At a panel at SXSW Gaming today, Telltale Games discussed its work on the upcoming Batman series titled, simply, Batman: A Telltale Games Series. Most notably, Telltale's Job Stauffer revealed the rough release window for the game. "We'll be premiering this summer," Stauffer said. But because of the way that Telltale makes its games, "There's not a lot we can show you until we're really close to premiering," Stauffer said.
To illustrate that point, the team only brought one new asset to share with the audience: the above photograph of the game's script. "That's episode one of five episodes," writer Pierre Shorette said towards the end of the panel. "Branching makes a lot of things. So, it's a ton of writing, and because it's a ton of writing, I think that's why we have to be script first, and story first."
The new game will include "a lot of new Telltale stuff," CEO Kevin Bruner said, referring to the studio's iterative development model, promising some new features and technology. "It's still a Telltale game, but it will be evolved from what you've seen [from Telltale] before. But I think a more significant step than you've seen from any of our products in the past, both technologically and creatively I think there's a lot of really cool things going into Batman," Bruner said.
The game will also heavily focus on Bruce Wayne, not just Batman. When asked if it would be possible to play the entire game without being Batman, Bruner admitted, "not the entire game." He said, "We do think that's something we're going to offer people," and added that the team expects people to try to play their Batman game with as little Batman as possible.
"Certain key situations will give the player the decision to approach a scene as Bruce or Batman, with consequences for both sides," Telltale added in a blog post published after the panel concluded. The studio also said that Batman: A Telltale Games Series will offer a "fresh interpretation of the universe set in current times, not tied to any existing iteration of Batman in games, film, or comics." The developers are going for a "non-photorealistic" look, a comic book art style inspired by artists such as Jim Lee, Greg Capullo and Neal Adams.
On the side of good, players can expect to see characters such as Alfred Pennyworth, Vicki Vale, James Gordon, and Renee Montoya. Some characters will have a "deeply personal relationship" with Bruce Wayne, according to Telltale. As for the villains, the studio is keeping mum on the game's rogues' gallery for now.
Despite the cartoony look of the trailer, and comic book past of the character, Batman: A Telltale Games Series will be rated M, and the team likened the game to an R-rated movie. "Audience-wise, we're definitely going to be landing in the Mature, 17 and up," Stauffer said. "It'll feel almost like an R-rated movie. If you've played The Wolf Among Us or The Walking Dead, sort of the same parameters."