Bright Side of the Moon, the final chapter of Sam & Max Season 1, will debut on GameTap on April 26, to be followed by a worldwide release on the Telltale website on May 10. The game finds Sam and Max at the heart of a global conspiracy set on world domination via mind control. To confront the villain behind it all, they must travel – where else? – to the moon.
It seems to me that this is a pretty momentous occasion and one worth celebrating. With their work on Sam & Max, Telltale Games has proven two things: Adventure gaming isn’t dead and episodic gaming can work, and work well. With a seasonal structure, monthly releases and a cartoony style, Sam & Max has shown that games don’t need to be sprawling excesses of photo-realistic warfare to succeed in the marketplace. Hopefully, the rumors surrounding their success are true, and before long we’ll be experiencing the crazed duo’s adventures on the Xbox 360, Wii and DS, as well.
Other than the popular Sam & Max season, Telltale games has produced episodes of Bone, based on the charming Jeff Smith graphic novels; a full season of CSI games; and a Law & Order game. They also provide creative consulting and electronic distribution services for small studios to provide original IP games such as Samorost, Ankh, and Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman’s Mine.
While Telltale has made the episodic model work, at least in the short term, it remains to be seen if their audience will sustain them through multiple seasons.