What are Telltale games? How are they like interactive TV shows?

Quick Answer: Telltale Games is a video game developer and publisher that releases adventure games episodically. The company frequently uses existing IP (such as Batman, Game of Thrones, and The Walking Dead) to create interactive tie-in games where the players can make choices that can change the direction of the story. Unlike most other video games, Telltale games emphasize story and characterization over puzzles and action. By creating a more cinematic gaming experience, players can follow their favorite shows and comics and have a say in what happens next.

What would you do if you were a character in Game of Thrones (2011 - ) or The Walking Dead (2010 - )? How would you make decisions as DC Comics’ Bigby Wolf or Batman? In Telltale games, you can be a character in one of your favorite television shows or comics and have your actions influence the outcome of the story. Telltale Games is a video game developer and publisher that creates games based on popular licensed properties and releases them episodically (about every month or so). Telltale often works directly with studios and screenwriters to create video games that not only tie-in with their source material, but also enhance and deepen the original story and world.

Two of Telltale’s most popular series are Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. While both of these games exist in the same worlds as their source material and follow the same continuity, they often focus on original characters and stories made just for the game.

Several characters from the HBO series (such as Cersei and Tyrion Lannister) appear in Telltale’s Game of Thrones

For example, episodes of Telltale’s Game of Thrones takes place concurrently with the HBO series, starting from the end of Season 3 to the beginning of Season 5. However, instead of focusing on the Starks or Lannisters, the game introduces the previously unseen House Forrester, who are bannermen to the Starks in the game. In Telltale’s The Walking Dead, the game takes place at the same time as the events of the original comics, but mainly focuses on two new main characters: Lee Everett and Clementine.

Original characters Lee Everett and Clementine as seen in Telltale’s The Walking Dead

Unlike most video games, Telltale games emphasize story over action or puzzle gameplay. Telltale games are much more character-driven as they rely on players to watch cutscenes and make choices as the character they are playing. By using a branching dialogue tree system, the game adapts to the players’ choices.

Although Telltale’s gameplay may be a little too passive to be considered a typical video game, the games are essentially interactive television shows where the player (or perhaps viewer) has an active and invested role in the story’s outcome. The games are dialogue-heavy and extremely story-driven; for the most part, the player can only explore her surroundings and watch her characters interact with others. Unlike television shows where audiences have no say in what happens next, players can make decisions on behalf of their characters in order to influence the story the way they want to see it. As a middle ground between movies and video games, Telltale games allow players to watch new stories from their favorite shows while influencing characterization and pivotal moments that will determine the game’s outcome.

Batman: The Telltale Series

Telltale games are a nice accompaniment to your favorite shows and comics because they expand the worlds and gives you the freedom to explore them. It’s easy to jump into these video games without any prior gaming experience due to the lack of gameplay and emphasis on stories and cutscenes. With the recent release of the first episode of Batman: The Telltale Series (2016), DC fans can immerse themselves into an original narrative that isn’t tied to any particular Batman film or comic. Even if you’re not a Batman fan, you are bound to find another Telltale game that fits your pop culture interests, whether it be Back to the Future: The Game or The Wolf Among Us.