Why We Need More Games Like The Walking Dead
Not bought The Walking Dead yet? Do it, because it’s good, cheap, and more importantly, could help get episodic gaming really going.
Released last week and immediately generating a ton of positive buzz, Telltale’s adaptation of The Walking Dead looks like it’s going to be a critical success. Commercially? Too early to say, but we hope it sells like crazy.
Why? Because it’s a good game, and more importantly the model behind the game’s creation and release is one that we’d love to see more developers take advantage of.
Videogames are obsessed with movies, but maybe it’s the small screen they should be looking at. It’s not a new phenomenon, episodic gaming, but it is one that hasn’t yet got the recognition, or maybe even the implementation, it deserves. How long until a huge (videogame) franchise cottons on to this and starts meting out titles in a manner similar to TV series?
There are problems with this approach, of course. As much as developers love cinematic influences, slavishly aping movies isn’t the best way to go about business (unless you’re a certain Kojima, H) and the same can be said for TV shows. There’s also the small issue of payment, diminishing returns and the fact that gamers are possibly the most impatient people ever to walk the earth.
Debates about how active and passive TV actually is generally tend to go on for years, and become incredibly tiresome, but there’s no denying that games are inherently more active and therefore tend to be about what you do than what happens outside your control. Some gamers might not be able to get on board with being told when to stop and when to start experiences that they direct, or presume to.
That said, what about episodic gaming that, akin to Mass Effect, changed according to your decisions? The delivery method seems perfectly suited to games that require choices, and it’s something we’d like to see explored more.
Not just by Telltale though. Come on publishers, this is the future. Give us a new way to experience and reflect on our games, price it right, and don’t mess it up. Is that too much to ask?