Allan Muir – Texas Red

I Am Tired Of The Formula

My first foray into episodic gaming was back in December of 2010 when Telltale released Back to Future. It wasn’t, until like most people, The Walking Dead Season 1 that I started getting into the genre. Sometime after I finished TWD Season 1 I joined VGU after responding to a listing on a “game journalist” site. (You can check out the podcast that convinced me to join here) But enough of that, I played the games Telltale put out after Walking Dead Season 1 and I honestly had a good time with the stories being told for the episodes.

It wasn’t until Tales From The Borderlands that I started getting content with the formula. The formula of episodic releases as a concept. When I recorded a spoilercast about Tales From The Borderlands, Adnan Riaz mentioned how the release cycle of the game was a detriment to the game. He also compared the releases for the episodes of Life is Strange saying how Telltale would take 1-3 months per episode while Dontnod took 1 or 2 at most. There were also reports of crunch culture at Telltaleuntil it closed in 2018.

Credit: Telltale Games

With the relaunch of Telltale in December of 2018 one half of the duo who bought the rights to Telltale, James Ottilie addressed the state of Telltale’s episodic releases. He said: “We will probably keep the concept of episodes but with different pacing. This is a different world, from a media consumption standpoint. We need to look at how people like to entertain themselves. I like the idea of binge-watching.” This was dovetailed with the announcement that The Wolf Among Us 2 would restart development from the ground up with AdHoc studios, who are staffed by former Telltale employees working on narrative and cinematics, and Telltale working on gameplay and the move to Unreal.

While all this was happening Life is Strange 2 was still releasing episodically. But the gap between episodes was getting bigger. The heir apparent to Tales From The Borderlands for best story in my eyes was becoming just that, it was becoming Telltale. However, with the three Chapters of Tell Me Why that was released, Dontnod redeemed themselves. The episodic future interactive based stories all changed when Life is Strange: True Colors was announced by Square-Enix on March 18th and would be ditching the episodic format for a more binge-able experience.

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