Due to a recent strike by voice acting union SAG-AFTRA, a list of in-development games has been released, possibly revealing which Marvel game Telltale has been working on. It appears the developer has been hard at work on a new Guardians of the Galaxy game, set to release in 2017.
Ever since they released The Walking Dead way back in 2012, Telltale has been sticking closely to their successful formula for episodic, narrative-driven games. They’ve already linked their name to major franchises like Mojang’s Minecraft, Gearbox Software’s Borderlands series, and even George R. R Martin’s Game of Thrones. Now it seems like it’s Marvel’s turn.
Another Piece of the Puzzle
But just how will this rumored game fit into the wider Marvel narrative? The Marvel Universe has already stretched to encompass not only their published work, but also their ever-expanding cinematic universe. With Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 coming to our screens in April 2017, will this game be a tie-in, or a standalone piece?
Looking at Telltale’s past games might provide some insight. Their follow up series to the hugely successful The Walking Dead was The Wolf Among Us, which was also based off a popular comic series. The Wolf Among Us’ five episodes were set up as a prequel to the Fables comic series, featuring both new and established characters. By setting the game before the start of the comics, Telltale used the unique setting and host of familiar faces to create their own individual narrative within the existing world. This offered something fresh for fans of the series, but also made it accessible for newcomers.
Telltale did something similar with both their Game of Thrones series and the two seasons of The Walking Dead they’ve already released. Both games run concurrently to story lines in their respective TV shows. Telltale are creating their own stories within well known narrative spaces. They offer something different, and at the same time familiar.
Telltale’s Take: A New Perspective
Telltale’s most recent offering, their Batman series, sees them taking on a cultural icon and still finding a different way to explore the character. This is quite a challenge, considering how many times the Caped Crusader has been adapted for films, games, and TV shows. So far, Telltale have explored the Bruce Wayne side of Batman. That’s something we’ve not really seen a game do to such an extent before. They’ve also brought their own twist to Batman lore, making gamers question everything they thought they knew about certain characters in the DC canon.
With Guardians Of The Galaxy, Telltale have another series with a deep well of source material to draw from. But if their past efforts are anything to go by, gamers won’t have to worry about being fed the same story they’ve seen time and time again. Telltale has proved that it can take beloved franchises and give gamers something new and exciting that retains the heart and soul of the franchise.
Telltales work on Tales from the Borderlands may be a strong blueprint for their work on Marvel’s own gang of misfits. Tales From The Borderlands series has a similar roster of characters to the Guardians: a rag-tag group of misfits made up of two close sidekicks (the large but gentle Loader Bot and the small but powerful Gortys), the flirty yet combative central pair (Rhys and Fiona), and the comic relief (Vaughn).
It even features that fun, tongue in cheek humor that the Guardians also bring to the table, with colorfully complex characters on both sides. If Telltale can handle Marvel’s brash galactic adventurers in the same way, then they may have another hit on their hands.
Out With the Old, in With the New?
If they choose to follow a concurrent plot line instead of sticking more closely to events in the MCU, this could open up the game to so many more possibilities. Like Tales From The Borderlands, Telltale could take gamers on a madcap adventure – served up Guardians-style – combining their skill at storytelling with arguably some of the most entertaining characters Marvel have put on screen yet.
If Telltale decides to continue the story Marvel set up in the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, or if they simply take Groot and the gang and create their own narrative, gamers can at least look forward to seeing the combined effort of these beloved franchises in 2017.