Telltale Also Working On Law & Order Game

By John Walker on December 15th, 2011 at 8:16 am.

I don't understand a courtroom that doesn't have ghosts and point-haired shouty men.

As we all know, Telltale are busy bees. They’re currently juggling nine or ten announced projects, despite not being that enormous a team, to varying degrees of success. And yet there’s still no announcement of Strong Bad season 2 to let me smile once more. Their most recent, Jurassic Park, was something of a T-Rex-sized disappointment, with its Metacritic score of 56 being somewhat buoyed by a rather peculiar 90 at the top. (But then, a 70 has the quote, “These poorly implemented QTE sections cripple the intent of presenting an interactive storytelling experience”, and calls the gameplay (whatever that is) “empty and stale”, so, well, scores eh?) Point being, they’re doing a lot. But what about what they don’t mention on their website? Well, that would be the TV tie-in stuff. The latest being Law & Order: Legacies.

I’ve never been sure why they’re so shy about their creation of (what have so far been) these silly cotton wool games. But their Games page makes no, ahem, bones about mentioning the failed Bones, and while there’s a teeny box for CSI: 3 Dimensions Of Murder (the game that so brilliantly suggests that a developer might want to murder his former employees if they refused him the rights to make a sequel to his game about two wacky cartoon animals), it links to the Ubi page only. But where’s CSI: Hard Evidence? And CSI: Deadly Intent? And CSI: Fatal Conspiracy? and CSI: Unsolved? And where’s Law & Order: Legacies?

It’s strange, actually, because they’ve found a really nice style for it. A graphic design that feels part rotoscoped, part Tell-Tale cartoon. And according to the behind-the-scenes video below, you can even lose the cases! Rather than, as is more traditional in these affairs, clicking on the screen until it eventually stops. Although Telltale’s first foray into the L&O series, it’s by a long stretch not the first game made about the show. It is in fact the fifth, following dreadful attempts by Legacy Interactive, so there’s only really room for improvement. Also, unlike their CSI games, this one’s to match their episodic format (on mobiles at least – it’s a little unclear), with the first two cases appearing a week today on phones, but all seven parts arriving on PC early next year.

Here are two people being excited by the project, but not quite excited enough to admit to it on the company’s website:

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34 Comments »

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  1. BooleanBob says:

    On a similar theme, I don’t understand a law game that doesn’t contest the difference between a ladder… and a step-ladder.

  2. The Infamous Woodchuck says:

    a telltale made law and order game? Objection!

  3. Premium User Badge

    stahlwerk says:

    In the Software Entertainment Industry, point and click adventures are considered especially lame. In San Rafael, the developers who work on these archaic franchises are members of an elite squad, known as Telltale Games.

    These are their stories.

    Duh dun!

  4. Tuco says:

    Maybe I’m alone in this, but I find quite disappointing how Telltale is turning in a shovelware company instead of investing in more production value and more ambitious projects.

    • John Walker says:

      Yup – you alone have this thought. Everyone else is really pleased about it.

    • Zeewolf says:

      “Their most successful games have had pre-existing gamer fan-bases and inherited goodwill”

      Ah, like XCOM and Syndicate, you mean?

      Existing fanbases does not automatically result in goodwill. And I think it is unfair to say they did here. The typical Monkey Island & Sam and Max are not the imagined desperate, adventure-starved “we’ll take everything”-types some reviewers comes up with all the time (to “explain” why people like games they don’t). They’d have crucified Telltale if Tales of Monkey Island, especially, wasn’t up to scratch.

      Telltale did a genuinely good job on both Sam & Max (especially later seasons) and Tales of Monkey Island. They seemed to be heading in the right direction, and getting better with each release. But that was then.

    • Tuco says:

      Well, pointlessly sarcastic John Walker… Maybe “everyone else” didn’t agree with me in judging their games “shovelware”.

      I, for sure, I’m not happy at all with their productions. With any of them.

      P.S. Also, I didn’t ask the typical, annoying, rhetorical question “Am I the only one?”.
      I just said “Maybe I’m alone in this”. No need to be an ass.

    • Premium User Badge

      lhzr says:

      >>>but I find quite disappointing how Telltale is turning in a shovelware company

      yeah, because that’s what putting out one mediocre game does to a company. it turns everything they make into shovelware.

      screw sam&max, strong bad, wallace&gromit, monkey island and the back to the future games! also who cares about king’s quest? no one, that’s who. and especially not john walker.

      they should do an escape from monkey island remake, to try and save some face.

    • Tuco says:

      @lhzr: Well, that’s my point.
      I don’t like any of these games. Not a single one.

      But I used to think: “Oh, you know, they have a low budget but they are trying. I can’t be too harsh with them. Maybe if they sell well enough someday they will deliver something outstanding”.

      Nope. They just “turned up to eleven” the amount of software released, without any relevant effort to improve on the quality side.

