Due for release in 2015, when it was announced it was described as a new original story, driven by player choice, rather than one focusing on the “Steve” character that has been Minecraft’s default hero over the years.
At the Minecon 2015 conference in London, Mojang and Telltale held a session to explain more about their plans for the new game, around which there’s a lot of anticipation - not least because Telltale is responsible for the excellent The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones adventures.
Job Stauffer and Laura Perusco from Telltale Games were joined by Mojang’s Owen Hill and Lydia Winters for the session, which began with a second viewing of the game’s preview trailer, which was released this morning:
Telltale has been making games for just over a decade, working with a range of partners. “We make adventure games based on the things that we love the most, where there are really passionate fanbases that we’re a part of. We want to make games for those fans, and us,” said Stauffer.
Telltale makes its games “kinda like television” he added. “Our games are kinda like playable television as a matter of fact. As we make them we’re always looking at what the fans are saying, and what the reaction is. And sometimes we can tweak and adjust certain things about the games as we go along.”
That’s the approach that will be taken with Minecraft: Story Mode, which is premiering this year. “It’s coming very soon,” said Stauffer. “At least the first episode you will play this year. We don’t know exactly when: it’s probably sooner than you think.” It will initially be a five-episode series.
Stauffer talked about the characters in a game that sounds like it will be about Minecraft, not just set within it.
There’s a character called Jesse. “He’s a huge fan of everything going on in the world of Minecraft... But he’s kinda still learning about how to build a sword and how to ignite a portal... he’s a total n00b! But his friends are really really passionate about Minecraft as well.”
The other characters are called Petra (“she’s kind of a warrior herself”); Axel; Olivia; and Lucas. And a pig called Reuben. The human characters will, to some extent, reflect the characteristics of different player types in Minecraft.
Hill said that Mojang and Telltale Games wanted the game and the story to “not just feel like you’re playing Minecraft as you do today, but we wanted it to exist in a place that felt familiar to people... you can see things within the game which remind you of the cool times you have when you play normally. But that said, it still exists in its own world.”
Telltale looked back to the 1980s for inspiration. “We wanted a story that evoked the classic film stories that we were passionate about,” said Stauffer.
“The movies we grew up with, the two tentpoles we called out were Goonies and Ghostbusters... movies that they just don’t make any more, not like that,” he said, before admitting that a more recent film, The Incredibles, has also been an influence.
“Roleplaying is pretty key. In a Telltale game where you’re driving the story, it’s literally roleplaying. You’re going to be able to play Jesse however you want to play him,” said Stauffer.
“You might have to decide which friends you want to be with the most, and which ones you’re going to have to leave behind. It’s about driving the story, role-playing as a character, and there’s a lot of tough decisions.”
The game will see Jesse and his friends visiting “Endercon... where things go just a little bit horrifically wrong”. The game will see players able to take Jessie to pretty much any location they’ve seen (or have wanted to see) in Minecraft, including The End.
There’ll also be a group called the Order of the Stone, who in the game are famous for having slayed an Ender Dragon. “Some super-cool guys who might feel familiar to some of you players. The reason for that is each of them has a distinct characteristics that certain Minecraft players might have,” said Hill.
There’s a warrior called Gabriel; a redstone engineer called Ellegard; a rogue named Magnus; and an architect called Soren. “That’s as much as we want to show you without spoiling too much,” said Stauffer. “Through the course of the story you’ll encounter these people and maybe work together with them, or against them, or between them,” said Hill.
He confirmed that the male character Jessie will be the hero: there will be no option to play through Minecraft: Story Mode as a female character. “But I think there are plenty of very cool female characters. You’re going to like Petra a lot,” said Stauffer.
He added that the game’s age-rating is expected to be around the “PEGI-12” level, meaning that in theory it will be aimed at 12 year-olds and upwards.
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