Telltale tells tales. From humble roots in point and click style adventure games, they have come an incredibly long way in being able to weave an intricate narrative using other media as source material. Perhaps their most notable quality is their ability to stay true to the source material, be it a graphic novel, movie, or game, to really put their own twist into an existing work. This is no more evident than in the incredible job that they have done with Tales From the Borderlands: A Telltale Game Series.
In our hands-off gameplay demonstration at E3, we were shown the first portion of the first episode of the game. I was instantly struck with how well Telltale managed to capture and maintain the essence that is Borderlands. They seem to have such a deep respect for the source material and they are not going to stray from what fans know and love. They just want to come in and tell a story from this universe.
What this respect to the franchise means is that fans can expect to see key elements from Borderlands play a central role in Tales From the Borderlands. Loot will be ever available, but in classic Telltale fashion, choosing whether to loot or not loot will have implications within the narrative. Will you take that money off that seemingly innocuous corpse, or leave it be? Both choices could mean different things for a later point in the game. There is also confirmation that loot will play a part in other Borderlands games, but Telltale is not prepared to talk about exactly how this will work yet.
Combat is another feature that can’t be forgotten in Borderlands, and Tales From the Borderlands is not about to simply sit down and tell you a story without the use of assorted weapons and insane battle scenes. In one scene, we were shown that you could select a loadout for a loader bot and that decisions made affected the flow of battle. These battles aren’t just cutscenes, and you will feel very much a part of each gunfight that takes place.
You may wonder why you’re fighting with a loader bot. The characters in Tales From the Borderlands are not vault hunters. They are not fighters. They are ordinary people — as ordinary as characters in the Borderlands universe can get. I don’t want to give too much away about the narrative, but in the wake of the events at the end of Borderlands 2, the world is ripe for power to go to people’s heads. The story is told from the perspective of two characters who disagree on how the story actually went, which makes for an insane story being told.
Each character has unique abilities that will play into the gameplay and story, such as Rhys’ cyber eye and robotic arm. The interface and visuals all looks distinctly Borderlands, and an excellent voice cast including Nolan North and Patrick Warburton round out the psychotic Tales From the Borderlands world. The series’ humor is all intact as well, meaning that this game is not just going to be Telltale’s take on the Borderlands universe, but harvesting from the already-rich Borderlands universe with the very talented Telltale Games as the tour guide.