As any long time reader of BREECH.co knows, we have somewhat of a love/hate relationship with Telltale Games. One thing we wasn’t expecting was for them to team up with Netflix to create a Stranger Things game!
As we know already, TT have created some truly epic episodic gaming adventures like The Walking Dead, Game Of Thrones, The Wolf Among Us and some other more questionable titles such as Minecraft: Story Mode, Batman and Guardians Of The Galaxy which left many of the studios fans disgruntled due to wanting a second season of Game Of Thrones.
Now bear with us, we’re not saying that these games weren’t good in their own right. It’s simply that as a studio that has grown from creating some truly stinking games to leading the episodic, choices matter style of game genre, they’ve made some pretty weird decisions.
We wrote about the issues with Telltale’s Game Of Thrones last year, another six months at least has come and gone with no new word. Game of Thrones is ending next year. They’ve kind of missed the boat for generating maximum exposure for the game. Why though?
From the perspective of an outsider, and truly that’s all that I can claim to be is someone that has a long history of reviewing games, it seems as if the decision making is a little strange. Could it be shiny object syndrome? It certainly seems like it. If any new deal presents itself, the studio have been only too happy to put games to the back of the queue in order to develop the new shiny object… The problem is that’s happened so many times that we’ve been waiting indefinitely for the second installment of Game of Thrones and The Wolf Among Us. The former with very little news ever. In reality it’s quite likely there will never be a second season of that game now.
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So while I’m as excited as anyone about a Stranger Things game, I do worry about the future of games like The Wolf Among Us, or even some of the games I’ve purposely avoided due to being so damn mad at the studio for choosing to do those rather than show some loyalty to the fans that greedily bought their games and kept the lights on at their studio before they truly made it big. The sad thing is as well, if Marvel came along and offered them to do a game, who is to say that Stranger Things 2nd season wouldn’t get dusted under the rug and forgotten about as well?
We just don’t know what they might do next, and that’s both exciting and hugely disappointing when you invest time and money into a gaming experience that is by nature episodic… Meaning that the ending of one season doesn’t truly provide you with a good ending for the game as a whole.
With their flagship game ‘The Walking Dead’ being wrapped up this year it could be the end of the only consistency the studio have ever actually had. A lot of people don’t truly understand the reasoning behind ending the game, but when you think about all the other lucrative deals they could strike it makes perfect sense. Like a greedy magpie, cawing at the shiniest thing available to it, they swoop in and snatch at the opportunity with abandon. They simply don’t give a crap about the fans and anyone who thinks differently isn’t paying attention.
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Due to the way they can get deals with the trending shows, movies and even games of the moment it doesn’t appear to bother them that there are pissed off fans either. To say it isn’t hurting them would be silly though. In November 2017 they laid off 25% of their staff. The co-founder Bruner famously pissed off two of the teams best developers enough to leave, who then went on to form Campo Santo who produced one of the best games I played in 2016 called Firewatch. He had a short stint as CEO before leaving the studio after essentially being run out of town. Nothing has been truly rosy at the studio for a long time.
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So am I excited about the new Stranger Things announcement? Sure. Does it worry me though? Hell yes. It’s indicative of the issues we’ve been seeing with the studio for a long time and it seems like they still aren’t willing to change.
Maybe we should just let it go, but as a huge fan of their games myself it feels like all you can do to make yourself heard as a fan is keep repeating yourself and hope it’ll sink in that the existing games are more important than the new ones. Regardless of how popular they might be. The fans and long-time patrons of your company are what matters. When will they understand?