Telltale: this is your opportunity to break the radio silence.

edited December 2016 in General Chat

Over the past couple of days, frustrations with telltale's current manner of creating and advertising their episode have been thrust into the forefront, in large part due to the fact that Telltale rarely interacts with its fans except in an advertising context and attempts to hype people.

The concerns people have with episodes 1 and 2 of TWD: S3 are not new, but are reccurrant threads of issues people have had with Telltale for years.

The biggest issues I've seen are:

  • Episode length. Episodes have been getting progressively shorter, but season prices are still the same. How can I recommend a friend to spend £25 on 7 hours of gameplay when in the past they would have paid the same for 10 hours?

Usually length isn't such a specific issue, going hour by hour on games, but with the small length of Telltale seasons generally in terms of play hours, each hour really does count.

People have raised concerns about episode length since at least TWAU, and I think I remember people being concerned with the length of Season 1 Episode 5 of TWD.

Now, of course length isn't everything, quality over quantity and all that, but when episodes were longer, their quality wasn't significantly lower. If you ask people to spend their money on your game, you should try to make what they pay for consistent, especially as you often pay in advance for episodes that may end up significantly falling short of gameplay expectations.

  • Impact of choices and predictable storylines. We get it, it is hard to consistently make us feel that our choices are worth something, and we also get that you can't make every choice massively impactful. However it has become so incredibly predictable that determinant characters will either say very little or die shortly after you save them. If you are going to do determinant characters, do them right.

We are also aware that you say the game is 'tailored' by our choices, not massively altered - but Telltale still prides itself on its games having complex choices, and even if there aren't many big ones, the impacts of the biggest choices should be well developed - at least those of the 5 end choices displayed after each episode.

  • Inconsistent episode structuring. Not only are episode lengths wildly different (I believe having consistent episode lengths would help with the clarity of your product greatly) but the presentation of them between each series, season and episode also differ. Some seasons have opening credits while some lack them, some have songs in the credits while others (such as recently TWD s3) just have quiet music, sometimes we get 'next time' trailers and sometimes they're inexplicably absent, sometimes the end of series summarises our interactions with characters (TWD 1, TWAU, TFFTB, GoT) and sometimes they don't at all.

If you want happy consumers you need your episodes to be consistent in quality and presentation, so people know what to expect, and know what they should spend their money on. I have spent £25 on TWD S3 - and I have no idea whether the next episodes will all be 1 hour, or 2 hours, whether they will offer good value for money in terms of choices or not, etc.. People should know what they are paying for when they pay for it.

All of these issues are underlined by the fact that Telltale very rarely (and increasingly rarely, it seems) interacts with their fans over concerns. They only poke their heads out to try to sell us the next episode. If you want people to trust you enough to spend their money on a product they have very little way of predicting the quality of, you need to be around, responding the fan feedback and getting involved with your community. I can't remember the last time I saw your community manager commenting on the forums.

This isn't an attack - this is a request. People are frustrated and concerned about their purchases, the future of your company and its games, and especially about your apparent unwillingness to interact with them and to listen to their worries. Please, talk to us. Show us you are listening and that you are taking our concerns into consideration, as people have raised these concerns for years, and very little has improved.

We really do enjoy your games, and we appreciate your work, but it's becoming harder and harder, for me at least, to justify spending hard-earned money on something stagnant and unclear.

Thank you.

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Comments

  • edited December 2016

    People have raised concerns about episode length since at least TWAU, and I think I remember people being concerned with the length of Season 1 Episode 5 of TWD.

    Now, of course length isn't everything, quality over quantity and all that, but when episodes were longer, their quality wasn't significantly lower. If you ask people to spend their money on your game, you should try to make what they pay for consistent, especially as you often pay in advance for episodes that may end up significantly falling short of gameplay expectations.

    I was tempted to make a thread earlier, as I must admit I do get a bit tired of the complaints about the episode length, especially when they're made without actually trying the episodes with being a writer myself and knowing that quantity isn't everything. I'm more of a short story writer myself, so . . .

    It's like with tv shows, you know they're going to be roughly 42 minutes without adverts (unless they're by, for example, HBO). With Netflix, they're variable between 45 - 60 minutes, generally. I haven't watched it yet, but I've read that The OA is generally an hour long each episode, but one of them is only 30 minutes. A marked difference, but that doesn't mean that episode will be bad. It could be the perfect length for the story being told.

