A long time ago, I wrote about this and this time I’d like to go more in-depth. Blizzard Entertainment so far has developed the following games covering multiple genres:
World of Warcraft (MMO)
StarCraft II (Real-Time Strategy/RTS)
Diablo III (Roleplaying Game/RPG)
Hearthstone (Online Collectible Card Game/CCG)
Heroes of the Storm (Team-Brawler/MOBA)
A couple of weeks ago, Blizzard Entertainment unveiled their latest video game currently in the oven… OVERWATCH. So what is Overwatch? It is a team-based multiplayer shooter. Some might think: multiplayer first-person shooter. Overwatch is very similar to Team Fortress 2, but it definitely has many differences too.
This article isn’t about Overwatch, however. Blizzard Entertainment has slowly sneaked on us introducing new genres they had never explored before. A CCG, a Team Brawler and a Team-based Multiplayer Shooter (FPS).
There is one genre Blizzard Entertainment hasn’t made, and it would be very exciting for them to explore that genre.
The Walking Dead by Telltale Games is an episodic interactive drama graphic adventure. Alright, that’s a very long genre name with fancy words– but if you have never played that game then let me tell you… it is awesome!
I had never read the comics nor watched any of the TV series. The first time I ever heard about The Walking Dead was chatting with a livestreamer on Skype. I watched her gameplay video; and I fell in love. I wanted to play that game. It didn’t take long before I downloaded it on Steam.
Basically, the game is very story focused. It is like an interactive cinematic of scripted events where you choose one of four options. Your decision drives the story, and those decisions will lead to different outcomes.
For example, sometimes you have to choose between helping either one person or the other. Sometimes helping member 1 would result in the death of member 2. Sometimes the other person is able to handle it, and you took the right decision. Now imagine member 2 dying and not showing up in the entire game. However, if you had saved that person he would have been throughout the story. Different paths based on your decision.
That offers a sense of replayability as you attempt to see what the story would have been if you had chosen the other three options.
Now, Blizzard Entertainment could benefit a LOT from developing a game like The Walking Dead.
Let’s say a Warcraft-based episodic interactive drama graphic adventure was made. What this type of game could do is expand the Warcraft lore and allow the Creative Team to tell awesome stories.
We are currently exploring Draenor in Warlords of Draenor — which allows us to get to know the Warlords of Warcraft II. Blizzard could make a game where we can live the story of the Three Hammers War, or War of the Ancients, or the Troll Wars, or a look into Medivh’s early years.
How about making the past Warcraft novels into interactive games? Such a game would help people learn more about the lore, and hopefully introduce them into reading the novels, or at least obtain the lore through an interactive game media.
The key part of The Walking Dead: The Game is that it is episodic. What that means is that Telltale games ships an episode at a time. You play it, and 3-5 months later Telltale Games ships digitally the next episode. Season 1 and Season 2 consist of 5 episodes each (for a total of 10 episodes).
We have seen Blizzard create new teams to tackle a specific game. Look at the Hearthstone team. They started up with a small group, and shipped the best Blizzard game yet with over 20 million players worldwide.
For an episodic interactive drama graphic adventure, Blizzard Entertainment would need a new team to focus on dishing out episodes every 3-5 months. These don’t need to have a Season 2. Blizzard could simply work on different eras. Different main characters. And tell a whole new chapter focused somewhere in the Warcraft timeline.
That sort of game is like reading a book, but as an interactive graphic story.
Something that The Walking Dead game lacks is more action. Sometimes you don’t kill or fight for long periods of time, or as often as you might expect. Blizzard might have more opportunity to create a spellbar UI to have epic fights while still delivering a story in that genre. That would set their game apart with more interactive options than Telltale’s game.
Think about it this way: What if instead of watching Lords of War to learn that lore, you instead played Lords of War as an interactive cinematic? Each decision you make forges the story, and each time you replay it with different options, you get different results. Of course, some stuff remains intact. Blizzard knows about random maps in Diablo III, so it wouldn’t be too difficult to apply that to an interactive game with different paths.
As for alternate options/endings, we can always blame it to the different timeways, eh?
For those who never played The Walking Dead: The Game, here is a video I uploaded some time ago from “Season 2, Episode 5: No Going Back”. The video lasts 1:41 hours. Be warned: There is a lot of violence and foul language.