    • Premium User Badge

      lhzr says:

      >>I don’t like any of these games. Not a single one.

      fair enough. there are other, bigger budgeted adventures out there, so you should have enough stuff to point at and click on.

      i see the telltale stuff as light, relaxing entertainment for an evening. i find it harder to get into more involved stuff (book of unwritten tales, whispered world, whatever else came out more recently), since they usually require a lot more attention and usually a walkthrough, since the puzzles tend to be on the obtuse side of things.
      telltale’s games can be completed without alt tabbing and are in turn more rewarding.

      what i’m trying to say, i guess, is that there’s enough stuff out there for everyone, so let’s not call their games shovelware for having easier puzzles and i won’t call escape from monkey island and so blonde and that vampyre game abominations, even if their awful awful puzzles would rightfully earn them that description ;)

    • Teovald says:

      @frightlever you are not the only people thinking this : I paid for the integrality of the monkey island season and it was a really poor adventure game : the same too easy and repetitive enigmas, a story line that was mostly meh, and most of all, I did not find it funny. And that is a tragedy for a Monkey Island game.

    • Premium User Badge

      Rikard Peterson says:

      If you don’t like any of those games, then I don’t think a higher budget would help. I get the feeling that they’re making the games they want to make. (At least with some of them.) There’s certainly room for improvement, but I wouldn’t expect them to change drastically.

      But I count the latest Sam & Max among my favourites, so I am a bit disappointed that they don’t continue the evolution they started there.

      And regarding Jurassic Park – I applaud the experiment, even if it turned out a failed one. I hope they learned the right lessons from it (i.e. what worked and what didn’t), and that they will do more experiments outside their familiar formula. If they build on what they had in S&M and dare to innovate, I still think (hope) we might get a masterpiece from them.

    • Kaira- says:

      “there are other, bigger budgeted adventures out there”

      Really? I’ve always seen Telltale being pretty much the biggest there is, unless there’s some German studio churning out games with big budgets.

  5. bigtoeohno says:

    DA DUM…*Scene change

  6. adonf says:

    I thought that this show was cancelled. Well the main show, not the hundreds of spin-offs.

    Anyway, Duhm duhm !

  7. OJSlaughter says:

    Just for a second I though that was Mia Fey and we were going to see some weird 3D Ace Attorney game. I guess I am just bored of waiting for a new Ace Attorney game o_O

  8. johnson-COD says:

    very new concept … interesting:)

  9. Xaromir says:

    Mediocre games company with a license for a mediocre TV show. I wonder how that will end. Pfft! They also still owe me a couple of mediocre episodes of Bone, which actually was a good license… My head hurts.

  10. WhatKateDoes says:

    May I approach the bench?

    If its got enough rpg elements/relevant choices + branches + repercussions then I might quite like this.

    Motion for a mistrial.

  11. Premium User Badge

    phlebas says:

    Dreadful? I quite liked the one of the previous games I played (Double or Nothing, I think it was called?) though the courtroom section was a bit depressing – it seemed less like a fun game based on courtroom drama and more like an illustration of how the US legal system is basically a game.

  12. iucounu says:

    I love L&O and almost all its spin-offs (I’m not keen at all on L&O: Horrid Rape Unit) so I am mildly interested in this. I seem to remember having a demo of an earlier L&O: Criminal Intent point and click adventure, which I recall mainly for having the most uninterested, phoned-in voice-over work in the history of games. Vincent d’Onofrio, take a bow son.

  13. Dachannien says:

    “the game that so brilliantly suggests that a developer might want to murder his former employees if they refused him the rights to make a sequel to his game about two wacky cartoon animals”

    I don’t understand this remark. Is there some bit of news that I missed about why there haven’t been any more Sam & Max games lately?

    • Premium User Badge

      phlebas says:

      This was back when Lucasarts had canned the sequel and Telltale hadn’t got the rights.

  14. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    And to think that (some of) the Telltale guys helped to create Day Of The Tentacle and the Monkey Islands. It’s a bit depressing :-(.

  15. Shooop says:

    Alright! It’s just what everyone wanted! Another bargin-basement-budget CSI game only without the sometimes amusingly gruesome deaths!

    I cannot contain my excitement, I really can’t.

  16. SketchyGalore says:

    I had such high hopes after Sam & Max and Strong Bad. I’ve never been a big adventure gamer, but Telltale was making them good enough for me to fall in love with. This running jump off of the cliff of quality and latching onto every possible license on the way down is a bit shameful.

    Sam & Max needed to be revived, Homestar Runner was too brilliant to not be brought into the limelight, Jurassic Park should have stayed extinct back in the 90’s, and Law and Order… well… Law and Order is just out of control, and doesn’t need yet another iteration of it.

  17. Baf says:

    For what it’s worth, CSI: Unsolved is not a Telltale game.