Truth be told, this article wasn’t originally going to be about why the upcoming Back To the Future video game will be a quality offering. It was actually going to be the exact opposite. My first thought when I heard that they were making a game based on the Back To The Future license was “where the hell are they finding a game out of Back To The Future? This is just going to be a terrible movie game made to cash in on a trilogy which gamers around the world have been clamoring for” However, as I sat down to do research on the article, full of all the fury and anger which makes for a scathing critique of the industry, I realized that I was, in fact, dead wrong. At worst, the Back To The Future videogame will be a good title. At best, it will be a great game which will deserve a spot on the top 10 movie games of all time list.
First off, just based on what we know so far, Telltale games is paying a lot of attention to bringing back the parts of BttF that fans love. The main characters will be returning in their original form, as both Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd have agreed to lend their likenesses to the game. Also, Christopher Lloyd has agreed to lend his voice to the game, meaning that the tutorial for time travelling in the DeLorean (another part of the film which is returning) will be sure to edify gamers on the 1.21 gigawatts of power necessary to start the flux capacitor. The game will also feature the same setting as the movies (Hill Valley) and some appearances from more minor characters in the trilogy. Most importantly perhaps, Bob Gale, the man who wrote the screenplay for all three movies is helping to write the game. Who better to make the characters feel like they were taken straight out of the movies than the man who originally created the characters themselves? All of these inclusions will serve to give the game a realistic Back To The Future feel, something which is obviously very important when dealing with any sort of movie license.
That being said, the upcoming episodic title is not a direct licensing of any particular movie in the trilogy or even the series in general. Instead, it will be a totally original story written by Bob Gale in conjunction with Telltale. The importance of this certainly cannot be understated. By freeing themselves from the arbitrary timetable that movie games set, Telltale will be able to take the time necessary to create a game which is both true to the movies while at the same time an enjoyable interactive experience. What’s more, the fact that the game is being released episodically will allow for further flexibility in both crafting the story and creating gameplay mechanics. The developers will be able to take what is successful about the first episode, and expand on it in the future, hopefully delivering a BttF game which effectively engrosses players in the world of Hill Valley by the time the final episode rolls around.
Last but certainly not least, perhaps the biggest reason that the upcoming Back To The Future game will be great is that it is a hanging curveball thrown right down the middle for Telltale games. Seriously, if gamers were creating a dream developer for their Back to the Future game, it would probably end up looking exactly like Telltale. Taking a brief glance at their recent portfolio reveals a slew of episodic adventure titles which have been critically well received (Sam & Max, Tales of Monkey Island) and have been spin-offs of a well established license (Wallace & Gromit). All of these titles have given the former LucasArts employees a wealth of experience in designing games in the same form that their latest project will take. What’s more, with the recent release of Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent, Telltale has shown that they are exploring new territory as a developer, a move which will allow them to add more depth to their upcoming adventure titles. All of these facts, combined with this likely being one of the best funded projects that the development house has ever undertaken, should give fans of Doc and Marty the videogame that they have long been craving.
In spite of all the things which Telltale's upcoming BttF game have going for it, it should be noted that tantalizingly little information has actually been revealed at this point. That being said though, color us cautiously optomistic that you'll be enjoying your revisit to Hill Valley later this year when the first episode of five is released.