10 Franchises Telltale Games Should Tackle

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This is a list that many people, including myself, having been throwing around for years now. Ever since Telltale's The Walking Dead became a mega-hit, people have tried to guess what might be next. Part of the intrigue stems from the fact that no other developer makes adventure games based on well-known franchises, and because of that we all want our personal favorite franchises to be tackled next.

There are several properties that I've longed for Telltale to get its hands on, including Dexter -- though I think the ship has sailed on my serial killer friend (so it won't be on this list). I'm also still clinging on to the very faint hope of The Wolf Among Us Season 2, but it seems Telltale is constantly finding new, bigger properties. So we're unlikely to see Bigby Wolf make a return.

Like I said, everyone has their personal choices, and I've given a few honorable mentions to those I saw lobbied for most by fans on Telltale's official forums. But at the end of the day, this list is primarily my own picks -- although I left a few out for failing to see how it could possibly work (like a WWE game). So not even I can justify some choices.

Without further ado, let the games begin!

10. Scooby-Doo

I want to start with this one because I've already written at length as to why I believe this would make a fantastic Telltale game. If you don't want to read that article -- though you should 'cause it's pretty great -- I can sum it up for you.

The season would consist of 5 episodes, as usual, with each episode featuring a different playable member of Mystery, Inc. Episode 1 might start off with a fan-favorite like Shaggy. The next episodes would move on to Daphne, Fred, and Velma. Episode 5 would have you playing as Scooby while all the other teens are captured. The first four episodes would feature contained mysteries, but with an overarching mystery slowly developing and culminating in this last episode.

Everything about Scooby-Doo lends itself to the Telltale formula, from the art style to the various well-known characters, as well as the crime-solving aspect. These two are a perfect match in my eyes, and I really hope this one happens -- though I won't be holding my breath.

8. BioShock

BioShock is an amazing game series that is chock full of story, zany characters, creepy atmosphere, and political/societal undertones. What more do you need to make a Telltale Games series?

The first assumption would be to have the game take place in the BioShock we know from the first two games. But I would far rather go a little further back and base the series on John Shirley's prequel novel, Rapture. Now I know a lot of video game tie-in novels are fairly forgettable, but Rapture is the opposite of that -- it's essential reading for any BioShock fan.

The novel begins with Andrew Ryan in New York as he is informed of the bombing of Hiroshima. This is the final straw for Ryan, who decides to put all of his fortune into building a new city under the sea. Ryan hires a man named Bill McDonagh to oversee the plumbing of the city, and this is the protagonist of the novel. It's a fantastic novel that I implore everyone to read, as it features the literal rise and fall of Rapture. We get to see it be built, function, and thrive as a city and society, then succumb to inequality, greed, claustrophobia, and the lure of Plasmids.

Setting a game in this amazing time period of Rapture would be the perfect bookend to the Rapture arc. Rapture is a setting that, having been in three video games, has been explored a ton, but it's so rich with depth that there is plenty room for more.

7. The Simpsons

It's been a long time since we've gotten a proper game based on The Simpsons. The last game came almost a decade ago and was pretty decent. Before that we had Hit & Run, which was an awesome game that followed the GTA craze of the time period and gave us an open world with car theft. I think we're long overdue for a great game about America's best family, and Telltale could pull it off.

We could obviously play as Homer, and that would be fine, or it could follow the template I set for Scooby-Doo, and let us play as each Simpson throughout the five episodes. One reason I love the idea of The Simpsons being episodic is that we could get a Treehouse of Horror episode, and a Christmas episode, helping reflect the show and vary the look of the episodes.

I won't try to pitch a plot for the series because, as South Park pointed out, The Simpsons has done it all. So whatever it's about, be it Sideshow Bob, Mr. Burns, Kang & Kodos, a giant dome, or something more meta, I'm totally down for a return to Springfield, Telltale-style!

3. The Godfather

This one pretty much writes itself. The Godfather is a hugely popular franchise, but I guess it might have a more niche appeal than many of the other choices in this list. The last film came out in 1990, almost 30 years ago, and the two games that came in the past decade were good, but didn't sell huge numbers. That being said, I think The Godfather would be an amazing fit.

So much like 2006's The Godfather on PS2, I imagine playing as a brand new initiate who must rise the ranks in Don Corleone's "family". You would go out and interrogate perps, persuade shop owners to give protection money, manage various rackets, and, of course, whack some dudes. All while dealing with the pressures of being part of a crime syndicate.

If you've seen The Godfather, or any gangster flick, you can see why this would make for a thrilling video game. Imagine the web of lies you would have to manage in order to stay one step ahead, and the horrible things you would have to do in order to ascend. Once again, it writes itself.

5. Fallout

Now this one might seem really out of left field, but it's a lot less so than Minecraft: Story Mode -- and that worked surprisingly well. A Fallout series, I think, would be a perfect fit for the Telltale treatment.

My pitch for this series would be for it to start pre-war, and you get warning that the bombs are incoming. You then would have to find shelter, but make dire consequences as to who can join you. This would immediately separate it from the Bethesda Fallout games, because it would be much more serious and emotional, and wouldn't place you in a Vault.

Maybe episode one ends with the bomb dropping, and the rest of the series is about you coping with the new world. Or, maybe the entire 5 episodes are preparing for the bombs to drop, with season 2 then being post-war. Whatever the story, I'm sure Telltale and Bethesda could come up with something really interesting that gives us a new way to view the world of Fallout, while staying true to the series.

