Telltale’s Minecraft: Story Mode Episode 3 Out Today

Crumbs, Telltale Games aren’t half barrelling through their block-oriented episodic adventure Minecraft: Story Mode [official site]. While their recently-concluded Borderlands and Game of Thrones series would go two, three, even four months between episodes, Minecraft’s dropped three episodes within six weeks. Hark at you, Minecrafters, aren’t you so flipping special! Episode 3: The Last Place You Look is out later today, and this here collection of moving pictures (it’s even a talkie!) show a little of what’s to come:

To explain what you’re looking at, Telltale say:

“Trapped and running out of time, Jesse and crew must discover a means to locate Soren, the final member of the Order of the Stone. They’ll see sights and wonders beyond belief, including the horrors lurking beneath the starless sky of The End. Only Soren’s knowledge can help push back the all-consuming Witherstorm, but will it be enough to save the world?”

Mostly I’m struck by just how dang ugly it. The style of Minecraft, actual Minecraft, runs on rigid grids and set block sizes. Minecraft: Story Mode shakes it up with morphing blocks and wafer-thin blocks for things like facial expressions, which lack the fidelity and movement of real faces but don’t fit in with the rest of the style. Limbs are all bendy too, which is weird, as are the cinematic camera effects imposed over this blockworld. But what would I rather – it to look 100% like Minecraft? That wouldn’t work either. A bit ugly weirdness is just a cost of turning blockmen into emoting characters, I suppose.

The LEGO games and movie can get away with a lot more by being based on something held in our hands and moving only in our imaginations; Minecraft being founded in straightforward blockovision doesn’t allow it that same magic. To borrow a term from Jan ┼ávankmajer, LEGO has an “inner life”. It’s fairly obvious that I don’t spend much time around kiddywinkles, isn’t it? Minecraft’s probably as real to them as anything. Well look, kids, you are WRONG. I am a grown-up and I am telling you I know better. I buy books, you know.

As ever, Episode 3 will download itself for folks who’ve bought the season pass, probably hitting Steam in late afternoon/early evening for UK folks.

7 Comments

  1. theapeofnaples says:

    Švankmajer is The Best

  2. Kollega says:

    I suspect that the reason for these episodes coming out so fast is that they’re just so much easier to animate than something more complicated. And since the gameplay mechanics are the same over the season, it means there’s comparatively less work to do than with more comic-styled or real-styled series. Of course, Telltale still have to write, design, and voice the episodes, but I imagine simpler graphics and animation easily account for such fast releases.

    Sincerely yours, Captain Sort-of-Obvious.

    • Keiggo says:

      I had assumed (probably incorrectly) that they wanted all episodes out before Christmas to reduce confusion in parents and children who are unfamiliar with the business model.

  3. Robmonster says:

    In before all the people looking down on this game since it’s ‘for kids’

  4. Anguy says:

    They are really rushing these out in comparison to GoT and Borderlands where it took forever at times for a new episode to be released.

  5. Premium User Badge

    IJC says:

    I think the faces would look much better if they just had animated flat faces. The “post-its for facial features” thing is really awful.

  6. malkav11 says:

    What I still am wondering is if it’s an unexpected gem like Tales from the Borderlands or The LEGO Movie were. Because the concept is not enough to sell me on it.