“Ice Station Santa,” the premiere episode of the second season of freelance police heroes Sam & Max, debuted today for subscribers of the GameTap service, and will be unleashed on the world at large tomorrow.

Beginning a brand new story arc, “Ice Station Santa” finds our anthropomorphic duo faced with a deranged Saint Nick, who’s terrorizing the elves and sending out gifts both disappointing and dangerous. With the very future of Christmas at stake, only a six-foot-tall dog in a hat and a hyper-kinetic rabbity thing can save the day.

“Today’s release highlights a number of firsts for episodic gaming,” said Dan Connors, CEO of Telltale Games, the company behind the series. “Sam & Max is the first episodic series to enter a second season, and ‘Ice Station Santa’ is the first holiday special for a game series. The playing experience is new, too. People are finishing an episode and spending the next month speculating with other fans about what’s going to happen. Telltale’s not just putting out fun games. We’re building a whole new kind of user experience.”

Richard Sanchez, GameTap vice president, added, “Collaborating with Telltale to launch the first successful episodic game as our premiere GameTap Original title has been a great experience. We know that both our Gold level subscribers and Sam & Max fans all over the world will enjoy this early holiday treat.”

Following the release of “Ice Station Santa,” the season’s second episode will be released in January, and then monthly thereafter through April. Each episode will debut on GameTap, followed the next day by regular release on the Telltale Games Sam & Max website.

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