One cruel reality of the entertainment industry is that the show must go on, a fact we're reminded of as Netflix announced that it still plans to make a Stranger Things game despite Telltate's collapse.
Telltale Games surprisingly laid off most of its staff last Friday, a move that immediately threw its upcoming projects into the void. There will be no Game Of Thrones season two. Even The Walking Dead, the series that put Telltale on the map, is getting canceled in the middle of its final season. The only thing that's actually getting finished is a Netflix port of Minecraft: Story Mode due to contract obligations.
But speaking of Netflix, fans have asked, what of the planned Stranger Things game Telltale was supposed to make?
“We are saddened by news about Telltale Games,” Netflix said in a statement shared by Polygon. “They developed many great games in the past and left an indelible mark in the industry. Minecraft: Story Mode is still moving forward as planned. We are in the process of evaluating other options for bringing the Stranger Things universe to life in an interactive medium.”
While nothing else was said, I found the the phrase "interactive medium" to be an interesting choice of words. When it was announced back in June, the Telltale Stranger Things game was said to be a traditional adventure game. Basically The Walking Dead but with a Stranger Things setting. But Netflix not referring to the project as a game in its new statement carries interesting connotations.
Will it still be a game? Will it be an interactive web series like the Minecraft: Story Mode adaptation or Puss In Boots: Trapped In An Epic Tale? Or might Netflix now be eyeing something along the lines of a mobile game?
Without Telltale around, the industry has lost one of the only game development studios that takes active interest in point-and-click style adventure games. Netflix would be hard-pressed to find a studio that would make the project the way Telltale was going to make it. Perhaps going back to square one is the best chance this Stranger Things project has to succeed. It's not like we're getting Stranger Things season three for a while, anyway, so we can wait for the tie-in game.