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Can The Video Game-TV Show Hybrid Ever Work?

Telltale Games, makers of the hugely popular Walking Dead game, partner with Lionsgate to find out.

Can The Video Game-TV Show Hybrid Ever Work?
[Screenshot: via Telltale Games]

Film studio Lionsgate announced a partnership with Telltale Games, makers of the wildly successful game based on The Walking Dead, to produce a brand-new hybrid “Super Show” that will split its narrative between the worlds of television and video games. It’s wild, it’s new, it’s awesome-sounding. But can they pull it off?

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They certainly have talent going for them—and connections. Lionsgate is the studio behind such major entertainment franchises as Mad Men, The Hunger Games, and Orange Is The New Black, the latter of which is distributed via Netflix. If you’re talking about something that’s “one part of interactive playable content with one part of scripted television style content,” as Telltale CEO Kevin Bruner described the venture to Entertainment Weekly, Netflix seems like an awfully good place to put it.

Bruner explained that each Super Show episode will contain much more than a standard hour-long television episode, allowing Lionsgate to spread out episode releases to account for the time required to develop the game portions. Super Show episodes will always release both scripted and game portions of each episode at the same time on consoles, tablets, phones, and computers. At some point down the line, they’ll release collections of the scripted portions for folks to stream like normal, as well.

Others have certainly tried the TV Show-Game split format, but managing projects in two different media is a challenge that, to date, no has successfully overcome. Syfy recently came close: They invested heavily in Defiance, a video game-TV show hybrid that took five years and $100 million to come together. Both the series and the game are still around, although the latter wasn’t particularly well-received.

Still, if anyone can do it, it’s Telltale: The 240-person game studio has achieved cross-medium alchemy by adapting popular franchises into critically acclaimed game successes, from Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead (television) to Fables (comic series) to Back to the Future (film) to Borderlands and recently Minecraft (video games). Assuming the partnership goes well, Bruner hinted to EW that we could potentially see more video games based on Lionsgate properties. Which leads to the most important question: In the game version of Orange Is the New Black season one, would you rather play as Piper or as Pennsatucky?

[via The Verge]

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