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Jurassic Park Hands-on and Telltale Booth [PAX Prime 2011]

Coming into PAX this year, one of the first companies I made a point of checking out was Telltale Games. They have an amazing tendency to make games based off my personal favourite properties, so I was very excited to be able to go check out Jurassic Park.

I played a couple of different points in the game at the demo stations. The very first controller I picked was unfortunately hooked up to one of the harder points in the game, where I promptly died about three times. None-the-less I enjoyed the hell out of it. The first bit I played had my group riding a rollercoaster, which was hastily approaching a group of velociraptors and I failed, consecutively, in grabbing a wrench to change tracks. It was a bit funny though when I kept missing the prompt to duck under a low beam, resulting in a guy smacking his head a few times in a row. Aside from my general clumsiness, everything about the gameplay seemed very natural, not unlike Heavy Rain. 

I had a great chance to chat with Senior Director of Marketing Richard Iggo about making Jurassic Park, and a little bit about the upcoming Fables title.

Jen Alaggia: Now, Jurassic Park boasts quick-time event-style gameplay, as opposed to Telltale's prior releases such as Sam and Max, which were more point-and-click adventures. Why did you guys decide to move away from that for this game?

Richard Iggo: Well, there are certainly quick-time events in there, but the idea is that's how we present the action elements of the game. It's still very much story and character driven, like the other Telltale games you've seen. We've got these action scenes that basically implement these quick-time events, but there are demonstrations here today that require you to explore within the environment and have conversations with other characters before you can move forward and figure out exactly what the next step in the game is. The phrase that we keep using for this is quite corny when you consider the subject matter, but it really is an evolution from what you've seen before from Telltale Games.

Jen Alaggia: I would love if you could tell me why people keep coming back to this island.

Richard Iggo: I guess the best way to frame that is to say that our story actually takes place at the same time of the very first movie. Although you won't see the same characters you're basically seeing the same events, even completely different events, from the point of view of different characters. We're all big fans of Jurassic Park, so everybody watched the movie a bunch of times and there was one thing that kind of helped kick things off for us, which is "What happened to that Barbasol can that Dennis Nedry dropped that he was trying to get off the island?" So we wanted to people who came to retrieve that can. Obviously there's InGen in there. I guess you can say they're not really the good guys; they're the people who own Jurassic Park and set it up. You've got these rival corporations such as BioSyn, who actually sent these spies in after Dennis Nedry who were trying to steal the can in the first place, so we wanted to use that as a kick-off point to tell this brand new story of events on the island.

Jen Alaggia: Would you be able to tell me a bit about the adaptation of the Fables comic series into a game?

Richard Iggo: We see the books that [Bill Willingham] has created as absolute canon, same as The Walking Dead, in fact. We just saw it as a rich and fertile ground in which to tell these stories. As you know if you're a fan of Fables, there's a wealth of amazing characters that we can base a new game around. Obviously people are going to think that the game is probably going to be based around Bigby. He's definitely going to be a big character in the game, but there are other huge characters as well that people really love, such as Cinderella. We're really excited about that, and that along with The Walking Dead are big titles for us.

Jurassic Park launches on November 15th for PC, Mac, Xbox 360 and PS3. This marks Telltale's first disc release for the Xbox 360, whereas the other versions will continue Telltale's tradition of episodic downloadable titles. Fables doesn't have a date, but is already eagerly anticipated by fans of the comic series everywhere.