HBO’s The Wire, Telltale-Style: The Detail

The Detail seems like it could scratch some eons-old itches of mine both in that it a) cites The Wire as a primary influence on its “realistic” crime adventuring antics and b) looks a little rough around the edges. The comic book visual style caught my eye, but board-stiff animations and slightly hackneyed promo writing forced me to put my expectations in check. That said, when you say things like, “we are combining the emotional impact of Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead crossed with the themes of a realistic crime drama like HBO’s The Wire,” I can’t help but hope. No, Telltale’s not actually making it, but the influence is obviously strong. Trailer (and also maybe, like, a million clips from The Wire) below.

The plot’s being kept largely under wraps at this point, but here’s the gist:

“Centered on a bitter veteran detective investigating a brutal gangland murder and a reformed criminal trying to protect his family, the player is forced to make tough choices and deal with the resulting consequences of these moral dilemmas. The gameplay focuses on storytelling through point n’ click gameplay mixed with interactive comics, and completed by a professional audio track.”

“We are combining the emotional impact of Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead crossed with the themes of a realistic crime drama like HBO’s The Wire, delivered with our own unique visual style inspired heavily by graphic novels. This is city where cases matter, clearance rates matter, and on a good day even justice matters.”

It sounds like choices will affect the plot progression a bit more than in Walking Dead or (perhaps along more similar lines thematically) Wolf Among Us. Apparently you’ll end up either “running homicide investigations or running from homicide investigations.” Or maybe one of the characters you’re playing is investigating the other. Wouldn’t that be fun? Or wait, didn’t a David Cage game already do that?

Anyway, The Detail’s first episode will be out later this year. It’s on Steam Greenlight right now, though.

And now since this news has gotten the cockles of my heart all gooey and gross with nostalgia, here’s some of my favorite Wire scenes.

And of course:



Top comments

  1. Lacessit says:

    I hope there'll be a garden to walk through.
  1. Lacessit says:

    I hope there’ll be a garden to walk through.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Lexx87 says:

    As someone who has never seen The Wire, I think it’s time to go TO THE TORRENT MAKERS.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      It’s an amazing series. One of the reasons why it is so accurate and realistic is because the creator, David Simon, was a Baltimore police reporter for, IIRC, a little over a decade before he started get popular writing screenplays.

      If you enjoy The Wire, you might also like the other huge David Simon created show, Homicide: Life On The Street. It also takes place in Baltimore, but centers mainly around the cops. It’s an amazing show with some truly exceptional acting.

      • Premium User Badge

        DelrueOfDetroit says:

        There is also The Corner which came before The Wire. I haven’t watched it yet myself.

        Also, Treme.

    • Frank says:

      Also streaming free with amazon prime if you’re in the US.

  3. Anthile says:

    A Telltale contender? You come at the king you best not miss.

  4. RationalLogic says:

    The Wolf Among Us already invokes themes from The Wire. High ranking government offices are understaffed and are often at the whim of the wealthy who keep the offices running. Officials are corrupt, and even the ones who mean well are often ineffective. The laws that are intended to protect the city often leave the destitute fighting for their own problems. Citizens turn to crime just to make a living, and the criminal overlords profit and grow their influence thanks to their desperation.

    • Fomorian1988 says:

      Wow. I haven’t play The Wolf Among Us yet, but Fabletown during Ichabod Crane days definitely sounds like The Wire’s Baltimore.

  5. Niko says:

    I hope all the things the developers mentioned will be in the game.

  6. Philopoemen says:

    The Wire was well written because of the background of David Simon and Ed Burns. Plus the real cops and crims that contributed. What The Wire did so well was tell the story of a city in Baltimore, and it’s arguable that Wolf Among Us does similar (with Fabletown).

    Good luck to them with this, as something different is always good.

  7. fr0y0 says:

    The quotes video is missing one of my favourites; Freamon to McNulty: “A life, Jimmy. You know what that is? It’s the shit that happens while you’re waiting for moments that never come.”

    As for the game… Presentation in that trailer didn’t blow me away and as long as they’re just talking the talk, I’m not holding my breath.I sure like being surprised, though.

    • Imbecile says:

      Yeah, thats a favourite quote of mine too.

      The Wire is some quality sheeeeeeeeit.

    • lylebot says:

      I keep thinking of that quote while I’m playing Skyrim, of all things. Filling up my house with potions, ingredients, scrolls, waiting for the moment I’ll need them. Then I realize I’m level 32 and haven’t taken a single thing out of those drawers.

      “Skyrim, Jimmy. You know what that is? It’s the shit that happens while you’re waiting for moments that never come.”

  8. Premium User Badge

    Harlander says:

    This sounds like the sort of effort that needs really good writers.

