Telltale: ‘We need to redefine video game genres’

Telltale Games has urged the games industry to reconsider how it categorises genre, as the medium’s storytelling ability continues to mature.

Job Stauffer, worldwide head of creative communications at the Batman, Minecraft and Walking Dead developer, observed that the growing appreciation of narrative in video games means that the industry needs to refocus its emphasis from gameplay to storytelling, in line with the movie business.

In the language of the games industry for the past 30-plus years, games have always been defined by their mechanics,” Stauffer said. When we think of games, here at Gamescom, I could ask you: did you see any racing games? Any fighting games? Any RPGs? Any action or adventure games?

Telltale is in the adventure genre, and we’re proud of that, but when your games are focused on narrative and narrative is defining the game itself, we need to adopt the same philosophies that we apply to TV and film.”

Stauffer added that this movement could be driven by retailers and distribution platforms overhauling the way they present titles to consumers.

When we load up Netflix, we see shows that are filtered by the definition of the stories that they are. When we load up our PlayStations and our Steam accounts, the industry still files games by mechanics,” he said.

[Telltale] is in this in-between space and we’re really proud to raise that question. We hope that the industry is taking note and, as we move forward and story becomes more important and prevalent in the interactive space, we re-think how we define games and place story at the forefront to define our genres.”

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