While some game developers are either working on or just talking about releasing PC games in episodic format, the folks at Telltale Games are actually doing it with their adventure game Bone, based on the critically acclaimed indy comic book written and drawn by Jeff Smith. Telltale Games (made up of former LucasArts adventure game developers) release their first Bone chapter last year and in a few weeks the second chapter, The Great Cow Race, is due to be released online. FiringSquad got a chance to chat with Telltale CEO Dan Conners to find out more about their plans for Bone: The Great Cow Race
FiringSquad: First was Telltale Games pleased with how the first Bone game "chapter" turned out in terms of the game itself as well as sales?
Dan Conners: Ultimately, I'm very proud of Bone: Out from Boneville because it succeeded in pushing the envelope in critical ways, including character acting, interactive story telling, and accessibility to a broader market. None of these are trivial accomplishments. That said, we don't feel like Out from Boneville is the best we can do. It's our very first title and the beginning of an evolving process. The Great Cow Race will allow us to quickly improve upon the experience. That's part of the master plan. From a sales standpoint, it has performed to our expectations. We expect sales to continue with each new release.
The second game episode of course had to be about The Great Cow Race, which really made the Bone comic stand out among the rest of independent comics. How intimidating was it to adapt a well known and loved comic book storyline?
: I would call it more inspirational than intimidating. The team has experience working with the material of many great storytellers (George Lucas, Tim Schafer, Steve Purcell) and executing their visions; it's one of our specialties. In the case of the Cow Race, there's a very cool merger of Jeff's original story and Dave Grossman's seasoned game development experience. The elements we've added to embellish the story and enhance gameplay are hilarious and fit neatly into the main story. Also, as a book, The Great Cow Race is really where the Bone story starts to take off. I think the Cow Race game will put Out from Boneville into perspective for a lot gamers who aren't familiar with the books.
One cool thing about being responsible for creating the interactive version of The Great Cow Race is that we're bringing the characters and the story to life for Bone fans for the very first time. If this were a movie, fans would inevitably get that feeling of "the book was much better," but in the game world you can maintain the integrity of the story and bring more depth to it.
How much input did Jeff Smith give to The Great Cow Race?
: Jeff has final approval on everything, so obviously he is looped in very tightly. There were a couple of gags that we initially left out of the production because we didn't feel they would read very well, but Jeff really wanted them to stay. These turned out to be a couple of the funniest bits in the game.