Telltale are well known as masters of the adaptation; whether its Game of Thrones or Borderlands, it seems that the studio has an uncanny ability to cut to the core of a property, delivering a compelling adventure game that makes the most of the unique points of any given franchise. However, established characters and settings can only go so far — and now Telltale are set to carve out their own path.
In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, new Telltale CEO Kevin Bruner discussed the ‘most ambitious thing the company has ever done’, which will be a new original IP. While he was reticent to give any specifics on what we could expect from the upcoming title, Bruner stated that the freedom given to them by such a project is ‘the perfect thing’ for the studio.
It’s a bright outlook, as one might imagine, from a company that has spent the last ten years working with high profile properties that, ultimately, were not their own. The critical and commercial success of titles like The Walking Dead has afforded Telltale this opportunity to create something entirely new, and it may well be that the chance couldn’t have come soon enough.
Sean Vanaman and Jake Rodkin, two of the major creative forces behind The Walking Dead, left Telltale in 2013 to form Campo Santo. That studio is now deep in the development of Firewatch, a mystery game not too far outside the boundaries of Telltale’s output. While there are a host of reasons the pair would branch out, it stands to reason that part of the move was urged by the creative shackles put forth by the studio’s reliance on existing IPs.
As such, the announcement of an original title from the studio is something that’s as exciting for the developers themselves as their fans. It’s a real opportunity for the talented staff at Telltale to stretch their legs a bit, unbridled by the sort of considerations that have to be made when working with someone else’s creations.
However, there are some questions to be asked. Many would suggest that Telltale are more in need of a new engine than a new IP, as their current platform has marred the enjoyment of the Game of Thrones series for some — and these problems have been evident even as far back as the first season of The Walking Dead.
We’re certainly on the precipice of the next chapter for Telltale Games — but it remains to be seen whether they’re set for their biggest successes yet, or about to fall victim to biting off more than they can chew.