    Anyway, in that thread, I would have suggested that Telltale inform people of the estimated episode length (generally) for each season on the store page for each product. If people still bought it, they'd only have themselves to blame, really. There is, however, a difference between buying something when you know how long the episodes are before complaining that you want them longer, and saying that the episode isn't long enough for the story being told. The last one would be a valid criticism.

    So, in summary:

    It might be an idea for Telltale to give general length estimates on the store pages. I am, however, not looking at this from a business perspective. So, it might not be feasible. If they do read this though and agree . . . if they're planning on just over an hour for each episode, they could say something like 'episode length is estimated at 65 - 80 minutes'. Obviously, they won't know how long each episode is till they make it, but they should have a rough idea and it allows for changes. It won't stop everyone complaining either, as nothing ever pleases everyone . . . but it might help. (Also, I'd make it so the estimate is the time for doing the bare minimum, as dialog and cutscenes can't be skipped.)

  • I like this a lot. Not only would it reassure those who have paid for the episodes in advance, but it would also give telltale a specific regular target to work for, leading to more general consistency.

    Rob_K posted: »

    People have raised concerns about episode length since at least TWAU, and I think I remember people being concerned with the lengt

  • I am cross posting this from the Shorter Episodes thread (which I also reposted in another thread). What do you all think of my proposed idea, assuming that Telltale is further pursuing their trajectory of making interactive Netflix shows instead of making more self contained episodes in the vein of Walking Dead Season 1?

    I know not everyone will agree with this since they want Telltale to go further in the direction of making games with longer episodes and more interactivity (puzzles, hubs, etc) instead of interactive shows, but since Telltale is instead going in the direction of interactive Netflix, hear me out on this idea:


    Original Post:

    If Telltale wants to do shorter episodes, I think something better to consider would be releasing a larger amount of episodes that were cheaper, like something closer to a TV Season.

    Instead of buying a five or six episode Season with $5 episodes for 90-120 minutes of gameplay on average every month, what if they charged 2 or 3 dollars for 10 to 12 biweekly episodes at around 45-60 minutes?

    Games like Season 1 of Walking Dead had more self contained episodes with a collective plot, whereas other games that came after (Wolf, Walking Dead Season 2, everything onward) have treated their episodic formula as five parts of one story (with quicker pacing) instead of five slower paced, self-contained stories with a larger overall narrative threading them together.

    With their current direction where they are trying to treat their games as literal interactive shows (to the point of emulating the Netflix menu for Batman, New Frontier, and presumably their new games going onward), I think that the new model I proposed could actually be kinda interesting.

    A visual, to simplify my idea:

    Old Format

    • Episode Count: 5-6 Episodes.
    • Episode Price: $5.
    • Episode Duration: 90-120 minutes on average.
    • Episode Delivery: Episode released every 1 to 2 months

    • Episode Revision: Produce and Revise Episodes live in production

    • Total gameplay time on average: 5 Episodes * 1 hour 45 minutes = 7.5 hours priced at $25 ($5 per Episode)

    My proposed new format:

    • Episode Count: 10-12 Episodes
    • Episode Price: $2 or $3 (Maybe even $2.50)
    • Episode Duration: 30-60 minutes on average
    • Episode Delivery: Episode released every 2 or 3 weeks

    • Episode Revision: Produce several of the episodes in advance at once, stick to minor revisions if any at all

      • Alternate Idea: Make the 5th/6th Episode a "mid Season finale" and take a 1.5 month break to revise the entire second half of the Season to incorporate fan feedback, instead of revising all five/six episodes by hand with feedback from each previous episode.

    • Total gameplay time on average: 10 Episodes * 45 minutes = 7.5 hours priced at $25 ($2.5 per Episode)

  • I love your idea and it really seems like it can migrate the shorter episode length.

    I think if Telltale do as you suggest, I wouldn't mind playing one hour episode as long as they are releasing this many episodes.

    I am cross posting this from the Shorter Episodes thread (which I also reposted in another thread). What do you all think of my pr

  • That's my point - since they are already trying to treat their episodes more like TV for Wolf, Season 2, and everything after, people would not mind short episodes if there were more of them, and if the length/delivery was similar to a TV show.

    I love your idea and it really seems like it can migrate the shorter episode length. I think if Telltale do as you suggest, I wouldn't mind playing one hour episode as long as they are releasing this many episodes.

