The Wolf Among Us: Why You Should Care
Telltale games recently announced that it would be releasing a game called “The Wolf Among Us,” based on the hit graphic novel, “Fables.” I’m not one to normally buy into hype, or get excited before I see a preview of a game, but the source material and the company working on this project have done very impressive work in the past. Here is a little info on both “Fables” and Telltale, to show why you should be excited too.
“Fables” is an ongoing graphic novel created by Bill Willingham. It takes place in a world where every fairy tale, fable, literary character, and almost every other make believe character you can think of exists. They all used to inhabit their own lands, far away from one another, until someone known only as “The Adversary,” started taking over their lands and driving them out. Now many of them inhabit a small section of Manhattan known as Fabletown, which is hidden from regular people (called “Mundies” by the people of Fabletown).
This may sound like the start of some bad public domain fan fiction, but Willingham is a great writer, giving a lot depth to what were previously one dimensional characters. Snow White is a strong, determined woman, working as deputy mayor and keeping the town together. Jack Horner is a sociopathic con man, who you still somehow sympathize with at times. This is just to name a few, and when reading, you almost forget that a lot of these are characters you grew up with.
The main overarching plot of the series is the fables trying to go back home, and take back their lands from the Adversary. It’s never far from any character’s mind, whether it’s the thought of going home, or the things they had to do to get to Fabletown. While this is the main plot, many of the smaller arcs don’t focus on this at all, instead telling stories in Fabletown. With so many old characters living in such close proximity, it creates a lot of interesting stories, with a number of different tones ranging from things like murder mysteries, to political scandals.
At the center of many of these stories is The Big Bad Wolf, known as Bigby to his peers in Fabletown. Due to a spell, Bigby can switch between being a Wolf and a human. It sounds a little ridiculous, but it works to his advantage as the town sheriff. Not much has been said about the upcoming plot of the game, but it has been stated that you will be playing as Bigby before the comic series starts. You’ll get to decide whether to handle problems diplomatically, or to give into animal instincts and solve your problems with your inner wolf. So you won’t need to have read the comics to enjoy the game, but they are worth your time.
Telltale has been making episodic adventure games for years. They are credited as being one of the major companies to revive the genre over the past decade. If there is one thing that they excel at, it’s telling a great story.
Bill Willingham is not writing “The Wolf Among Us,” but he is overseeing the project, and has stated he hasn’t had to do much, because Telltale is staying close to the source material. This is always a good sign, but then again Telltale is no stranger to working with other licensed properties.
If you ask anyone who played it, most people will tell you that Telltale’s game based on “The Walking Dead” was one of the best games of the year. It made you make a lot of tough decisions, leading to some very emotional moments. The game showed Telltale could tell a deep emotional story with original characters in a very dramatic setting.
Before that, Telltale made a few games with characters that were not their own. They continued the story of Guybrush Threepwood in “Tales of Monkey Island,” and later on continued one of my favorite movie series in “Back to the Future: The Game.” Both of these games stuck close to the source material, keeping in line with the worlds that had previously been set up. They have proved time and again they can create great stories in worlds made by other people.
“The Wolf Among Us,” is something to keep an eye out for. No release date has been officially given yet, aside from later in 2013. Even if you’re not interested in games, “Fables” is a graphic novel series that continues to tell great stories with every issue and is worth your time. Even if you think the whole modern fairytale genre is starting to overstay its welcome, just remember that “Fables” did it before everyone else.