Here’s the thing that I’m getting out of the Walking Dead: TV / movie length character-driven storytelling is fun to drive.
Unfortunate that the Walking Dead (which is great) needs to leverage its TV / comic book branding in order to get noticed and picked up by a wide audience, but I can’t hate on Telltale for sticking with what they know and adapting licensed properties in episodic format. There’s a ton of gold there just waiting to be dug up by some savvy publisher.
As (Jeff? On a podcast?) said once, “I just want all videogames to be the Walking Dead”. I dunno if I can echo that statement 100%, but what this is saying to me is that there’s a market out there for TV style stories that you play with a controller. Without the terrorists attacking, I mean. Without the apocolypse, even.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the hard emotional choices and whatnot inside the Walking Dead. But those are responses that arise directly from the setting. Same reason Amy Henning was forced to set The Last Of Us inside a postapocolyptic world – they needed something believable where the idea of human drama could mesh with “people shooting guns all the time” without seeming ridiculous in a Nate Drake Kills 10000 Guys Before Breakfast kinda way.
I would absolutely buy and play triple-A relationship drama slash Breaking Bad slash The Wire if such a thing existed. I think what prevents adoption of this is just publishers being straight up terrified that if they don’t slam jam it out of the park on episode 1 all their hard work will wither an die on the vine because their franchise won’t be successful.
Whether you can be financially VIABLE with this method though, I’m not sure. Let’s just take modern television as our stock boilerplate for what sells. Police procedurals, medical dramas…. “relatsionship dramas” I guess, if you watch the Women’s Network. Uh, The Wire. BBC shows.
Anything in this mold – detective stuff, character driven stuff – could easily be done Walking Dead style. Luther? Misfits? Sherlock? I think you could probably also do all of that as videogame television. I’d love someone who knew something about producing TV to weigh in on this and let me know one way or the other what’s more expensive to produce: 2 hours of live action TV or 2 hours of videogame adventure a la Walking Dead. What is more expensive, renting trailers and caterers or rigging and character models? I have no idea.
What you’re describing Pete is more like Gilmore Girls meets walking dead. This is something I would certainly play, if it existed, but I think what we’re missing is a) obviously, TV-watching-age women who play video games to shore up the market segment and b) is a publisher willing to take a gutsy move.
This is why I was excited back in the day when Nintento mentioned offhandedly at one of their E3s that they were doing interactive DS mystery series written by notable (female friendly) crime writers. There was also an anime style one I think for teenage boys… nothing ever seemed to come of that. That’s really too bad. Odds are super high that I would actually buy a video game that was written in that style by a famous writer, romance plot and all.
I think we’re talking about the bridge between Heavy Rain selling for 60 dollars and coming out every 5 years and Walking Dead selling for 6 dollars and coming out five times per year.
Am I alone here? Well, we’ll never know. I won’t be buying BLOPS2 and I’ll be returning Halo 4 as soon as I’m done it’s unsatisfying single player campaign. To me, this looks like good publisher money left on the table.