affect other people who end up looking into the house, giving them a better chance at making it out in one piece or helping others (inadvertently or otherwise), or maybe even getting people to go with the player when they search the house. Other choices could occur during confrontations with those that are faithful to the house, determined trackers that harass the protagonists of each of the original story’s chapters. The Dionaea House has such a terrifying atmosphere already and if Telltale took some liberties to what allegedly happened, Dionaea House could surpass urban legend status become one of the greatest horror games and stories of all time.
There you have it, great franchises that deserve to be great games. Feel free to sound off with some of your own ideas in the comments section in case I missed something!