    Here’s hoping they can pull it off

  9. Artea says:

    It shouldn’t exactly be hard to top Telltale’s writing.

  10. Darth Gangrel says:

    I’ve seen that variations-of-the-word-indicating-intercourse clip before, but that Shiiiiiiiit video is even more peculiar. The way he says it, like a mantra when meditating, is kind of hypnotic. And that other dude just acts like it’s nothing out of the ordinary, which is even more peculiar.

    • Niko says:

      This is because it’s photoshopped.

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        You mean it’s audioshopped :P? I’ve never seen the Wire and given how many other odd clips there are about it, I wouldn’t have assumed that the shiiiit clip wasn’t edited.

        • stupid_mcgee says:

          The clip is just slowed down and the droning, “shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii…” is them stretching an audio snippet over top of the clip. There’s some other little bts of editing, but it’s basically just simple video and audio editing tricks.

          The character, Clay Davis, is a corrupt politician that holds onto his power by emotionally manipulating the poor black community that he serves while he lines his pockets with bribes. (no spoilers, this is given from the beginning that you meet the character) His popular phrase is a long, drawn-out, “shiiiiiieeeeiiieeeiiiieeeiiit.” Such as in, “They think they’re gonna get rid of Clay Davis? Shiiiiieeeeeiiiiieeeeiiiiiiiiiit. They got another thing coming!”

  11. unit 3000-21 says:

    “themes of a realistic crime drama like HBO’s The Wire”
    The Wire is a crime drama the way Ulysses is a Dublin tour guide. If that is what they get from The Wire I really doubt that their game will be good.

    • Frank says:

      I love The Wire. This looks more like The Shield: grittty, cartoonishly over-the-top bullshit cop melodrama.

      Which is not to say it sounds bad for a game.

      • stupid_mcgee says:

        Yeah, that was alwasy the thing that got me about The Shield. The Wire and Homicide: LotS were very grounded in reality. Everything seemed very believable. The Shield, from the few episodes I watched, was just very over-the-top while critics kept trying to claim it to be highly realistic. Still, Michael Chiklis is a great actor and it was nice to see him get some recognition from his performances on that show.

        • Niko says:

          Well, compared to The Wire (and other David Simon’s series like Treme) all TV series are overly dramatic.

          • stupid_mcgee says:

            I have yet to see Treme. I know it tanked in ratings, though. I hope that doesn’t affect future projects for Simon.

          • Niko says:

            The Wire didn’t have high ratings when it first aired either, but yeah, hope so too.

          • Imbecile says:

            Treme is an odd one. Its super slow, and has a very strange music/culture focussed vibe. The first series is excellent, the second is good, but its not worth it beyond that. I’d probably just watch the first series if I started from scratch,

            Generation kill is great though, and only 10 episodes. Homicide is decent, but it feels more like a standard cop show, and is also kinda dated. Not watched the Corner.

          • Niko says:

            Well, it is about New Orleans’ culture, so might not be everybody’s piece of cake.

    • Bahlof says:

      The wire would be almost believable if every single person in the world didn’t say f*ck every other word. It’s ludicrous.

  12. trjp says:

    “If Snotboogie always stole the money, why’d you let him play?”

    “Got to. It’s America, man.”

    That was in the first 2 mins and it’s a stone-cold classic – I don’t think Telltale are going to be able to deliver the tone for that tho, The Wire took at least 4 episodes to ‘tune into’ – before that people are talking nonsense ;0

    • Frank says:

      Telltale’s just another influence, not the devs here.

    • tormos says:

      I always feel kind of weird when people say that because I live in what is basically Massachusetts’ Baltimore, and I had absolutely no trouble understanding the accents

  13. forddent says:

    This could be promising, but like most folk I am not that impressed by the trailer and will, like with most projects, have to wait and see. And probably be disappointed.

    I kind of want to watch the Wire again now.

  14. Lambchops says:

    I’m currently watching the Wire for, I dunno, probably the fourth time now, I seem to end up watching it every year (I also end up watching Buffy pretty much every year too!). Just about to start series 4 which we all know is the best series (though despite watching it repeatedly I’m always surprised by how the second series on the docks is so much better than I remembered it, it’s slow to get started but once it does it’s absolutely heart wrenching).

  15. Morbida says:

    I love Telltale’s new adventures because of the diversity in characters… But looking at this trailer, I don’t see anything of that. All main characters seem to be male, and the only female that is NOT a stage prop (victim) is a police officer that got like 1 second of screentime before being victimized by some random guy punching her in the face. Would be way cooler if they showed her fighting back or something instead of continuing showing a girl being strangled.

    The trailer truly made me go: zzzzZZZzzzZZZzzz. I won’t be playing it.