PAX East 2017: Birth of the Marvel Telltale Universe

Now a tradition at PAX, Telltale’s panel at PAX East 2017 brought a bevy of news about the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy series to eager fans. Presented as a different take on the characters from the enormously popular movie, the series was described as “Action and heartbreak and everything you’d want from a Telltale game” by community manager Caroline Liddick. Telltale’s head of creative communications Job Stauffer emphasized that “it’s really the Marvel Telltale Universe” and that “Telltale has become a safe space to create and collaborate”, a critical value for a studio that focuses so heavily on narrative in their games.

The importance of  Telltale’s first adventure game in the Marvel universe was top of mind for Bill Rosemann, executive creative director of the newly formed Marvel Games who acknowledged that they “only got one shot to get this right”. He pointed out that it was “a dream to work on the game based on the movie based on the comic” and his commitment to “write about important issues, but make sure you know who everyone is, how they relate to each other”.

Job described the process as “When we develop games, we develop them live” and the importance of being able to “change and adjust for next episode, always take feedback into consideration” between episodes. Bill’s commitment that the team would “never write down, we write up” was a strong statement about the Marvel Games team’s focus on challenging its audience. One example that stood out was Peter Quill’s Walkman, a device that simultaneously provides him (and us) with great job as well as a bittersweet feel when it reminds Peter of his mom.

Executive producer Justin Lambrose spoke the team’s commitment to “make sure that they’re doing justice to each one of the characters” while “bringing in Telltale’s unique style”. The company showed a willingness to challenge fan expectations and history with a franchise with their take on Batman, which looks to continue with the Guardians as Justin emphasized that Telltale is “not reselling an origin” and their desire to “dig in to each one of the characters so we can understand the choices we’re making”. A prime example of the character development is Rocket (voiced by Nolan North, a Marvel recommendation) whom Bill describes as “the Wolverine of the group: short, hairy and a lot of attitude”. The series will also feature a new female character for the first time outside of comics as well…!

Bill said it best in describing Marvel Games’ approach as one that’s “always a mix of serious and fun”. The Telltale panel at PAX East 2017 showed off concept art, narrative previews and an in-depth look at the collaboration with Marvel Games that should result in a memorable adventure game with the Guardians of the Galaxy later this year.

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