Telltale Games Wishlist – Scooby-Doo

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In the past Telltale Games has taken on plenty successful IP’s from a range of mediums. The independent studio has adapted everything from comic books like The Walking Dead and Sam & Max, to silver screen properties Jurassic Park and Back to the Future. The studio has also helmed reboots of past game franchises like Monkey Island. Their newest license, The Wolf Among Us also finds its roots in comic books. Telltale has also translated episodic television into interactive form with Law & Order Legacies.

The studio has expressed the fact that they love great stories, and rather than coming up with something wholly original, they enjoy augmenting well-known properties. So, why the hell hasn’t Telltale done a Scooby-Doo game yet!? It’s perfect territory for the point and click adventure genre (it’s graced the genre in the past with Scooby-Doo Mystery) and the Scooby-Doo mythos has plenty of fertile, open-ended content to play with.

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It seems to me that Telltale has a few very recognizable pillars they seek out when looking for a new license. First the IP, whatever it is, it needs to translate well into the point and click genre. Otherwise they’d have to contemplate how to blend their signature gameplay style into something that didn’t readily support it. Second, the franchise needs to have a mythos that’s worth exploring. For example, Telltale’s The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us both explore storylines that break from their mainstream portrayals. TWD is set in the same universe, but it introduces us to protagonists that aren’t involved in the TV show, or the comic books. The Wolf Among Us explores events that lead up to Bill Willingham’s Eisner award-winning series – Fables. And third, Telltale thrives on tugging at our heartstrings. They force us to make ethical choices that dance along our own moral fiber.

To an extent, Scooby-Doo checks all the aforementioned boxes. You have to remember that Telltale takes known works and characters and  adds their own secret sauce to the recipe. Fast forward 10-20 years in the Scooby-Doo timeline and things could be shockingly different. When you look at Scooby-Doo literally, we have a pretty fucked up situation on our hands. This is a group of unsupervised teenagers and their greyhound engaged in an endless road trip that consists of the most bizarre places throughout the United States. Do they ever attend school? How are they paying for all of that gas? Why the hell are Fred and Daphne intermingled with a burnout like Shaggy and an egghead like Velma? The answer to all three of these questions is D.R.U.G.S. – drugs! In my experience, the socio-economic barriers that separate us on a regular basis go right out the window when pot is involved. It’s so simple, and it’s more than hinted at by the writers.

Ten years into the future Shaggy and Scooby are most likely inhabiting a studio apartment, that is if they aren’t toting a stick and bindle. Fred’s most likely lost his prep sports figure and Ascot. Daphne harbors severe abandonment issues due to her friends constantly ditching her in the midst of abnormal situations. And Velma, Velma is the one whose actually made something of her life as a government contractor. The possibilities are as endless as they are hilarious.

And what sets our new story arch in motion? Why Daphne’s abduction of course! Now it’s up to the failure and his mutt, the washed-up leader, and the enormously successful maven to come to her rescue. Velma being unwittingly dragged back into her pubescence would reignite the strong resentment she has for the group. Fred’s attempts to reclaim his former glory and Scoob & Shag’s focus on being as far away from danger as possible could make for a great narrative. Not to mention the fact that the IP has been host to characters like Batman & Robin and the Harlem Globetrotters. Easter eggs and cameos from historical pop-ins could help fuel the nostalgia and offer some situational variety.

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Scooby-Doo isn’t heavily action driven. Finding clues and solving puzzles are the basis of the point and click genre, and would fit right into any story having to do with the quartet of meddling middle-agers. I can even envision having several component options to decide from during Fred’s signature trap construction. With the obvious goal of snaring the would-be villains. Maybe you fudge construction or choose the wrong parts and the crook gets away? There’s also the inevitable decision on whom you’ll be investigating with. Maybe Velma and Scooby go it alone and stick Fred with Shaggy. I could go on forever.

At the end of the day, it’s all here; conflicted characters, a solid base for point and click gameplay, a mythos that’s ripe for the picking, and more than a few examples of tough decisions for the making. At some point, Telltale is going to have to put the depressing themes of The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us on the shelf, or the writers will end up offing themselves. Scooby-Doo is a great way to retain the pillars of Telltale’s narrative-driven experience while giving them a much deserved break from the bleak themes they’ve been dealing with for some time now.

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Dylan Zellmer

Dylan splits time between games journalism, designing video games, and playing them. Outside of his deep involvement in the games industry, he enjoys It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Shameless, A Song of Ice and Fire, fitness, and family.
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