Over the last several years, Telltale Games has garnered critical acclaim for its inventive, gripping episodic adventure games based on hit franchises like The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Fables, and Borderlands. By the very nature of its episodic release structure and the length of each episode, the games hit those same pleasure centers as serialized prestige television, except with the crucial difference of putting you in the driver’s seat. Today, Telltale Games is taking its next step forward, and this time they’re eschewing licensed properties for original material. Earlier today, Lionsgate announced that it is heavily investing in Telltale Games to focus on creating original properties.
But for an innovative studio like Telltale, creating original IP wasn’t enough. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Telltale CEO Kevin Bruner revealed their new plan is a piece of hybridized entertainment called a “Super Show.”
What is a Super Show exactly? According to Telltale CEO Kevin Bruner, “A ‘Super Show’ episode combines one part of interactive playable content with one part of scripted television style content. Both pieces, when combined together, are what make an actual Super Show ‘episode.’ As we’ve been developing the series, we’re using both mediums in concert to deliver our story. Developing both aspects simultaneously is key to utilizing this new medium. Both parts are first class citizens during the writing and design process. It’s not an interactive series with a show, or a TV show with a game, but a story integrated in a way that only Telltale can do.”
Balancing the rigorous schedule of live action scripted content with the relative glacial pace of game development is a hurdle, to be sure, but one that Bruner believes the studio can overcome. “Our goal is to create products that have a legitimate chance of winning both a Golden Globe and a Game of the year,” said Bruner. Although I know it likely won’t be the case, I can’t help but think about old FMV games like Night Trap and Phantasmagoria.
The Super Show episodes will be designed in such a way that you can play the interactive portion or watch the scripted show in whichever order you like. Depending on which order you play, elements of each portion may alter to suit your overall experience. Bruner also noted that non-interactive episodes will be made available as traditional TV shows on both streaming services and broadcast networks. It’s an ambitious plan, to be certain, but partnering with a massive studio like Lionsgate will give them the tools needed to facilitate a multi-pronged development effort like this.
The biggest question coming out of this partnership is whether or not we can expect to see any traditional Telltale titles based on Lionsgate properties like The Hunger Games, Twilight, or dare I say it, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights.
“You chose to put baby in the corner.”
“Baby will remember that.”