At San Diego Comic-Con this week, Telltale Games showed off a new feature for its upcoming title, Batman: The Telltale Series. The studio's new crowd play feature lets a player to release a URL to friends and viewers, allowing them to vote on the host's actions. The idea is to turn gameplay into a more social activity.
"A lot of us grew up playing with friends or family members crowded around one screen, going through the story and talking to the characters, with [everyone] pointing at certain objects or where to click or deciding what to say," Telltale creative communications head Job Stauffer told Inverse. "It's just something that we've kind always just done for fun."
The idea sprung from those old sessions with friends and family, but had its genesis in company playthroughs of The Walking Dead. This expanded when Telltale began doing live run of its games in front of audiences. The studio found that those who weren't playing were still really into the experience.
"We really started thinking, you know, it'd be great if, instead of just shouting at the screen and at each other, maybe the audience watching the player could weigh in on the decisions and the roleplaying, and steer the story as a group in a more tangible way," Stauffer added. "Everyone was just shouting at the screen at the top of their lungs and it just became this incredible party experience and this celebration of what we were doing with the audience."
The option feels like a live version of a long-time Telltale feature: the post-game report of the decisions you made, contrasted with other players. Now you can see where people are leaning in real-time. It also probably helps that live-streaming is much larger now than when The Walking Dead first launched.
"It really opens up this door for Telltale games to be more of a social experience and a live one, [making it] an opportunity to get together with your friends and play stories together, instead of just debating about things the next day after you've both played separately," said Stauffer.
The full interview is available at Inverse. Batman: The Telltale Series is coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Xbox One at retail on September 13. A digital download will be available for those systems, PC, Mac, Android, and iOS in August.