Telltale revealed at Comic Con this week that, beginning with Batman, they’re adding multiplayer to their games – in a manner of speaking.
According to Shacknews, this doesn’t mean that Telltale’s Batman is going to be a co-op game where a friend accompanies you as Robin, making a series of his own decisions. No, it’s not multiplayer in that sense. Think of multiplayer Telltale as a community effort. At the start of the game, the player will be able to generate a room url and then give that out to friends (or perhaps a Twitch stream) in order for viewers to have a say in the outcome of the game’s choices.
When the player encounters a choice, it’ll poll the people viewing, or the crowd, and then, depending on which mode is enabled, the most popular vote will be picked, or the player will see what the crowd wants, discount it, and pick their own choice. The crowd will also be able to give thumbs up or thumbs down when the player performs certain actions to offer even more feedback.
The system seems most useful for smaller groups of people in order to make the game a true communal effort, but of course it has potential for Twitch streamers to allow their viewers to completely ruin the game, because that’s just what Twitch likes to do. I imagine smaller streams might actually have fun with the system, but once a stream reaches that critical mass, all bets are off. Telltale said during Comic Con that lag issues will likely hamper attempting to play with a thousand people instead of ten, but they’re hoping to refine the system. In the meantime, expect the thumbs up or thumbs down system to be the focus while streaming.
The feature seems great for smaller groups of players and larger ones, too, if only to see how ridiculous the decisions can be. It’s unclear how it might work with the timer that most decisions in Telltale games have, but I can only assume the crowd will be met with the same limitations the player has, which is probably why lag from having a crowd in the thousands would happen the experience. Or maybe to combat lag, only a set amount of people in the crowd could actually have a say in choices, everyone else thumbs up and thumbs down.
Communal-yet-not-quite-multiplayer will debut in Batman when it launches on August 2nd, and then will presumably show up in any further Telltale games. I for one look forward to getting a few friends together and allowing them to feed me bad decisions.