  • This is actually an awesome idea. The new format would make more sense for the TV style that they are going for and with that many episodes, people can't really complain, since the overall experience is the same length.

    I am cross posting this from the Shorter Episodes thread (which I also reposted in another thread). What do you all think of my pr

  • The game industry are as cut throat and shark tank as they come.

    The question on Telltale's mind right now are probably not how to break through to it's fans but how much can they get away with?

    The answer seems to be not much more if they want to keep their status as a fairly well-respected developer of quality material and not the next Konami or EA.

  • Honestly, I don't think Telltale will give even the slightest of fucks regarding all the criticism they have received, until sales of their games drop to the point where.they make very little profit off of them. :/

  • Yeah, the gaming industry is far from a pleasant place to work in. Just recently, it was revealed that Crytek had not paid their employees in 2 months, and have now closed 5 out of 7 of their studios (the remaining 2 being the Frankfurt HQ and the one in Kiev), leaving who knows how many people unemployed, and without any compensation.

    The game industry are as cut throat and shark tank as they come. The question on Telltale's mind right now are probably not how

  • Telltale did hire a new Community Manager who does comment here alot, but a Community Manager really cant do that much when it comes to how a Season is going and problems it has. However, that makes me think that Telltales writing and development team doesn't really inform the community mangers so much, because it seems like the community managers never know whats really happening when something bad happens (Like Batman ep 4 and 5 not releasing correctly) And it sucks too, because I feel like alot of people blamed MostlyPoptarts, the still very new Community Manager and theres nothing she could really do because it isnt her job to make the episode come out on time, she's just the one who informs the community when new episodes and Telltale news is suppose to happen.

    And I really cant remember the last time Job or PuzzleBox posted something here, but being perfectly honest, it almost feels like Community Managers have 0 connection to the development teams. For example, you'd think after 2 years Telltale would have seen all those threads begging Telltale to not do what they did in season 3, but they did it, the exact way everyone begged Telltale not to do.

  • Blind SniperBlind Sniper Moderator
    edited December 2016

    I just feel bad that she walked straight into New Frontier, having only a few episodes of Batman as experience otherwise, since the Walking Dead community isn't exactly known to be as friendly as the other communities.

    She was highly active on the forums at first until people got mad about Batman Eps 4 and 5 being delayed by a couple days on certain platforms, and I can't imagine walking into all the nastiness that New Frontier has brought out of people would help either, which is unfortunate as that was the start of there being active community outreach. :/

    Poogers555 posted: »

    Telltale did hire a new Community Manager who does comment here alot, but a Community Manager really cant do that much when it com

  • If they drove MostlyPoptarts away, I will seriously be disappointed of these people. No matter how disappointed and mad they are, that is never a reason to blame and attack someone.

    Poogers555 posted: »

    Telltale did hire a new Community Manager who does comment here alot, but a Community Manager really cant do that much when it com

  • They're probably too embarrassed to.

    "Sorry we killed off two of the main characters in the very specific way you didn't want us to. We won't do it again. Also there's no long episode cause 1 sitting bullshit." Nope. They can't. Especially when this is the second season they messed up on.

  • It feels like right after The Walking Dead Game Season One ended, the quality dropped tremendously, it's like at first they wanted to do their best to prove to the world they could make an impact and they did but then after that it feels like they stopped trying because they were already on the road to success.

    I honestly think all the TTG games should be more like Season One - hubs that gave us the option to get to know characters more, puzzles for more interactive game-play, side quests that would have minor and short term outcomes, relationships with characters that were dynamic and changed the way they treated and talk to you, choices that actually had lasting effects and determinant characters that played a significant role in the story. They seriously could've made all their episodes longer had we just gotten a chance to get to know all of the characters through conversation but instead we never get a break, we're just pushed forward into the action.

  • Im actually happy with this season sure the choices kinda sucked but its not my story to tell its tt's story and they gonna tell it their way. so get some hankys i doubt they gonna go retcon it because people want diffrent outcomes tbh i think this season about a new character javiour and clem just in it to put some closure to her story.

  • There are times when I feel that the success of Season One had gotten to Telltale's head, which is probably why the quality of their work has steadily declined because the company assumed to themselves that their audience will remember their past success and purchase their work because of it. Why bother put in as much effort in your most recent work when you know that everyone is going to buy your games anyway?

