As was revealed by Gamespot nearly a year ago, Telltale Games has partnered with Marvel to create a brand-new, next-gen console title, hopefully by 2017. Unfortunately, there’s been very little follow-up to the initial breaking news, which has left fans with nothing to do but speculate in the meantime. It’s been a little bit of a frustrating wait given growing concern over Marvel’s seeming inability (or unwillingness) to create a meaningful next-gen title. But it’s important to remember that Telltale is developing a very reliable track record, and if this game is ever made, it’s probably going to be stellar.
As for what we can expect from it specifically? Again, all we can do at this point is speculate. But here are a few educated guesses based on the rest of Marvel’s ever-expanding world of entertainment.
To begin with, we expect that this Marvel/Telltale title will not be related to a specific film release. That may seem like a shot in the dark assumption, but looking at the lineup of upcoming superhero films (courtesy of News-a-Rama), there just doesn’t seem to be a defining project coming out in 2017. This spring’s Captain America: Civil War is going to mark a monumental shift in the tone and plot lines related to the Avengers, but most of the 2017 projects are, by comparison, filler. The next major event is 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War.
While it’s likely that this game will tie into one or both major projects, its placement in between them would seem to make a more generic approach likelier. Then again, it’s worth considering that Telltale thrives with an episodic approach. That makes it conceivable this game begins with Civil War and is updated gradually leading up to Infinity War.
Speaking of updating, gradual character integration seems like a borderline certainty for this game, based solely on the largest Marvel gaming experiences to date. In numerous apps by Marvel as well as in the flagship MMO for the comic book entertainment giants, players have been able to enjoy periodic updates bringing in new characters, missions, etc.—often based on what’s going on with Marvel cinematic news.
For instance, Elektra was introduced in various games soon after it was announced that the character would be featured in season two of Daredevil on Netflix. And even more recently, some apps introduced Deadpool-based promotions and challenges to celebrate the Deadpool film this month (which isn’t even being distributed by Marvel). Such regular and predictable updates likely wouldn’t accompany a next-gen console title, but occasional DLC (or new episodes) in line with the film schedule should probably be expected.
On a more subtle note, some of Marvel’s existing gaming titles, primarily on Internet casino sites, have thrived through something that’s almost at odds with the whole concept of Marvel’s expansion: they’ve focused on small partnerships or clusters of characters to hone in on a theme or atmosphere that makes for a compelling experience.
The slots at Gala Casino show this tendency fairly consistently, as a rather large selection of Marvel-related options are essentially categorised into small teams. An Iron Man 3 game depicts Iron Man alongside Iron Patriot; Spider-Man Attack Of The Green Goblin focuses only on Spider-Man and his chief antagonist; and even separate Daredevil and Elektra games are presented side-by-side. It’s nothing over-the-top, but it demonstrates Marvel’s ability to narrow its focus, which could be helpful in an episodic gaming experience. Trying to rope in all of the dozens of relevant characters at once could get cluttered quickly.
Aside from these expectations and educated guesses, we really just don’t know what Marvel and Telltale have up their sleeves. It’s a virtual certainty that the game will be beautiful (or else what’s the point of next-gen to begin with?). And we can rest assured that, with Telltale in charge, there will be a significant focus on storytelling. But as for the style of action, the characters emphasised most, or any sort of plot, we’re completely in the dark. Let’s just hope some details come out before too long.