A former Telltale employee says the Stranger Things adaptation was going to break the uninspired nature of its recent installments. Speaking to The Verge, the source describes a game that meshed The Witcher 3 with Night in the Woods, Oxenfree, and Firewatch.
“With a new CEO, with a new engine, with a lot of other new pieces in play, we [wanted to] draw inspiration from something different, both bigger in scale and that we wanted to be more free-roam, mini-open world,” he says. “A personal story told in a more open world at a very vulnerable time in a person’s life. That awkward transition between middle school and high school between adolescence and puberty and adulthood.”
At the time of the footage leak, the studio had also put together concept art and character designs “unlike anything[…]done at Telltale”. The creepy leaked characters were apparently placeholders, with the real game akin to a high-quality animated film.
In fact, the title was so different that Telltale planned to shift its marketing strategy. It wouldn’t even plan to put its name strong and center.
“We actually were hoping that people wouldn’t know it was a Telltale game,” the source says. “It was supposed to look like something brand new, feel different… It was staying true to our roots while trying to push into a new place that would attract a wider fan base.”
The game was to be set in the spring break between seasons, providing useful context for the wider Netflix series. Unfortunately, though, the title will remain another reminder of what could have been. Employees were reportedly excited for a new relationship between Telltale and Netflix, with several other series ripe for adaptation.
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The closure of Telltale Games in September led to the death of that idea, alongside both the mainline Stranger Things game and its alleged mobile tie-in. Still, the series’ place in gaming will continue with the BonusXP-developed Stranger Things 3: The Game, which will release on July 4.