Telltale wasn’t always this good. For years they bounced around with a few IPs, turning in memorable, but unremarkable romps with Homestar Runner, Sam & Max and Wallace & Gromit. This was, of course, before 2012, when the venerable adventure-game studio produced The Walking Dead: Season One, an absolute barnburner of storytelling, voice-acting and mood-building that somehow eclipsed the achievements of the television show and comic book. They followed that up with the riveting The Wolf Among Us (based on the Fables comic book) and the excellent second season of The Walking Dead. Telltale have announced plans that they’re adapting both Borderlands and Game of Thrones into their trademark episodic format, and that got us thinking of other universes we’d like to see Telltale take a crack at.
Literally never going to happen. The Harry Potter franchise is so deeply embedded in massive corporate interests that the idea of it trickling down to a small developer like Telltale might be the wildest fantasy on this list. THAT BEING SAID, I don’t think there’s a more perfect fit for a stylish, character-heavy adventure series quite like the Harry Potter universe. There are just so many potential angles. A grizzled journalist tracking down the dark arts with his wits and candor? A traditional high-school drama that’s unafraid to get a little PG-13 every once in a while? There’s a world out there where Harry Potter games aren’t useless, and maybe someday we’ll bask in that glow.
The comic book Chew is both wacky enough and heartfelt enough to synchronize beautifully with Telltale’s irreverent side. The beloved Image publication follows agent Tony Chu, a detective that can get psychic visions from the things he tastes. Any game that would feature the primary mechanic of eating things to solve mysteries simply needs to me made. The only thing holding back Chew would be a fairly niche audience, but that didn’t stop them with The Wolf Among Us.
Telltale have a history rebooting dormant adventure game franchises. Their first major episodic project brought Sam & Max back to computer screens, and in 2009 they did the same with the underrated Tales of Monkey Island. Simon the Sorcerer is a similarly adored, criminally misused franchise that’s spent much of the millennium locked away in rosy SCUMM memories. People forget that, at their best, the Simon games were the funniest things on DOS. I mean, it featured a troll staging a peaceful protest against the goats who recklessly crossed his bridge. That’s pretty good stuff, and I don’t think there’s an adventure series not named Grim Fandango more groomed for a revival.
I’m not going to pretend that I have an encyclopedic knowledge of Buffy, but in terms of translating culty late-90s TV to interactive entertainment, Telltale is (probably) the best in the business. Come to think of it, Telltale has absolutely no pedigree with a property like Buffy, but if the sulky, neon-soaked glamor of The Wolf Among Us shows us anything, it’s that they can certainly do style. With Buffy permanently etched into the purgatory of comic books, a full-tilt Whedon-produced Telltale series starts to make a lot of sense.
Not quite as much of a pipe dream as you might thing. Star Wars: Edge of the Empire is a role-playing game published by Fantasy Flight Games. It’s an adaptation that focuses on the grimy bounty hunters and smugglers that populate the dank Hutt-ruled recesses of the fiction, aka, the best kind of Star Wars. You can be sure that Disney would never ever let a company like Telltale lay their hands on golden boys like Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, but a fairly niche property like Edge of the Empire? You never know. I’d love to get the pulpy Star Wars crime-saga we all deserve.
Who even knows if there’s going to be another Bioshock game? With the surprise dissolution of Irrational everything is up in the air. What we do know is that Bioshock brought some of the best fiction and settings the world of videogames has ever seen, and the ending of Infinite opens the door for… well, you know. The idea of the franchise living on in multiple incarnations of the same core “lighthouse, man and girl” principles makes me pretty excited. I couldn’t have been the only one who left Infinite begging for more.
Another one that will never happen. World Wrestling Entertainment is far too insular and far too terrified to ever hand over creative control to an outside company. But imagine a world where Telltale could do whatever they wanted with the property, the universe, and all the characters signed under WWE. It would be a fantasy booking every episode. Maybe you’d be able venture into Undertaker’s realm, or the intergalactic bachelor pad of Goldust and Stardust. We can dream, can’t we?
Luke Winkie is a writer living in Austin, TX. Follow him on Twitter at @luke_winkie.