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Telltale's Minecraft: Story Mode Episode 3 Out Today

With moving pictures!

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 Švankmajer, 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.

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