E3 2016: Batman The Telltale Series Preview — A Different Take on the Dark Knight

Telltale Games has acquired a number of notorious franchises over the past couple of years, but none as large as the Batman property, which is so rich with decades of history. We were fortunate to be able to experience a private demo of a part of the first episode of the game for our Batman The Telltale Series preview. Batman has been handled so many different ways over the years and one of the most exciting things about this experience was to see how Telltale Games, who are master storytellers, would handle the Bruce Wayne/Batman character. If the first half of this episode is any indication, Telltale Games absolutely nailed it and put their own unique twist on the character as they always do, which really impressed us during the demo, given the many interpretations of the character in other mediums.

Batman The Telltale Series Preview — The Action

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The first portion of the demo for our Batman The Telltale Series preview featured pure action intercut with Bruce Wayne and Alfred tending to his wounds inflicted while masquerading as The Caped Crusader. This is handled masterfully as it shows Bruce reflecting intercut with Batman’s previous battle with Gotham’s underworld. While Telltale revealed that the game was just as much about Bruce Wayne as it was about Batman, splitting the time between the two by about 50/50, there were some really intense combat sequences during this part of the demo. Batman even goes up against Catwoman/Selina Kyle and is clawed in the face, something that would eventually affect him as Bruce Wayne during a social function. The action is fast paced and looks incredible in motion. While the combat sequences took up about half of the demo, it went by so quickly. One very cool anecdote is that Batman is wearing white lenses which make his eyes glow, similar to how he does in the comics. This portion of our Batman The Telltale Series preview ends where it began, with Bruce’s injuries now patched up as he’s ready to suit up and attend a party.

Batman The Telltale Series Preview — Bruce Wayne

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During our Batman The Telltale Series preview we were very surprised by this particular portrayal of Bruce Wayne. He is not the carefree billionaire playboy that we are so used to seeing in other mediums. So often Bruce is portrayed as putting on this completely different mask for the public, but in our Batman The Telltale Series preview, this was much more subdued. Bruce was friendly, but at times seemed almost awkward in front of a crowd. At this point in the demo Bruce was holding a fundraiser for none other than Harvey Dent for Mayor at Wayne Manor. There is a lot of politicking that went on and you had to pay very close attention to characters and even glances that Bruce receives from guests or other well-known individuals in the Gotham universe who are hidden in plain sight. We were very surprised at Bruce’s somewhat serious demeanor in our Batman The Telltale Series preview, because usually it’s just the opposite.

Batman The Telltale Series Preview — Choices

Like any Telltale game, choices are pertinent in shaping the player’s experience in the game, and this is no different in Telltale’s Batman. Contrary to traditional puzzles found in most games, Telltale games entail moral dilemmas and emotional puzzles which take place over the course of each episode, and during our Batman The Telltale Series preview, this became ever apparent when Bruce Wayne entered the fray and started interacting with his own guests.

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Once mob boss Carmine Falcone, who is a backer of Harvey Dent’s campaign entered Wayne Manor, things begin to get heated. Being a mortal enemy of Batman’s, it is hard for Wayne to reconcile an alliance with the mob boss, even for a friend. It is at this point that Bruce has the pivotal conversation of the demo with Falcone that will obviously have consequences later down the road. There are a number of different ways to tackle the conversation, but either way Falcone becomes an ally or an enemy. You can come to to an understanding with Falcone and compromise with him, or you can turn him away. In our Batman The Telltale Series preview, Bruce utterly turned down Falcone and rejected his notion of any kind of alliance or understanding, which would side with the Dark Knight aspect of his personality. If he had gone along with Falcone, the facade of the Bruce Wayne persona would have been more evident as it is still unclear whether or not Batman is Bruce’s true self or whether Bruce Wayne is Batman’s true self.

Batman The Telltale Series Preview — The Batman/Bruce Wayne Dynamic

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Telltale Games stated that they are striving to feature Batman in half of the scenes in the game and Bruce Wayne in the other half. The real question is though, who is the true Bruce Wayne? Is Batman his true mask, or is Bruce? While the political backdrop is nice, the action is incredibly smooth, and well known characters from the series appearing is a nice touch, this fundamental question is the most important of all and we hope that Telltale delves into this question even deeper and explores the psyche of the man known as Bruce Wayne. Our Batman The Telltale Series preview has us extremely excited for the first episode, which is set to release this summer, and the episode does appear to delve into who this character truly is. This is a chance for Telltale to truly shine and create a definitive Dark Knight legacy, and there is little doubt that they will succeed, especially with their track record.

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