4. Psycho

"We all go a little mad sometimes."  And you might think I'm a little mad for pitching Psycho as a 5 episode interactive game but, truth be told, I'm not so much thinking Psycho as I am Bates Motel.

If you have not seen Bates Motel, a series I cannot recommend highly enough, I'll give you the elevator pitch. A young Norman Bates and his mother, Norma, buy the rundown motel just outside of White Pine Bay. Norman isn't a psycho just yet, he's just a shy high school student, but he is showing some tendencies. The town of White Pine Bay is every bit as corrupt as Norman's mind -- with drugs, bad cops, and evil businessmen. Isn't that perfect for Telltale?

Maybe we play as Norman as he struggles with his inner demons. Or maybe we play as Norma, who has to cover up her son's antics while trying to make something of herself in the bizarre little town. Or maybe we play as Norman's brother, Dylan, who also has to cover up for Norman, deal with their crazy mother, as well as make money by operating a drug farm. Any of those would be fascinating choices, and there are even more options than that. Maybe this is a more personal choice, but I really think it would make for a fascinating, and very different, type of Telltale game.

9. Dragon Ball

Dragon Ball is a hugely popular franchise that has seen a resurgence in recent years, as has anime in general. Dragon Ball is the very best anime has to offer -- with hilarious, lovable characters, insane action, unique aesthetic, and love-to-hate bad guys. There's a huge well of story and characters to draw upon here, and Telltale could flourish.

I say Dragon Ball, but I'm not implying it has to be the original series. I would be just as happy with Z, but I think the original would be an easier feat, considering it has far fewer crazy action scenes. That being said, the more serious tone of Dragon Ball Z would probably suit Telltale better.

I would obviously love to play as one of the iconic characters, be it Goku, Vegeta, Gohan, Bulma, or someone out of left field, like Bardock. But Telltale could also create a completely original character who only crosses paths with Goku. If Telltale were able to get legendary artist Akira Toriyama on board, I think this could be something very special!

6. Halloween/Nightmare on Elm Street/etc.

Up until a year ago, I would never have envisioned Telltale making a horror series. Sure they've done The Walking Dead, but I mean real, true horror with jump scares and serious tension. Enter Until Dawn. Sony's surprise hit of 2015 showed that interactive gaming meshes incredibly well with horror, and in doing so many claimed Supermassive Games bested Telltale and Quantic Dream at their own game. And I reckon Telltale probably took notice.

The difference with Telltale is that it can get the rights to an iconic horror franchise. If Telltale wants to apply its style of interactive, episodic gaming to the horror genre, it could do so with Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, Jason Vorhees, Chucky, or even The Crow. Any of those characters would make for an amazing game, although The Crow would certainly demand a different type of game.

Play as an innocent teenage girl (or something less cliché) as Michael Myers stalks you around your suburban paradise. Or a Nightmare On Elm Street series could take you to all sorts of locales with the iconic dream sequences - Telltale could have lots of fun with those. Basically, there is a wide spectrum of horror characters that Telltale could opt to play with, and I am certain it would be a big success.

2. Star Wars

I think of all the suggestions I've seen thrown around of Telltale's official forums, Star Wars is the most commonly requested. I can't say that's surprising -- Star Wars is an amazing franchise, one that is now more relevant than ever and can fit into any genre and type of game/movie/TV show.

We've only gotten one Star Wars game since EA bought the license from LucasArts in 2013, although Lego The Force Awakens is on the horizon. So Telltale would have to get the rights from EA, a company that is very protective of the franchise but seems willing to lend the license when it makes sense and will be handled well. Which is exactly how Telltale would treat the IP.

I'm not even going to try and pitch the story, setting, or characters for this particular game, because Star Wars is an endless well of possibilities. Maybe it's a Han Solo game, an Anakin Skywalker game, or a Boba Fett game. Heck, maybe it's a Watto game. I have no idea, but I do know that whatever it is, it would sell in the millions.

The best thing about this pitch is that it's the only one that Telltale has actually stated it would love to get its hands on. Telltale CEO Kevin Bruner said in a Reddit question that:

"...coming from LucasArts we have so many people here that love Star Wars and have worked with the license so that would be a great fit and very cool."

Of all the suggestions in this list, this is the one that I truly believe is more a matter of time.

Honourable Mentions:

  • Supernatural
  • The 100
  • Doctor Who
  • Sherlock
  • Dune
  • Law & Order
  • Star Trek
  • Firefly
  • X-Files
  • Scott Pilgrim
  • Sons of Anarchy

1. Harry Potter

And here we are, the number one franchise that Telltale Games should tackle. This is one I didn't actually see thrown around all that much, but it makes so much sense and fits the tone of Telltale Games perfectly.

When this game takes place is the only sticking spot for me, because the books cover every single aspect of Harry's life -- except for the boring summer vacations. However I wouldn't be at all opposed to a series that simply retells the story of the books, with season one being the first book. Or maybe we play as a completely random student at Hogwarts who only sees the boy who lived in passing. Either way, I would be one very happy muggle!

The Harry Potter universe is an amazing one that would look beautiful with Telltale's cel-shaded art. And the likelihood of this actually happening? Well, EA still owns the rights to the license, but the studio that made the Harry Potter movie tie-in games was shut down after the final movie/game. Since then, EA has been completely silent about the future of the IP, but that's a big name to just leave dormant. I don't think this one is all that unlikely, but it requires EA's agreement, as does Star Wars. Come on EA!

What franchises would you like to see Telltale take a crack at? Let me know down in the comments!

Published Feb. 24th 2016

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