E3 2011: Jurassic Park
I have to admit, I wasn’t overly familiar with Telltale Games prior to this year’s E3. The independent developer self-publishes adventure games in a downloadable, episodic format. It’s a progressive and undoubtedly successful business model, and one that seems to be working well. At this year’s show, they demonstrated their upcoming title, Jurassic Park.
Like their other titles, the focus is firmly on the story and character development, rather than the gameplay. Yet with Jurassic Park, they’re introducing a number of new mechanics to their adventure game formula. Rather than using a primarily point-and-click input method, the demo we were shown had control prompts in the environment, much like you would see on a console game. This makes it easier to understand what can be done, and allows for both exploratory and action sequences.
Moving to and from multiple areas of the same scene is also more straightforward. Bringing up a menu allows you to move to a location with one button press, without having to tediously walk to and from each one. It seems that while Telltale thrive on what are essentially traditional adventure games, they’re not afraid to improve their fundamental mechanics either.
In the segment shown, there was more drama and action that I expected. This suits the franchise the game is based on, with dinosaurs trying to eat the characters at almost every opportunity. The graphics, above average for a downloadable title, complemented the narrative well.
I hadn’t previously realised, but Telltale also publish their games on the iPad and iPhone. This, I believe, is where they’ll really take off. Although adventure games are towards the more casual end of the videogames scale, the format of downloadable games on the PC isn’t the most accessible. With the App Store, there’s a new audience primed for this kind of content. Jurassic Park looks ready to make the most of that, and Telltale’s existing audience when it’s released in November.