Telltale Games should make a Scooby-Doo episodic game next, here's why
Telltale Games is a leading developer in the games industry and the studio that revitalised the point-and-click genre. I won't bore you with the history of Telltale, you know what the studio does and why it has become so popular, but I do want to explain my reasoning before delving into the actual idea.
Telltale needs to make a Scooby-Doo game, and could get the rights.
First off, we all love Scooby-Doo. Everyone has been a big fan of the cartoon series at some point, be it the original Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? or A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, What's New, Scooby-Doo?, or even the lesser-known 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo.
Telltale Games has a history of choosing fairly huge properties to make episodic seasons with. We all know and love The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us, and the ongoing seasons for Game of Thrones, Tales from the Borderlands and Minecraft: Story Mode are very good, but Telltale also made a Back to the Future game, which was just re-released on PS4 and Xbox One, a Jurassic Park season, and a CSI series.
2017 will also see the release of a Telltale/Marvel game series, so it's no secret that Telltale is able to secure the rights to some pretty huge properties. This, of course, leads to a lot of speculation and theories as to which series the studio might take on next. Everyone has their dream property that they would like taken on, be it Star Wars, Doctor Who, Dexter (perfect fit), or Mass Effect, among many others.
A Scooby-Doo game from Telltale practically writes itself.
The two are a perfect fit with the mystery solving, the art-style, and the episodic format. I've always had this idea, but it was the animated series, Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated that made me realise exactly how it would work. If you haven't watched this particular iteration of the gang, I highly recommend it. Not simply because it's Scooby-Doo and all things Scooby-Doo are awesome but it's genuinely a very good show and, most importantly, it has a running plot.
Yes, for the first time ever a series of Scooby and the gang was not made up of random weekly episodes; it had a recurring plot that ran through every episode, building from the first episode right through the season.
Mystery Incorporated sees the gang in their hometown of Crystal Cove, a small town in which an awful lot of ghosts and monsters seem to show up. The twist though is that the sheriff and Fred's father, the mayor, are aware of the goings-ons and try to discourage the gang from exposing the mysteries because they encourage tourism. All the while a presence, known only as Mister E. sends the gang confusing messages that hint at a much larger mystery that pre-dates them by many years.
If you haven't watched Mystery Incorporated, you should
What has this got to do with a Telltale game? Well, Mystery Incorporated showed us that Scooby Doo can be light-hearted and funny, while also having a larger plot that ties episodes together and being for all ages. Much like any great animated movie, there are jokes for the adults as well as the kids and the plot is just serious enough to make it grip you.
Telltale Games has some fantastic writers with a proven track record with both gravity and humor - The Walking Dead and Tales from the Borderlands represent both ends of the spectrum, respectively. And their most recent work on Minecraft: Story Mode has shown that the studio can inject life and characters into an iconic world that millions are familiar with. I have full faith that the team could write Scooby-Doo and make it appeal to everyone.
To be or not to be, 5 episodes
Telltale usually goes with the 5-episode a season format (besides Game of Thrones' 6) and I think that would suit Scooby-Doo perfectly. Similarly to Game of Thrones, there could be multiple playable characters, one for each episode.
So, each episode would have one playable character and a mystery. Episodes 1-4 would center on these mysteries but feature a growing thread of a larger mystery, which would culminate in the final episode.
In episode 1 you would play as Shaggy and, once the gang inevitably split up, he would have to lure the monster into the trap. Then episode 2 you play as Velma and it's up to you to figure out who the culprit is. In every episode, you play as a member who has a different role in the group, making each mystery feel diverse.
The final episode would of course be all about Scooby: maybe he gets completely separated from the gang and must do everything on his own to solve the mystery and reunite the meddling kids.
That's just a rough idea for how it could work with the episodic format and multiple playable characters. Game of Thrones has been a good series for Telltale but the multiple playable characters has left me feeling much less attached to the characters. I would care so much more for Rodrick, Asher, or Mera if I spent more time with them, as opposed to 20 minutes every episode.
Imagine how much less meaningful the relationship between Lee and Clementine would be if that story was split between Lee, Kenny, Lilly, Ben, and so on. However, I don't see that as a problem for Mystery Inc.
Mystery Inc. is an established brand
Everyone knows Scooby-Doo, Shaggy, Fred, Velma and Daphne, so it wouldn't take hours of exposition and characterization to make us care for them. The gang would also be together in every episode. Unlike GOT, they wouldn't be separated by seas and so you would constantly be seeing and invested in the story of each member.
This obviously wouldn't be a life or death kind of game. Much like Minecraft: Story Mode and Back to the Future, it would be more light-hearted and fun, therefore the big choices you make wouldn't be life and death based, they would relate to the mystery. The choices you make would determine whether or not you solve the mystery correctly.
Of course, before every unmasking you would have to choose who you think is underneath.
So there you have it, my pitch for a Scooby-Doo game by Telltale. I would be more than happy for Telltale Games to take this idea and run with it, I expect no royalties, maybe just a mention in the credits! *wink wink*
Do you like the idea of a Scooby-Doo game? Would you play it? If so let us know in the comments and/or berate Telltale Games on Twitter! I'm kidding, don't berate anyone, let them know politely or share this exquisite article.