    I'm not saying that all of their work after TWD Season One is terrible and effortless, but I believe it's at point on and after Tales of the Borderlands on is when Telltale's games had started to follow a similar pattern for nearly every recent game projects: one-note characters and their lackluster development, lack of consistent exploration and investigations to be drawn into their worlds, episodic length that is getting shorter and shorter, lack of diversity in choices and their consequences that makes replay-ability less incentive, and most of all, a lack of originality or innovation for each game project due to the franchise relying on the same formula over and over.

    Telltale really needs to step up their game and start adopting a fresh new game development strategy, otherwise they'll continue to alienate their fans and continue to produce uninspired games.

  • I find it comical people think anyone from telltale looks at the forums let alone take any feedback,criticism,etc from them. As long as telltale is making money with a good reputation they don't really care if any of the fans are happy because in the end they know people will keep giving them money regardless of quality or the product. That's why nothing is going to change for those upset with this season since telltale knows they'll make a profit regardless and will get good reviews.

  • edited December 2016

    Has anyone actually gotten save data for ANF from previous TWD seasons to work? I've sent multiple emails to support and gotten no response. Neither That day one patch thing they said would fix it or the website method via /wd2save works. Pretty pissed off.

  • I don't know why they would ever come here when people are signing petitions and asking for writers to be fired.

  • I see them here quite a bit tbh

    Chibikid posted: »

    I find it comical people think anyone from telltale looks at the forums let alone take any feedback,criticism,etc from them. As lo

  • I feel like we should also mention that they should probably come out and say something about the state of the website's appearance and overall functionality, and something about keeping us completely in the dark about certain things instead of giving a straight forward answer.

  • You know who got it right? They're not perfect, but Bioware. When fans were pissed off & felt cheated over the Mass Effect 3 ending, the company listened & made the extended cut. Dragon Age: Inquisition was received a lot better than Dragon Age 2 & faith was restored to many. TellTale can restore people's faith, too. All they have to do is listen & communicate with fans. Show us that they're not money grabbing & that they care about customer feedback.

  • They participated in other forums like Borderlands, Minecraft, Batman, etc. They just seemingly avoid the more toxic communities.

    Chibikid posted: »

    I find it comical people think anyone from telltale looks at the forums let alone take any feedback,criticism,etc from them. As lo

  • The trouble is, when they do interact in the 'non-toxic' communities, they only focus on the positives and not the negatives/ They may have interacted with Batman more but people still had complaints about length, and those weren't listened to. The issue is bigger than some places being too full of criticism - and if anything Telltale should take the fact that people are so upset as further evidence that their fans feel let down, rather than just refusing to touch them with a 10 foot pole.

    They participated in other forums like Borderlands, Minecraft, Batman, etc. They just seemingly avoid the more toxic communities.

  • Apparently they've also gone radio silent on this season 2 upload thing with ANF. I know now for sure it'd just not myself have the problem. Couple buddies having the same issue. It's like if they think if they ignore everyone long enough, they'll just go away. Which is the same type of a problem solving solution that 10 year olds use...

  • Especially with Christmas coming. Maybe they think if they wait out the holiday season people will forget.

    flymoefly posted: »

    Apparently they've also gone radio silent on this season 2 upload thing with ANF. I know now for sure it'd just not myself have th

  • Yeah, that too.

    Flog61 posted: »

    Especially with Christmas coming. Maybe they think if they wait out the holiday season people will forget.

  • People seem to be a lot more reactionary when it comes to this series. Straight out of the gate, people are acting like this is the worst game on earth. After playing both episodes now, I understand criticism, but I think people go a bit too overboard.

    Flog61 posted: »

    The trouble is, when they do interact in the 'non-toxic' communities, they only focus on the positives and not the negatives/ They

  • Doesn't Telltale take 2 weeks off this time of year?

    Flog61 posted: »

    Especially with Christmas coming. Maybe they think if they wait out the holiday season people will forget.

  • I agree, but it's because they're invested in the series of course and so they had high hopes

    KCohere posted: »

    People seem to be a lot more reactionary when it comes to this series. Straight out of the gate, people are acting like this is t

  • At least for the Walking Dead forum, I can sympathize with Telltale, as it seems like a no-win situation even if they step in and try to participate. With people getting so impassioned, it just seems like any attempt at them reaching out would lead to them drowning in a see of people getting personally angry at them for issues they have with episode quality.

