In an era when movies, television and videogames compete directly for the same audiences, and where scripted entertainments rely on videogames and other mediums for source material, it makes perfect sense for game developers to skip the middlemen and produce their own cinematic versions of games. The first such effort may well be Mojang and Telltale Games’ Minecraft: Story Mode, which will take fans of the 3D puzzler on a season-length epic adventure.
Last month, the developers announced that Story Mode will feature a full cast of top voice talent while teasing details about the first episode of the season. Today, they revealed they’ll be taking some other moves from the Hollywood playbook, and adding a few touches to make Story Mode's launch perhaps the first truly hybrid movie-videogame event.
A new trailer released today expanded on Story Mode’s mythology, revealing the four legendary heroes known as the Order of the Stone. The Order will be voiced by veteran voice actors Corey Feldman, Dave Fennoy, Grey Griffin, and John Hodgman, who join Patton Oswalt and Jennifer Taber in what is a truly stacked voice cast. Even more interesting news is that Telltale and Mojang will be holding the game’s World Premiere launch event at the ArcLight Cinerama Dome in Hollywood the night before the game’s release, on October 12th.
It sounds like an imitation of a Hollywood premiere, but they're adding a twist that'll be unique to videogames: “the world’s largest Let’s Play.” The audience, which will likely be a full house due to the event tickets being free on request (email firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interested), will watch a playthrough of the game’s action on the big screen.
The launch of Minecraft: Story Mode is shaping up to be a significant entertainment event; case in point, its opening may be as big as any movie premiere. The popularity of the Let’s Play experience has led to the success of Twitch (and the rise of its new competitor YouTube Gaming), and the decision to use a Let’s Play for a Hollywood-style premiere is an inspired one. The question that remains is if Mojang and Telltale Games are providing a template to be used by future videogame tentpoles, or if Story Mode’s World Premiere launch will be a historical curiosity.
Our guess is that Mojang and Telltale Games’ experiment will be just the beginning, and that videogame launches will continue to blend social media with the best of both the film and videogame worlds. The community aspect of videogames is only getting stronger and stronger, both online and in person; game publishers would be wise to promote their products with the social media infrastructure that has already sprouted around them.
The other possibility is that Minecraft fans will stay home and that Story Mode’s launch will only be mildly successful. In the latter case, it will take another attempt, perhaps from a different publisher, for videogames to break away from more traditional launch models.
Minecraft: Story Mode Episode 1: ‘The Order of the Stone’ premieres digitally worldwide on October 13th for PC, Mac, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Playstation 3, and Playstation 4. The full season pass will be available at retail stores for all the above platforms on October 27th.
Source: Telltale Games/Mojang