Thursday at E3 Comics Beat got a behind closed doors look at the first 30 minutes of Batman: The Telltale Series. With the caped crusader appearing in three other games in the next 18 months (4 if you count Arkham remastered), it’s looking like Telltale is poised to tell the best story out of all of them when the series debuts in August.
The game opens with a group of thieves infiltrating a building and you’ll immediately notice Telltale isn’t telling a soft story. There’s a level of brutality that declares the story’s ambitions. Batman: The Telltale Series sets the timeline very early in Batman’s mythology as you’ll notice Jim Gordon is still a lieutenant in the GCPD with orders to take down the vigilantie.
For anyone with concerns about this Batman game being too much narrative and not enough action, don’t worry. The new tech Telltale has been working on for this game is on display in the first 30 as command prompts you’re accustomed to in these games utilize more fully realized action animations you’ll control. When Batman uses the grapple gun or batarangs you’re in more danger of missing them which adds more tension to this game.
As Batman’s taking down these thugs, his supporting cast is also on display with cuts to scenes where Alfred stitches up Bruce Wayne post battle. This is also where you’ll be making those oh so crucial choices Telltale game’s are best known for. Getting back to the action also brings the introduction of Catwoman as she swoops in to take the prize from Batman and the criminals he just brought down. Their chase is one of the best Catwoman-Batman scenes in a long history of Batman comics, movies, and television. Here the pair are early in their relationship and Batman still sees her as just another criminal to take down, which makes it very welcoming to gamers who don’t know Batman’s history as much and just assumes it exist.
The second half of this demo saw players take on the mask of Bruce Wayne, as you’ll politic your way through a fund raiser for your friend Harvey Dent as he’s running for Mayor of Gotham. Will you be a pseudo playboy or brooding billionare? During the party you’ll also encounter notorious crime boss Carmine Falcone. Instead of Dent being an opposing force to Falcone, here it might appear the two have some sort of relationship you can choose to ignore to make your feelings known. Our play through saw Bruce immediately butt heads with Falcone. That’s also where the demo ends as Falcone leaves Bruce’s house with an ominus mob warning. Luckily, you are not ordinary Billionare. If you keep a keen eye during the party scene you’ll also catch a glimpse of another villain from Batman’s gallery.
Batman: The Telltale Series is shaping up to be one of the developer’s most ambitious stories. They’re taking a lot of risks reinventing parts of the character’s lineage in order to tell their own unique story. Doing so always runs a risk of harsh criticisim when the final product is a dumpster fire. Fortuneatley, Telltale are no strangers to telling new and fantastic stories in exishting properties. From Borderlands, Fables, to the upcoming new season of their Walking Dead series; this studio is proven to be more suited to deliver a Batman product on par with Nolan’s The Dark Knight than Schumacher’s Batman & Robin.
Batman: The Telltale Series launches on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC digital platforms in August.