"Leave Telltale alone," cries Jason 18 Nov, 2014 / 14 comments

Telltale has gotten a bit of a bad rep around these parts lately, haven't they? And Jason is not happy about this, and has thus written an op-ed about the subject: Be Grateful to Telltale.

Agree? Disagree? Don't give a crap? Read and sound off in the comments with your own bitching and moaning.



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    WorldMaker on 13 Dec, 2014, 20:31…
    I will admit that I'm kind of "hoarding" episodes in Sam & Max Season 3 and Tales of Monkey Island. I feel like I need to play them on some rainy day when I really need a strong pick-me-up. I didn't want to reach the end of them, so I just stopped playing them. (Similarly, I still haven't finished the first part of Broken Age because I don't think I can handle that ending until Part 2 is released, at least...)

    It seems kind of wise in retrospect that yes, Telltale isn't in a rush to create new examples of that particular vein, so I have some unplayed examples waiting for me when I need them. (I think I kind of sensed it with some of the staff rearrangements, though.)

    All of that out of the way, I cannot fault Telltale for doing what they are doing and pushing out into other directions. I am playing through all the current stuff and even if I don't like how common the QTEs are in the modern style, I'm still enjoying the games. I thought Fables was fantastic (and like Bone great for introducing me to franchises I hadn't previously explored) at what it was trying to accomplish, and thus far Episode 1 of Tales from the Borderlands was fantastic (and really funny, and helped make up for some of my burn out from grinding in what I've played of the RPG shooters by some mighty fine meta-jokes at the rest of the series' expense...). Even what I have played thus far Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, which are in genres that I'm not much of a fan of, have kept me interested and engaged.

    That's probably the statement there to the current Telltale series runs in that it is encouraging me to branch out into genres I wouldn't normally play and IP that I'm not as much of a fan of or entirely new to... I can't stand The Walking Dead show or comics (not a fan of zombies), but have played through a season and half of TTG's games. I haven't read any of Game of Thrones and keep wondering why I'm still watching the HBO show (ugh, fantasy and political), but thus far the TTG season has my attention. The same can't be said about their CSI and Law & Order games, I still have no intention to go back and play them, so as much as I bash the current style for being QTE heavy and "cinematic" at the expense of adventuring, there is something to it that I enjoy and has me playing and likely will keep me playing.

    I appreciate TTG and hope they keep experimenting and keep getting interesting and/or exciting franchise IP to play in. I don't expect them to always deliver content essentially straight to me and my desired play styles, and I'm glad for what they have managed in the past to deliver and curious to see what they deliver next.
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    Jason on 22 Nov, 2014, 16:11…
    Sam & Max got pushed to more deranged places too. As one might well hope.
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    Jennifer on 22 Nov, 2014, 14:32…


    Sure, the characters look the same, may even be voiced by (some of) the same cast, but the spirit, the snarkyness, the sarcasm, dialed down to 80's carebears level.

    I've heard this a lot, and every time I hear it I have to ask whether we were playing the same game. Tales of Monkey Island was way darker in tone than The Curse of Monkey Island or Escape, and was much more in the spirit of the first two games in the series.
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    tentacle on 20 Nov, 2014, 19:08…
    Whine whine whine.

    Telltale started by taking beloved franchises, infusing them with whatever that crap twinkies are filled with is, and selling them with bring colors to a millenials instead of the audience that actually grew up with em.

    I wish them well, I really do, but the lack of facial rigging doesn't do them (or anybody else) any favors, so whatever.
    The reason I'm pissed at Telltale is that they showed a huge amount of promise, and I bought ever game- I gobbled 'em up, regardless of whether they held up a candle to what I know the original franchises to be. And that's the reason I'm mad - I wanted to believe, but instead of actually following the franchise's true footsteps, they took safe decisions on every corner, till the end result was barely recognizable as the original. Sure, the characters look the same, may even be voiced by (some of) the same cast, but the spirit, the snarkyness, the sarcasm, dialed down to 80's carebears level.
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    LuigiHann on 19 Nov, 2014, 16:23…
    Are people still mad? I can understand being "done" with Telltale, but I feel like the ship has sailed as far as anything to be mad about.

    From Sam & Max through Back to the Future, it seemed like they were choosing licences specifically because I liked them, so those were exciting times. Around the time they butchered the forum and announced they were doing more Walking Dead rather than a license that would be more exciting to me, that left me feeling pretty sad. If the studio was growing so much that they could work on multiple series at once, it would have been nice if 1 out of every 2 was a more traditional adventure game.

    Still though, they've managed to re-hook me by now. The Wolf Among Us plays better than the watered-down adventuring of Back to the Future and Jurassic Park, so I feel like they've found what they're good at and are continuing to improve it, so I'm happy with that. It's a bummer that they aren't making more adventurey games anymore, but at this point I'd rather have no classic-style adventures from them than half-hearted ones. Now that they've gotten their engine to a point where it "feels" right, it's just about waiting to see if and when they get a license that interests me again.

    And I feel like since Telltale proved that it's possible to make and sell traditional adventure games, other companies are doing it too now, so I don't NEED Telltale to make them anymore.

