Telltale Games has released a new batch of screenshots for their upcoming adventure title The Wolf Among Us. In case you missed the details, The Wolf Among Us is based on the popular Fables comic series, evolving the gameplay mechanics of The Walking Dead and overlaying the fairy tale universes of "Snow White," "Three Little Pigs" and more.
Unlike The Walking Dead, however, The Wolf Among Us will give Telltale Games the creative room to truly explore any number of imaginative situations. The Walking Dead, barring the zombie infection, is much more grounded in the reality of our world. Fairy tales have a much broader scope, which should allow Telltale to create a wide variety of extraordinary situations.
That said, Telltale well knows that the same things that were great about The Walking Dead will be great in The Wolf Among Us. Namely, the relationships between characters, the illusion of choice, and maturity of the audience playing the game. For instance, the first episode of the series will deal with the Big Bad Wolf, Bigby, and Snow White, who needless to say have a complicated relationship.
Lead Writer Paul Shorette expounds on the relationship of Bigby and Snow and how they can create compelling gameplay from the experience:
"[Bigby’s] relationship with her and how they build that relationship is a key part of the first episode and throughout the season,” Kaufman says. “A lot of the things that Bigby is confronted with during the game is challenging to his relationship with Snow.” ... "One of the themes is the idea that if the damsel in distress saw what the white knight had to do to get her out of distress, she might not think of him in the same way. The mere attempts at helping her sometimes, and how far you take it, will dictate how she looks at you, and that puts you in conflict with keeping her safe."
After creating The Walking Dead, Telltale has a much better idea of how to create these compelling situations, focusing on creating choices that are difficult for players to make. "We like that 50/50 divide when we look at stats," says Telltale President Kevin Bruner. Of course that's a good place to start, but a full story takes much more than a series of heads or tails decisions.
Bruner further details the complicated nature of the narrative they're faced with in The Wolf Among Us:
"Sometimes it’s a lot of work to make all the possibilities interesting...you get to a point where one really interesting thing could happen and one really lame thing could happen and you just have to cut that. If we were making a movie, that one interesting line would just rock, but we’re not making a movie. We’re making an interactive experience, and if we can’t make all paths lead to an interesting place then it’s not a good interactive story."
Judging from the way The Walking Dead was received by the gaming community, Telltale seems to have already stumbled onto how to creat a "good interactive story." That's not going to stop them from pushing further, however, as despite its reception The Walking Dead did have its flaws. Expect more from The Wolf Among Us. Expect something, hopefully, better.
Here's one final thought from Bruner, something to take forward as we learn more about The Wolf Among Us. He hopes that players will play the game and ask themselves, "Wow, this is really my story, I was challenged by it, and really feel like I own it." An admirable goal, and one that Telltale should be able to capture -- if anyone.
The first episode of The Wolf Among us is planned for release on PC and Mac this summer. Expect more details in the weeks leading into E3 on June 11, where we'll hopefully get the chance to see the game in action for the first time.