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After years of stop and start success, Telltale finally scored a big hit with last year's episodic adventure The Walking Dead. CEO Dan Connors discusses how the game went viral thanks to its cliffhangers.

Simon Carless, Blogger

February 7, 2013

1 Min Read

Finishing off the two days of sessions at DICE, Telltale CEO Dan Connors talked about the success of his company with the Walking Dead episodic game series,. He suggested that "changing our product to work in a new business mode" is the reason for the success of the company, after a number of years of stop and start success for the Puzzle Agent developer. For The Walking Dead, Connors believes what's important is being able to have people to discuss episodes in real time as they happen, and pushing cliffhangers at the player in real time. Although one might argue that it's the quality of The Walking Dead and the hotness of the franchise that has helped it hit the heights of success, it does seem like the episodic nature has fed into the hype. Yet more than that, the franchise is easy to play as an emotionally gripping interactive story. Accessibility is particularly key to the series' success. Connors notes that Telltale's titles deliberately work with "not somebody who's necessarily a great gamer." And the focus on high drama and emotion was shown by YouTube video extracts from playthroughs after a key character died, featuring screaming and crying YouTube-rs feeling the onscreen pain. With The Walking Dead up for multiple gongs at the DICE Awards this evening, the series is top in the mind of many gamers - and while the creative team may be better able to explain what they did to make it a success, Connors' unwavering belief over many years that episodic was indeed a viable business model appears to have paid off in spades.

About the Author(s)

Simon Carless

Blogger

Simon Carless is the founder of the GameDiscoverCo agency and creator of the popular GameDiscoverCo game discoverability newsletter. He consults with a number of PC/console publishers and developers, and was previously most known for his role helping to shape the Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Conference for many years.

He is also an investor and advisor to UK indie game publisher No More Robots (Descenders, Hypnospace Outlaw), a previous publisher and editor-in-chief at both Gamasutra and Game Developer magazine, and sits on the board of the Video Game History Foundation.

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