We sat down with Telltale Games co-founder and CEO Kevin Bruner for a chat about their next episodic adventure starring none other than Batman. At E3 Telltale had constructed a Wayne Manor set to get visitors in the mood for some Dark Crusading.
"We put a lot of energy into doing a lot of upgrades to the tech and the engine", Bruner said when discussing the improved visual style of the game. "All the lighting's in real time now and higher resolution models and the surfacing of everything and the materials are all upgraded - it's the best looking thing we've ever done". The gameplay has also been improved too. "We've tried to upgrade the QTEs and the combat sequences as well, so they're all choreographed in a new way", being choreographed by a stunt group specifically for the game. Telltale have also "layered in a lot of innovations into the QTEs" and there is a new system whereby the player earn finishing moves by filling up a meter in fights, getting to use them later on in specific situations.
In regards to the narrative elements, specifically balancing between being Bruce Wayne and Batman, "we like to say 'it doesn't matter what suit you're wearing' whether you're wearing the tuxedo or the Batman suit - you're always Batman". Bruner said "the things that you do either as Bruce or Batman can affect the other side as well", especially since almost half the game will be as Bruce, however, "there's going to be times in the series where you actually choose do you want to go an attack a situation as Bruce or Batman" and these decisions will also impact the story.
In terms of the plot, Bruner said that the series starts with "Bruce [as] part of the Harvey Dent election campaign" which then gets "kind of messy" for him. "Wayne Enterprises is a big part of the story" as well since it helps fund and influence the election campaign, leading to complications for both Bruce and Batman.
A key addition to the game is "a whole new mechanic for the detective side", Bruner drawing attention to the fact that "Batman is the world's greatest detective". Included in the game then are "new ways of collecting evidence and making conclusion about what's happened in a particular scene" when walking around, and this can be done as either Bruce Wayne or Batman. Also added to the game are dialogue options that split into three ways as opposed to two binaries. "Here we have places where we add third options every now and then, just to make the story branch more and kind of give more variety".
In terms of the visual style and how it looks very much like a graphic novel, Bruner said that "Batman has such a heritage" and "most of it is grounded in comics" so the whole art style of the game is an attempt to pay homage to this aspect of Batman's history. "The game to me looks like a really like nice version of a coffee table graphic novel book".
When asked whether the first episode was ready, Bruner joked "oh, it's never ready till it's ready" although he did say that it will come out soon but the company will be working on it up until the last minute "to polish everything to the best of our ability". The first episode will launch later this summer, however, with the series aiming to be concluded by the end of the year.
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