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Telltale teaming with Lionsgate to create 'Super Show' hybrid of games and TV

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Entertainment company Lionsgate is investing in game studio Telltale Games, with the two companies set to produce entertainment that is part video game, part television show, they announced today.

Lionsgate has made a "significant investment" in Telltale, according to a press release from Lionsgate; the companies did not disclose financial terms of the deal.

Telltale is renowned for its cinematic interactive adventure game franchises, led by two seasons of The Walking Dead (screenshot above), which have totaled 8.5 million copies sold. Other ongoing projects include The Wolf Among Us, Game of Thrones and Tales from the Borderlands.

Lionsgate is a producer of films and television shows including Netflix's Orange is the New Black, AMC's Mad Men, the Hunger Games movie series and John Wick. The company began its expansion into video games last April with the hiring of Peter Levin, co-founder and former CEO of Nerdist Industries, as its president of interactive ventures and games.

"Our partnership with Kevin Bruner and his team at Telltale continues to accelerate our momentum in the game space," said Levin in a prepared statement. "The convergence between premium filmed entertainment brands and original game properties is a natural direction in which to continue diversifying our content business, and Telltale is the perfect partner with whom to explore this dynamic area of growth."

"Lionsgate has a great track record in developing and marketing feature films as well as platform-defining premium scripted television," said Kevin Bruner, CEO of Telltale Games, in the press release. "This partnership will accelerate Telltale's ability to create not only original games, but episodic television series based on our game properties — an area at the cutting edge of industry growth."

Telltale and Lionsgate will collaborate on a hybrid of television and video games, a type of entertainment that Bruner called a "Super Show" in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. The concept sounds similar to Remedy Entertainment's upcoming Xbox One exclusive, Quantum Break.

"A 'Super Show' episode combines one part of interactive playable content with one part of scripted television style content. Both pieces, when combined together, are what make an actual Super Show 'episode,'" Bruner told Entertainment Weekly. "It's not an interactive series with a show, or a TV show with a game, but a story integrated in a way that only Telltale can do. For us it's a very natural evolution of the interactive story telling expertise we've pioneered."

The inaugural Super Show project will be for Telltale's first original intellectual property, which the studio mentioned when Bruner succeeded co-founder Dan Connors as CEO last month. Bruner explained that Telltale and Lionsgate are designing individual Super Show episodes in a way that allows people to play the game or watch the TV content in any order. He added that going forward, Telltale will work on Super Show projects as well as traditional games.

Telltale and Lionsgate are aiming high with their Super Show idea: "Our goal is to create products that have a legitimate chance of winning both a Golden Globe and a Game of the Year," said Bruner. For more, check out Entertainment Weekly's full interview.

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