Podcast listeners will have heard Bouncy and I discuss Marvel’s link up with developer Telltale Games on this week’s ‘Back In The Game: Marvel Special’.
With a 2017 release date, and a whole heap of Marvel related action to come between now and then, the big announcement of the comic giants latest ‘team up’ was – understandably – vague. Incredibly vague. As in, we have no idea where Telltale will take this one.
Naturally this has led to wide range of theories, hopes and suggestions for the latest outpouring from the makers of The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us.
The 2017 release will take things past ‘Captain America: Civil War’ (slated to hit cinemas in May 2016) – which it’s fair to say is a pretty major event in the Marvel universe, and will have a dramatic impact on the shape of things thereafter.
But it also means Telltale’s interactive adventure could arrive up to a 12 months before Infinity War Part 1 (scheduled to be released on May 4th 2018 in the U.S.); or, with a late 2017 release, allow the software studio to take in to account event from the second Guardians of the Galaxy outing, the as yet untitled Spider-Man film and Thor: Ragnarok – all earmarked for release in 2017.
What does that all mean? Well, what is assumed to be another episodic adventure (it’s Telltale after all) can drive itself directly along side/towards the same end game (no pun intended) as the cinematic universe, operate complete separately and/or pitch itself pretty much anywhere along a packed time line of events.
A direct tie in to the events of Civil War, or any of the other films, is possible; though it seems unlikely given Telltale’s adaptations of other licenses.
This is a developer that likes to weave around established canon, but equally stay on the fringes so the game can exist almost separately from the source IP.
The Marvel universe does of course allow Telltale enough scope to be able to keep ties subtle – much like they did with The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, where established characters appeared but were not central to the story.
Some attachment to TV series like Agents of Shield, Agent Peggy Carter or Daredevil is plausible – especially as they all carry their own share of ties to the films but have some separation (doubly so now the TV and Film Divisions of Marvel seem to be on different paths).
IGN suggested Moon Knight – a character not widely known outside of Marvel fandom; but one without a stone set morality (allowing freedom to be ‘good or evil’ perhaps) and a back story that affords Telltale the opportunity to perhaps produce a more cerebral story; especially given their difficulties with combat sequences.
The Guardians of the Galaxy films, and Doctor Strange, also open up feasible opportunities in space – with the latter prime fodder for a mind bending tale for gamers to get their heads round. Again, combat isn’t a necessity in telling a good Stephen Strange tale – which could play in to Telltale’s hands.
The ‘wild cards’ here may be that the game doesn’t follow the Disney big screen adventures of Cap, Iron Man and co at all; but instead connects in to one of Marvel’s other comic book franchises such as X-Men – who also have a plethora of characters Telltale could utilise – or The Fantastic Four.
Then there’s the possibility of utilising a ‘known’ Marvel characters who’ve fortunes may have faded – such as Elektra perhaps, whose ‘stock’ fell among casual fans after two movies of ‘questionable’ quality, but has enough cache to interest people whilst also providing a (still shockingly) rare female lead in a game.
Oh the possibilities.
Personal preference leans towards a Guardians or Dr Strange related affair – with the inter galactic undertones meaning Telltale can really take it ‘out there’, without worrying about the log jam of events on Earth. It still lets them tie in to established cinematic themes, allows for further exploration of featured settings like Knowhere whilst also giving scope to set down on strange new worlds.