Games with Gold isn’t such the pitiful display that it used to be, riddled with detestable mobile game ports such as Halo: Spartan Assault or Lara Croft: Guardian of Light *hiss* *scratch* *scratch*, now that the simple novelty of the Xbox One has dissipated substantially you can often find games that are of an unexpected calibre for what is essentially the Aldi section of its Marketplace, for instance the critically acclaimed but demographically over-reaching Sunset Overdrive or the shanty-slinging shindig that is Black Flag have wiggled their way into GwG over the past few months. These aren’t games that I would buy for myself but I would happily grab for free now that I’ve beefed up the otherwise miserable hard-drive.
This brings us onto The Wolf Among Us, which was added to the bargain bin a couple months ago, a game that I thoroughly enjoyed on my ps3 during the great Telltale Studios boom a couple years back, but as that boom faded my experience proved evanescent after I swiftly developed a love for the Far Cry series, which rendered all emotion for any other known entity into apathy. Seriously, when I was 100%-ing Blood Dragon I don’t think things like exercise or sustenance even crossed my mind. That’s probably why my withered limbs were spontaneously falling off of my body at the time, come to think about it…
Anyway, where *bottle smash* was I? The Wolf Among Us, oh yeah, so, after I nabbed it for free a couple months back something occurred which I find to be quite a rarity, where I actually came to experience a wealth of appreciation for the game where previously my feelings were comparatively mild. I know it sounds kind of stupid for me to announce this as rare, for most people it’s natural to truly appreciate or comprehend art much more upon a second or third viewing, but with me it tends to be the inverse. I might watch something a second time around and realise I hate myself for once having tolerated its diabolical nature, and realise that, in general, I hate myself.
Anyway, where *car explodes* was I? Oh yeah, so, I came to love again the psychologically nuanced fantasie-noir universe of The Wolf Among Us, so much so that I felt a lingering passion for it long after completion. Not just for its cliffhanger ending but for the, what I felt, unfulfilled elements it so expertly suspended throughout the duration of its tortuous murder mystery. For instance, the conspicuous but simultaneously deniable chemistry between protagonist Bigby Wolf and colleague Snow White, I wondered also on the repercussions of the game’s events on the overarching Fables universe considering its position as a spiritual prequel to Willingham’s graphic novels.
The prospect of a holistic and extensive narrative that has The Wolf Among Us‘s mixture of characters from innocent, juvenile storylines amongst New York environments that harbour financial and sexual corruption, without the Telltale curse of being a game that’s so cringily aware of its own choice-oriented narrative devices sounded amazing, and I had to pick up the first volume of Willingham’s Fables.
Reading through that first volume, and then voraciously through the next five, was such a gratifying experience both in viewing the artistic manifestation of The Wolf Among Us‘s fantastical character but also in the realisation that The Wolf Among Us in itself was such a rarely seen ode on a different form of media. You hardly ever see a successful AAA game created with the foundations of a massive ‘thank you’ to other creative individuals. These types of games tend to be the more passionately crafted, such as Arkham Asylum in its unsolicited tacit appreciation of the likes of Kane, Moore, Morrison and other DC legends.
The trend with some big-studio movie games is that they tend to be what feels like corporately conscripted adverts, dealt with minimal care and intended for minimal longevity, such as what a decadent THQ were coughing up before complete liquidation. You know, those absolute bangers like Ratatouille for the Nintendo DS (get in, lads) or Spongebob Squarepants: Revenge of the Flying Dutchman for ps2 (literally gushing), so it’s refreshing to see a game that appropriates an element of another form of media and nourishes it rather than butchers it.
So, if you find yourself in love with one of Telltale‘s universes there’s usually a seminal work behind the creative process. It can be extremely fulfilling to feed that intrigue and passion that Telltale makes an appetite for, be it by reading or watching The Walking Dead after Lee’s melancholy moment or simply switching disks after spending time in the hectic Borderlands. It shows appreciation for everyone involved.