Telltale Games, the studio behind a collection of quality adventure tie-ins to worlds like Walking Dead and Batman, shut down in late 2018, largely leaving their many employees stranded. Some of them have found new homes, but there's still the threat of a void that Telltale filled with its interactive narrative adventures. As of today, a team of four former Telltale developers has banded together to launch AdHoc Studio.
AdHoc Studio is going to be focused on interactive narrative experiences much like what Telltale churned out over the recent years before shutting down. Variety reports that three of the employees, Nick Herman, Dennis Lenart, and Pierre Shorette, departed Telltale in February 2017. The fourth, Michael Choung, left Telltale in 2016 and worked with Night School Studio, the team behind the hit game Oxenfree. Herman, Lenart, and Shorette intended to create a studio focused on narrative experiences within Ubisoft, but that fell through.
“Having to pitch something that ultimately fifty people need to understand and approve means a lot of the more adventurous or risky ideas often die early on for a bunch of different reasons,” Dennis Lenart, AdHoc’s chief technology officer, told Variety in an exclusive report. “We liked the idea that if it was just the four of us, we’d be able to more confidently wade into unfamiliar water.”
The report says that AdHoc Studio will be focused on tapping an audience that was highlighted with the launch of Bandersnatch, Netflix's interactive tie-in to the Black Mirror original series. There are no details available about the team's first project, but they're hinting that it will be a live action, interactive experience.
“People are holding their favorite television shows and films in their hands, so what we’ve understood to be purely audio/visual experiences are now also haptic by default,” Michael Choung said. “That should be good news for all creators since it offers them another dimension with which to tell stories, but it should be of particular interest to game devs since it’s basically what we already do. We don’t think of our audience as viewers, but as players. Players with agency that can manipulate what we put in front of them. So there’s a real opportunity here to be among the early innovators and we feel like, with our partnership, which we’ll announce in the near future, we’ll be able to make real contributions to the form.”
If AdHoc Studios can find a way to tap that market for gaming, there are a wealth of licenses and opportunities out there. Netflix scooped up the former Activision Blizzard CFO, so they seem to be making a legit effort to produce interactive experiences around their original content. The media streaming company already sees Epic Games and Fortnite as competition for screen time, after all.
“It feels like we’re at the precipice of a big shift in how we consume media where the lines between film, television, and games are starting to blur,” Shorette, AdHoc’s chief creative officer, said. “With streaming platforms in our homes and cell phones in our pockets we’re in this unique time where the barrier to entry to interaction is gone. So as a group of people whose expertise and experience has come from making Interactive Narrative that sits in that space between, we feel now is the perfect time to form a studio that focuses on creating content for a new space.”
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Charles Singletary Jr posted a new article, Former Telltale devs create AdHoc Studio
"a live action, interactive experience" Well that's disappointing.
Not entirely unexpected given Telltales games though.