The Expanse: A Telltale Series is a prequel to the show full of tough choices and sci-fi drama. Pre-purchase now, out July 27
The Expanse: A Telltale Series is a prequel to the show, focusing on the character Camina Drummer, once again played by Cara Gee, and her time on the scavenger ship Artemis. Drummer is a fan favorite, with a blank slate for a past. For Stephan Frost, Game Director of The Expanse, that made exploring her early life an ideal scenario for the game.
“Drummer was my favorite character from the show, and she didn't have a backstory in the show/books, which meant we could explore more openly,” Frost said. “She's a great character for narrative adventure games because she's capable of making hard decisions, and showing compassion, so that's great for a game about choices that still fit the character's ethos either way.”
Like choosing between a crew member’s leg and a potential jackpot in cargo, for example. Telltale recently demoed what happens when Drummer saves the leg: the vault full of cargo floats off into space, and grateful crewman Rayman “will remember.” Choices made in the opening episode have the potential to affect the whole game. Though you won’t have to wait years, or even months, to discover those consequences.
The Expanse: A Telltale Series is an episodic game with a rigid release schedule. There will be five episodes, each between an hour and an hour and a half long, released every two weeks. Though it’s not quite the volume and speed of a TV show, for an episodic game, it’s positively warp speed.
“We wanted players to have time to play it, discuss it, build anticipation for the next episode, and do it again until the last episode,” Frost said.
Doing so has allowed the team to map out the series from beginning to end before the first episode is released.
“We have multiple episodes, and character arcs for multiple characters,” Frost said. “The pacing of them, and how we unfold the events, is something we heavily considered. Low and high points for characters are determined in the time we have when we map them out.”
Just before Drummer is asked to make her choice of leg vs. cargo, she’s exploring a wrecked ship that’s been stripped by pirates. The crew are left as an example to those who come after them: dead and in pieces in the torn open ship. It’s a grim discovery that also allows Telltale to flex a little: The Expanse feels more like a third-person action adventure game than the traditional adventure game that the developer’s been known for, with giant derelicts to explore, resources to gather, and bodies to examine. All in zero gravity.
“The great part about our new gameplay is it's still narrative focused,” Frost promises. “As the player explores derelict ships using our Zero-G mechanic, they can interact with the world and talk about what they see with the crew. We get to learn more about how Drummer sees the universe and get to learn about our crew as well, and chat with them as we use our magboots to walk on the ceiling.”
That includes Drummer’s ship, the Artemis, a place players can fully explore when not floating through dismembered remains. It’s a home for the crew, where they can bond, fight, and even just take in the majesty of space.
“We really wanted players to feel like they were in an Expanse ship, and it's your crew's home for the journey,” he said. “We definitely form relationships with characters outside the main plot, and in fact, finding certain items in shipwrecks will advance relationships with certain members of the crew. We can't wait for players to get to know this eccentric crew.”
You don’t have to wait long. The Expanse: A Telltale Series launches on July 27, 2023, on the Epic Games Store. Pre-purchase it now!