'Batman: A Telltale Game Series' Makes Bruce Wayne's Story Just As Important As The Dark Knight's

Batman: A Telltale Game Series
Batman: A Telltale Game Series Photo: Telltale Games

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Batman: A Telltale Games Series . While we’ve been careful not to reveal any major plot points, those who don’t want to learn anything about the project until launch should probably stop reading now.

There have been no shortage of questions about Batman: A Telltale Games Series in the months since Telltale first announced its upcoming collaboration with DC Comics. And we finally got the answers to some of those questions last week, during the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, thanks to a Batman presentation in what was easily one of the coolest booths at E3 2016.

In total, we got to see about 30 minutes of gameplay from the first episode. The presentation was divided into two sections. During the first, a Telltale representative controlled Batman, guiding the Dark Knight as he thwarts an armed robbery. Later, the focus would shift to Bruce Wayne, following the billionaire around a lavish party in his own mansion. There are more than a few familiar design elements, if you’ve played previous Telltale games, but the studio definitely looks to be stepping outside of its comfort zone with Batman: A Telltale Game Series.

The most obvious change is the expansion of the combat mechanics from previous Telltale series. There have certainly been violent interactions in just about every recent Telltale adventure, going back to The Walking Dead: Season One , and Minecraft: Story Mode even featured semi-real time action. That growth continues in Batman as players guide the Dark Knight through brawls with a new combat system focused on multi-hit combos. Each combination helps fill a meter in the corner of the screen that lets you know how close you are to winning the fight. Once the meter is full, players can trigger a (context sensitive) finisher that brings the fight to a screeching halt.

Of course, you’re still responding to a series of onscreen button prompts, but the resulting action feels much more natural than fights from other series. And, in some situations, players will have the freedom to let fight scenes drag out however long they’d like. Granted, there will still be “beat the clock” scenarios, where Batman needs to defeat an enemy(s) or complete a task(s) before something bad happens. But Telltale says there will also be situations, like the demoed encounter between Batman and Catwoman, where players can let the fight play out for however long they continue to enjoy the action on screen.

As for the game’s narrative, Batman: A Telltale Game Series isn’t an origin story, per se. Batman will include first encounters with well known characters from the Dark Knight’s history, including Selena Kyle (Catwoman) and crime boss Carmine Falcone. But the game is set several years into Wayne’s crime-fighting career, so Batman’s already more than capable of taking down a group of thugs without breaking a sweat. That said, it seems like it might still be early enough in Wayne’s crime-fighting career to preclude in-costumes appearances from other members of the Bat family.

Batman: A Telltale Game Series - Batmobile
The Batmobile Photo: Photo: Telltale Games

What players might find a bit more interesting is that many of the characters in Batman: A Telltale Game Series look unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. While costumed figures, like Batman and Catwoman, are still pretty easy to recognize, others took a bit longer to identify. If it weren’t for a number of political signs, we might not have recognized Harvey Dent, now that he looks like a retired NFL linebacker with a newfound interest in the law. And for some reason we just can’t help but think of Sterling Archer any time Bruce Wayne is on screen. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the new looks but we’re not sure everyone will be a fan.

Of course, as we’ll be reminded by Alfred (ad nauseam), the Caped Crusader is also mortal. Even if Bruce wins the fight, there are still physical consequences to putting oneself between innocent civilians and Gotham’s worst criminals on a nightly basis. One of Telltale’s goals for Batman is to show the human costs of the Caped Crusader’s actions. And not just for Bruce Wayne.

Unfortunately, we’re probably not going to learn much else about the series -- maybe an official title -- until Batman: A Telltale Game Series heads to a variety of digital marketplaces later this year. Telltale says they’re currently eyeing an August debut for the series’ first chapter and the studio hopes to release all five episodes of Batman before the end of 2016. Hopefully by then we’ll know what platform(s) the series will be available for at launch.

Be sure to check back with iDigitalTimes.com and follow Scott on Twitter for additional Batman coverage throughout 2016 and for however long Telltale Games supports its Batman series in the months following launch.

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