"When Story is the Gameplay" GDC 2015 Panel - Comments from Devs on JPTG.

edited March 2015 in Jurassic Park

I stumbled upon a video of Telltale's GDC panel this year entitled, "When Story is the Gameplay" and was surprised to discover that the first 8 minutes of the panel talked about "Jurassic Park: The Game". While I'm sure they may have discussed a bit about it post-launch in "The Walking Dead" interviews on the pre-production of that game, it's the most recent comments from Telltale about the game. The main interaction was between three of the five panelist including the moderator which I've listed below. I've also transcribed the section of the panel in text regarding the game but you can also watch the Gamespot video on YouTube below. Apologies for any inaccurate text and/or punctuation.

The Walking Dead Developer's Secrets to Storytelling - GDC 2015

  • Tom Bissell - Moderator/Freelance Writer (Non-Telltale)
  • Kevin Bruner - Co-Founder/President/CEO
  • Mark Darin - Creative Director/Designer/Writer

TB: "So let's start with a little bit of history, so I'm not quite a Telltale OG, but in 2010 during the Slate Gaming Club, which is a convocation of critics to put their favorite game experiences of the year and talk about them, I included "Jurassic Park". The Telltale Jurassic Park Game, anyone? Give it up for....which I really enjoyed! And a couple... and this is to give you a sense of how different Telltale reputation was back in 2010. Someone's like, 'That point and click Jurassic Park game?'. But I remember by you playing through it, I saw the shimmering of something really cool and interesting happening. So, by the end of the four episode arc I realized that, 'Holy Cow, these guys are onto something really special and interesting'. So I was slightly less surprised than a lot of people were when "Walking Dead" came out because it seems to me that that was the crystallization of what you guys learned on that. I would love to hear you guys talk about the transformative process of what you learned on the game in particular and what the eureka moment was for storytelling and bringing it, from Jurassic Park to The Walking Dead."

MD: "You want to start Kevin?"

KB: "Yeah, I think a lot of things...A: I think Jurassic Park has got some amazing things in it, and it's a flawed game. But if you haven't played Episode 4 of Jurassic Park, you should because there's a fantastic underwater shark sequence that is top notch. But I think when we started Telltale, you know we love adventure games, we love story in games but adventure games kind of were in a dark place in 2004 when we started. We really rolled up our sleeves with the idea of, 'Ok, we want to find out why these things aren't working? What is it that's weird about it?'. Every project that we had done along the way kind of had a creative agenda, it had a technical agenda and we were self publishing. So we had kind of a publisher agenda. I think Jurassic Park was when a few of those things started to come together, like you see little bits and pieces and our previous work whether it's more traditional point and click adventure games or the CSI games that we did. We were experimenting along the way and Jurassic Park we were like, 'Ok, let's put the results of some of those experiments in the same thing at the same time.' Like I said it's definitely a milestone along the way, there's flaws but there's also some gems in it. I think that's, you know, one of the things...it was the first game that had timed dialogue that we did, so that the dialogue pacing was a big thing. Where we want these games to not slow down, they have to keep moving. That was a big kind of compromise that we thought point-click adventure games had, was that they slowed down. So, there's all these kind of elements come crashing together on Jurassic Park. Then we did some things that were a little too far like, we cut walking...turns out you guys like walking around in video games. So, I think that' always been our, grounded in this idea that that genre that we really loved and we really embraced was relatively obtuse and misunderstood by the big gaming market and we wanted to solve that problem. So Jurassic Park was really kind of our first, 'If we really want to go to everybody instead of just people who like adventure game, what would it look like?'

MD: "I was one of the lead designers on that project at the time. and I was really excited about experimenting with the kind of gameplay that we were gonna invoke. We had this opportunity to delve into this rich canon and in this story world that was amazing and just kind of looking at it at the surface level, the type of point and click adventure games that we'd been picking in the past wasn't going to service the story that we wanted to tell. So we really had to challenge ourselves and think outside of the box and think of what are some new ways that we could try to tell the story that isn't what was in our comfort zone at the time. So there's a lot of experimentation and we learned a lot from trying these new kind of swapping characters on the fly and by taking walking out meant that we had to explore our environment in a different way and explore the way that they're interacting with characters in a completely different way. A lot of what we learned out of that went into what we did with The Walking Dead, which made that very successful. We were very conscious of the interactivity level that was left out from Walking Dead and making sure we're serving that in our future games going forward. But It was exciting and challenging at the time and we made a couple mistakes...

KB: "We learned a lot."

MD: "But there was a lot that we learned and Walking Dead would not have been possible without having been bold enough to kind of experiment in that way. There was still some really, really good storytelling. I'm really happy with the story that came out and the characters and the way that the characters were developed for the writers, It was all really good stuff and I was really proud of the team of what we put out."

TB: "Anyone else?"

KB: "Who here has played Jurassic Park? Ok, go back and look at Episode 4 again, available on iTunes."

Additionally quotes slightly later on in regards to JPTG:

KB: "There's not a lot of puzzles in this [TWD], Jurassic Park had regular puzzles in it like logic puzzles, and we took all that stuff out."

KB: "Actually if you play Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park switches POVs willy nilly, you can be playing Jess for one line of dialogue and the playing... Oh jeeze, what's her dad's name?"

MD: "Jerry."

KB: "Jerry. It was super organic, you know that's the interesting thing for the user to do. It's more like a "god game" than a character driven game. Those are different ways of us exploring, expanding the story telling pallet. Doing it with action sequences, with QTEs, I personally get excited about the idea of god games, story games where you're playing the story instead of the roleplaying as a character in the story."

With the release of "Jurassic World" later this year, I personally hope Telltale gets a second chance to create another game in the Jurassic Park world but with the refined gameplay of modern Telltale Games hits such as The Walking Dead.


  • Interesting. Thanks!

  • edited March 2015

    Edit: Sorry for replying to you InGen :P

    With the release of "Jurassic World" later this year, I personally hope Telltale gets a second chance to create another game in the Jurassic Park world but with the refined gameplay of modern Telltale Games hits such as The Walking Dead.

    I'd love to see that happening!

    Sadly, I doubt it will happen. JP:TG was just too big of a flop, they won't risk a multi-million dollar loss like that.

    Also, what story would there be to tell?

    We can always hope. But my hope isn't high.

    Interesting. Thanks!

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