The success of Telltale Games is an indie “Cinderella story” that has changed the landscape of the gaming industry. With The Walking Dead, they have shown just how much of an impact an independent game can have on the industry as a whole. The Walking Dead was so successful in fact, that it has ushered in a new era of prosperity for the company. Currently, Telltale has two games in the middle of their respective seasons (The Walking Dead: Season Two and The Wolf Among Us) and has two major titles that have just been announced: a game adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series and Tales from the Borderlands, an episodic adventure based in the world of Gearbox’s beloved first-person RPG series.
Now, let me be the first to congratulate Telltale on their newfound notoriety. I am truly excited about the prospect of independent developers becoming major players in the gaming landscape and believe that indie games have the power to change how games are made. While Telltale’s robust lineup is impressive, it does beg a few questions. Can Telltale handle this large of a lineup? Can they deliver the quality of games that fans of these franchises expect? Has Telltale bitten off more than they can chew?
Telltale already has a reputation for releasing episodes of their games sporadically. Their release schedules seem to be more of a guideline than any type of hard schedule, but they have gotten away with it until now because of the quality of the titles they release. However, with this many titles in production at once, can they maintain the level of quality that they’re known for? They’ve set a precedent with The Walking Dead: Season One that cannot be ignored, and by doing so have created an expectation by the fans for high-quality, visually impressive story-driven games.
To their credit (so far), The Walking Dead: Season Two – All That Remains and The Wolf Among Us – Faith have been solid additions to Telltale’s growing library. But with the commitments to these new franchises, Telltale will either have to push back production across the board for all their games, or hire whole new teams to produce these new games. This poses an additional problem--will all these new minds in the meld, can Telltale retain their signature style and delivery?
Sadly, there’s not really any way to know if they can sustain their success with this current lineup, or if it will force the company into obscurity, only time will tell. However, it does seem there are two outcomes that are most likely. Either they will succeed beyond all belief and become a force to be reckoned with in the industry, or an overextension of their resources will lead to subpar games that will cause their fans to turn on them like rabid dogs. Either way, it’ll be interesting. On a personal side note--Telltale, if you ruin Game of Thrones or Tales from the Borderlands, I’ll be waiting on your doorstep, and we will have words. This is your chance to prove that you’re more than a one-hit wonder, don’t waste it.