    So yeah, I understand why people would have been mad when they seemed to abandon their community (and the fact that they so thoroughly ruined their forums around the same time certainly didn't help that feeling) but it seems like so long ago already, so harboring a grudge seems odd to me by now.
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    Rum Rogers on 19 Nov, 2014, 16:05…
    Perfect, then I would say we totally agree!
    Telltale has always specified that they were not aiming to emulate LucasArts in any way.
    Also, I did not think your article was targeted at me specifically, but of course I felt touched as well, since I started the Telltale criticism with the Borderlands post.
    Glad we clarified this, Jason, over and out!
  • Avatar
    Jason on 19 Nov, 2014, 15:38…
    Let me clarify as well. This article is not about telling people what to like or how to spend their money. Neither is it an article targeted at you. I'd like to think it isn't even possible to interpret the article that way, but I guess you can't be too careful.

    The article is an observation that some of the scorn heaped at Telltale is based on an attitude that the studio has betrayed principles - principles that I contend are falsified.

    Personally speaking, I haven't completed a Telltale series since Jurassic Park. Although that's a testament to the general extinction of my time for video games more than anything else, I'm sure you'll agree that there's quite a few miles between me and someone who represents the company's interests.

    I do, however, have a problem with people who try to lend righteous indignation to their wishes by twisting facts and insinuating that Telltale began its existence as an ordained adventure gamer satisfaction factory before cruelly turning their back on them. This perspective does exist, even if you've been fortunate enough not to encounter it.
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    Rum Rogers on 19 Nov, 2014, 14:07…
    You're right, the two situations are very different and I do agree with this.
    It might be childish to feel some grudge against Telltale after all they have done.
    It might be childish but it's honest and sincere.

    No one paid me to attack Telltale, as I'm sure no one paid you to take their defenses.
    What I'm trying to say is that gratitude is volatile, it may last for some time and allow you to forgive one, two or three errors.
    Then you run out of gratitude and stop supporting a company.

    I'm not saying that my perception of "errors" from Telltale is universally valid, as what I feel like an error may be a great move to you or other fans.
    Sure thing is there are fans out there that consider some moves from Telltale as mistakes.
    I don't think I can be tagged as "dishonest" for expressing my personal taste, which doesn't have to be yours but still is mine.
    Hope this clarifies my point.
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    Jason on 19 Nov, 2014, 12:44…

    Rum Rogers

    All I can say is that, following your article's logic, everyone should have thanked LucasArts for the awesome adventures they managed to create and just shut up about them leaving the genre and embarassing themselves with their "market reality" studies.

    You're simplifying the LucasArts situation. Their drastic changes as a company only partly had to do with adventure games. You can't really make the claim with any sincerity that Telltale doesn't resemble the company it started out as. It has the same identity and is run by the same people. LEC changed identity like people change shirts due to a revolving door of presidents.

    Telltale also isn't just monotonously churning out games for one, single license all the time. There's a built-in check there because they don't actually own any of them. LucasArts was almost literally The Star Wars Company after a certain point. And our readers rightly resented them for it, while also for some reason expressing excitement for The Force Unleashed and Star Wars 1313.
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    Rum Rogers on 19 Nov, 2014, 07:57…
    You show gratitude to a company by buying their products or not.
    It's as simple as that.
    I own multiple copies of old games from Telltale, I have spent quite some money throughout the years to actively show my support.
    I would not spend a single cent for the games they're producing now.

    When LucasArts started making shit decisions, many hardcore fans including part of the Mojo staff (I remember it very well) openly showed their grudge and their disappointment.
    It was a natural reaction and I'm not judging it.

    All I can say is that, following your article's logic, everyone should have thanked LucasArts for the awesome adventures they managed to create and just shut up about them leaving the genre and embarassing themselves with their "market reality" studies.
    I can't remember of a single person that did this, not even here at Mojo.
  • Avatar
    clone2727 on 19 Nov, 2014, 03:48…
    I was hoping for another long video sequence when I saw the post title.
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    Jason on 18 Nov, 2014, 22:18…
    I agree - The Devil's Playhouse is the best Sam & Max game to date.

    Opinions like yours are not what this article is railing against. I'm not mocking opinions, but dishonesty.
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    Remi on 18 Nov, 2014, 21:30…


    [..] I thought Sam and Max Season 3 was a really, REALLY good adventure. So good, in fact, I even prefer it to Hit the Road (sacrilege, I know but there you have it) [..]

    That's not sacrilege, just correct.
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    ajf4000 on 18 Nov, 2014, 20:41…
    I'm disappointed because I thought Sam and Max Season 3 was a really, REALLY good adventure. So good, in fact, I even prefer it to Hit the Road (sacrilege, I know but there you have it). Just as they were perfecting their adventures, they went in another direction. You might argue they had done all they could with that kind of adventure game; I say boulderdash. There was (and is) plenty they could/can do with it.
    And I'm disappointed because I thought TWAU would have made for an EXCELLENT more traditional adventure game, in spite of the creators bafflingly claiming in one interview its hard to make pure adventure games out of detective mysteries (I memory might be a bit fuzzy there).
    Not for a minute am I saying Telltale owes me or adventure gamers anything, I just REALLY liked what they did with S&M S3, and would love to have seen them take on something like Discworld.

    I am glad they ditched KQ though. Stupid franchise if ever there was one.

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