    Flog61 posted: »

    I agree, but it's because they're invested in the series of course and so they had high hopes

  • Despite my anger with Telltale's choices, I'd actually be really happy for them to reach out and try and calm people down. Maybe even explain themselves. Whenever a game developer or dev team avoids the problems it always pisses me off, but when they actually make a conscious effort to try and patch things up it definitely helps things.

    At least for the Walking Dead forum, I can sympathize with Telltale, as it seems like a no-win situation even if they step in and

  • Hm, I like that. I'm okay either way if they go more "Interactive TV style" or "interactive Video Game", so this is an interesting concept. It would be weird for shorter episodes to be released, if they were only like an hour or so, but the shorter wait times between each release would compensate for that. The small window of time to talk and speculate about the series would be, well, small however. But this could maybe work.
    I like your thinking... ;)

    I am cross posting this from the Shorter Episodes thread (which I also reposted in another thread). What do you all think of my pr

  • Blind SniperBlind Sniper Moderator
    edited December 2016

    The small window of time to talk and speculate about the series would be, well, small however. But this could maybe work.

    If the episodes were bi-weekly or tri-weekly, they would still be the same; two episodes every month in a ten episode series would end the series in five months. That would be the same as Telltale's current five month format under monthly episode releases.

    AChicken posted: »

    Hm, I like that. I'm okay either way if they go more "Interactive TV style" or "interactive Video Game", so this is an interesting

  • You have a point there but i do believe they can certainly please the majority. You'll never please everyone when it comes to anything but you can certainly please a majority which is what telltale did in S1 and in my opinion S2. So it's not like nothing telltale's done nothing that the majority of fans didn't like i just think when it comes to ANF they had good intentions but didn't have good execution and i genuinely believe they can make this season a pretty good season in my opinion.

    At least for the Walking Dead forum, I can sympathize with Telltale, as it seems like a no-win situation even if they step in and

  • edited December 2016

    With Telltale's recent games, it just seems they're having a few stumbles, and need to get some good footing. They had a good high point with TFTB last year, and some of the content after that wasn't so critically acclaimed, but they're still doing good in my book. I think TTG just needs to take a real good look this time on their fan feedback and what worked right for them on their projects. After the new TWD season, people are really shaken. It seems like whatever Telltale was building up to was focused on the wrong things, and people were really turned off by that. They just need some time to work out what to improve and keep from their past experiences, and people won't feel so betrayed next time.

    And, just to add a small point. Their Minecraft series was seriously not a dip in their interactive storytelling. I think that series is the most "tailored" game they have made. The story rarely deviates in it, but there are many key moments that can change based on what you choose, even if some of those are cosmetic. The name for your group in EP1 sticks with you, the Figure you build, and the success of the competition depends on your choices, Reuben's appearance can change quickly if you defend him or not (he can get a black eye), There are many opportunities for different tools to be used, even though they have the same result, the entire first half and Opening credits of EP2 can change, different characters accompany you based on a previous episode, the Interactive Opening credits have different ways the credits can appear if you Fail/Win QTE prompts, Another determinant character moment can happen in the season later on, and there are a good number of cosmetic armor types to choose from later in the season (about 8, I think. each visually different.) And even choice of weapon in the final act have different looks, even if the outcome is the same... This is why I firmly believe that Telltale's Minecraft series has the most points for TTG to pull inspiration from. It had many moments that weren't always huge, story changing moments, but they had many, many small changes to situations.
    Something did happen to The Walking Dead, (for better or for worse), and I don't think Telltale can change much now to please people here, but they can revise their strategy for any future series. :)

    EDIT: I like how I say "small point" but it's actually my biggest paragraph. teehee.

  • Oh, makes sense. Math is good... :p

    The small window of time to talk and speculate about the series would be, well, small however. But this could maybe work.

  • edited December 2016

    I'm still waiting to even just try the game because the Telltale "link accounts" function is terrible.

  • Got to agree with you, Minecraft gets a lot of flak for being, well, a game based on Minecraft, but it is definitely one of Telltale's most tailored games with a good story backing it.

    AChicken posted: »

    With Telltale's recent games, it just seems they're having a few stumbles, and need to get some good footing. They had a good high

  • And then make a LOSS.

    Hear that Telltale? Does this make you want to change - the truth that you might be making a loss instead of a profit?

    RichWalk23 posted: »

    There are times when I feel that the success of Season One had gotten to Telltale's head, which is probably why the quality of the

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