PSLS Presents – Dan Connors, CEO and Co-Founder of Telltale
Telltale Games has been renowned for its supply of quality episodic graphic adventures since its creation in 2004, namely their Sam and Max series. The studio, formed mainly from former LucasArts employees, have set their sights on the PlayStation Network, intent on replicating the successes they have had on the PC on the Sony console. PlayStation LifeStyle chatted to the CEO and co-founder of Telltale, Dan Connors, about their first venture onto the PlayStation market, Sam and Max: The Devil’s Playground, as well as delving into the difficulties of an episodic game structure, and learning about the company’s future plans for the PS3.
PlayStation LifeStyle: First off Dan, could you tell us a bit about yourself and your work on Sam and Max?
Dan Connors: My name’s Dan Connors, I’m the CEO of Telltale, I co-founded Telltale with co-founder Kevin Bruner in 2004. I’ve been working on Sam and Max since Sam and Max hit the road in 1993. And basically, as the founder of Telltale I’m involved in all the business activities as well as the Executive Producer on the Sam and Max title.
PSLS: Sam and Max was the first game that could be preordered for the PSN, how did you come about this decision, and was it a successful choice?
DC: Well, preorder’s something we’ve been doing on the PC, when we started doing episodic games when the company first launched, and it’s worked really well for us. When we went to the folks at PSN they were open to it and so we felt like it’s always something that’s worked for us, and they had the technology to execute it, so we did it and so far it’s been really good for us.
PSLS: This will be Telltale’s first game on the PS3, what has development been like?
DC: It’s been great, we’ve really have tried to take advantage of the PlayStation’s graphical powers, even, for the first time in the company’s history, we’ll have all kinds of realtime shadows in the game and we’ll really feel like the look has gone up another level. We also have been pushing to get the right control feel for the game, to make it feel like a strong PlayStation product and our games feel really great using the controller in a way we didn’t necessarily expect, so we’re excited to see what console fans think of it.
PSLS: Does this mean we will see more Telltale games on the PSN in the future?
DC: Yeah, we certainly would love to continue to place stuff on the PlayStation Network. We’ve had a great experience working with the team over there, so far, they seem really open and forward thinking. And as a company built from the ground up to be a digital publisher the chance to work with a company that’s so open minded is refreshing, and we’re really looking to get our whole line up on there.
PSLS: Does that include bringing the previous two seasons to PS3?
DC: We’ll probably start with the most recent stuff and see how it goes, we don’t wanna – we’ve got a ton of content and want to make sure we pick the right stuff to go over at the right time. We’ll obviously be making more series going forward, so its really just about how many the company can afford and when, and what gamers on the PlayStation want to play.
PSLS: Do you believe that newcomers to the series are going to be able to pick up this game, and understand it without playing previous seasons?
DC: Definitely, we take a lot of the best stuff from the other seasons but it doesn’t make you have to understand the previous seasons to play it. We do go a long way to explain any relationships that may have been there from previous seasons. But in general its been a whole new story and a whole new bunch of situations and the main characters are all brand new, the main villains are all brand new, so its really a new, fresh experience and there might be some references to the other seasons, but those are well explained.
PSLS: What difficulties have you found in developing these episodic type games?
DC: Well, we’ve been at it since 2004 so we’ve worked out a lot of kinks out of the process. It’s all about getting into a rhythm and getting all the production process ironed out in a way that we can release them on a monthly basis. It usually takes us a while to get the first one out, and then after that it really starts to flow for us. So its really been about perfecting that from a developing standpoint, and taking advantage of the fact that we’re still working on some of the products while other products are being played on how we can best integrate the feelings of users into our products going forward.
PSLS: Now will people have to buy the first episodes in order to play later episodes?
DC: Right now its going to be available for the whole season, so when you buy the season you’ll start with the first episode, and you’ll get the rest of the episodes as they come out.
PSLS: If you had to pick a partner would it be Sam or Max?
DC: [Laughs] I guess I would say Sam, because he’s much more predictable.
PlayStation LifeStyle would like to thank Dan Connors and Telltale for taking the time to hold the interview. Stay tuned to PlayStation LifeStyle for more PlayStation news, reviews and interviews.