Hear me out, Telltale games. I have an idea that you may want to check out. What is more amazing than Kurt Russel kicking down a door, donning a snowsuit and a flamethrower, dropping a one liner quip and roasting a festering parasite trying to destroy every host in its path? Being able to play as Kurt Russel kicking down a door, donning a snowsuit and a flamethrower, dropping a one liner quip whilst roasting a festering parasite trying to destroy every host in its path. If you still haven’t picked up what I’m putting down right now, just continue reading, I will show you the path to enlightenment.
Telltale Games is an independent videogame developer that has brought back a resurgence of Point and Click adventure games that have taken the back seat to a much more involved gaming industry as of late. Old school games like Mist and Grim Fandango are heralded as some of the most beloved videogames of all time and they are plot and storydriven, as compared to most of the mainstream media we have today, which revolves around fast gunplay, super realistic graphics with game engines, and enormous open world environments for us to spend hundreds of hours working through. Recently, however, the old school adventure games have been gaining ground and we have a lot of thanks to give to Telltale.
Some of their best received and most renowned games have been their more recent releases. Amazing games such as The Walked Dead series, Tales from the Borderlands, Game of Thrones, and The Wolf Among Us, have given gamers a splendid array of characters, brilliant story arcs, and a tremendous amount of nostalgia for a long lost game genre. Telltale began by dipping their toes in the water with earlier releases such as CSI, put both feet in with the Sam and Max series, and got knee deep with Tales of Monkey Island, but became fully submerged with their releases of The Walking Dead. They have explored realms that span from a zombie apocalypse to the reaches of the Borderlands, the fantasy themes of story telling New York, even as far as Westeros. What all of these games have in common is a near constant sense of urgency enveloped in an atmosphere of mystery and suspense. This leads me to my proposal Telltale; create an episodic take in the horror genre, and I have the perfect idea for this horror game: John Carpenter’s The Thing.
The Thing is my all time favorite horror movie and probably my favorite movie altogether. What creates a better sense of dread and despair than being isolated in a research facility in the already remote Antarctic? Not much. What makes you shit your pants and fear for your imminent demise beyond a host transforming parasite?
Once again, not much. How do you develop a more suspenseful scenario of unease amongst a group of close coworkers over the almost near impossibility of determining who could be infected? You really can’t. This alien parasite can infect any living matter and in doing so can transform their host into monstrous grotesque walking nightmares whose only goal is to spread and grow. The basis of The Thing is the perfect way to bring Telltale games into the horror genre of storytelling in gaming.
“What makes you shit your pants and fear for your imminent demise beyond a host transforming parasite? Once again, not much.”
I have played through The Walking Dead series as well as The Wolf Among Us and they share the same sense of suspense, especially when it comes down to time management and impromptu decision making. This presents a great opportunity to make thouse tough decision in The Thing. Say Kurt ‘The King” Russell has to decide between going to check out the tool shed for clues, or maybe search the kennels for someone’s whereabouts. You have the chance to choice what to do, just like in the games, with each decision have a string of consequences to follow. Say you decide to check the shed, but by the time you come back the parasite has taken over the dogs in the kennel and turned them into something horrifying you can only develop in the nightmares of a sick and twisted person like John Carpenter. Or say you choose to check the kennels first, you may find some clues but in that time you spent there a blizzard rolls in making access to the tool shed outside nearly impossible without risking the lives of people around you.
There are enough environments and opportunities for decision making to create an excellent amount of replayablity with so many possible outcomes to occur. You also have the ability to save lives here. More decision making leads to A.) People dying around you, or B.) People surviving. Who knows, maybe you could save everyone…but that would probably make for a disappointing and less gruesome game. I was totally in love with how Telltale portrayed such renowned fantasy figures in The Wolf Among Us, especially when it came to Bigby, The Jersey Devil, and the trolls.
So how about it Telltale? Have I sold you yet? Can we work together to make my favorite horror movie come to life in videogame format, with gorgeous cell shaded graphics, and your amazing array of tough decision making opportunities? I think we can and I think we should. So yeah, Telltale – If you’re hiring, I’m here for you.