E3 2016: Telltale’s Batman Proves Being Bruce Wayne Is Just as Cool as Being The Bat

A visit to Telltale Games' booth at this year’s E3 is a visit to Wayne Manor. Away from the main show floors, hidden away from the noise and the chatter, a kindly bartender offered me a cocktail. As I made myself comfy on a plush leather couch, I noticed all the napkins were monogramed with W’s, naturally. On the big TV in front of me was the latest Gotham News. Eventually, I was led behind a fake wall to The Bat Cave. The small theater had a big screen, one that would reveal the first 30 minutes of episode one of Telltale’s latest franchise adaptation: Batman.

Opening with a heist by a team of masked men, these tough criminals speak about seeing the "The Bat." Some fear him while others joke that he’s a freak that should be kept in a zoo. The vibe is reminiscent of The Dark Knight‘s opening with The Joker, which is a good thing. We see Batman ready to take these thugs out when suddenly we cut to a shirtless Bruce Wayne whose torso is worn with battle. Alfred scolds him about how “Batman is an invincible legend, but you Mr. Wayne are not.”

The focus, we’re told by the Telltale rep, will be to tell a kind of dual story. Half of the game will be as Batman, figuring out the main mystery and taking down bad guys, while the other half takes place in the world of Gotham’s elite as Bruce Wayne must navigate the political landscape with tact, not fists.

Back to the heist as Batman, there are plenty of onscreen button prompt moments like hitting A to drop a smoke bomb or pushing the left stick plus the right trigger to use the bat grappling hook to string up criminals in the dark. Back to flashing forward, Alfred warns that in trying to create a myth, Bruce should be mindful that he doesn’t turn into a monster, but he's met with a quip: “Sometimes you need a monster, Alfred.”

The sequence ends with a confrontation by Catwoman, who after some great verbal sparring nearly falls to her death atop a skyscraper. Batman speaks to her in a heavily altered voice, another nod to the classic Nolan film. So far, so good.

Telltale has put us in the role of the World’s Greatest Detective and even let us duke it out with Catwoman with left-stick swiping to avoid getting scratched by the feline felon. The next section is all Wayne as Bruce attends a fundraiser for his pal, Harvey Dent. Here is where dialogue is key. Gangster Carmine Falcone arrives and, with a whole room of society types watching, extends a hand to Bruce. Do we shake his hand? Or do we blow him off? Reporter Vicki Vale is nearby by waiting to catch a scoop like this.

There are also lighter moments, suggesting to Harvey what his campaign slogan should be. Our group went with “Put a Dent in Crime!” By the end of the demo, I was ready to see what happens next. As they did with The Walking Dead, and DC's own The Wolf Among Us, Telltale is ready to deliver yet another memorable experience. Batman: The Telltale Series arrives this summer.