Telltale games’ dissolution has been a topic for many gamers who love the “choose your own adventure” style play. The games that Telltale gave us allowed for a deeper exploration into some of our beloved franchises, even if they were more interactive comic than video game. While TONS of complimenting design arts go into the creation of all video games, writing and narrative were a clear focus of the Telltale product. Great writers were a huge part of these games, and that’s why I’m so excited to hear news of former Telltale writer, Emily Grace Buck, has joined the team of The Waylanders, an upcoming fantasy RPG.
The Waylanders is an in-development game from Gato Studios, and it’s based on Celtic myth. It’s still live on Kickstarter, so go have a look and help fund the project.
In a recent article about Buck’s addition to the The Waylanders team, she describes some of her influences, and her journey to video game writing. Something strikes me as so interesting is that Buck wrote fanfiction about her favorite RPGs (like a lot of us do), and the segue of that into Telltale game writing is almost as fluid as it could get. What is a Telltale game if not a fanfiction writer’s dream?
“The amount of fanfiction I wrote was… enormous. As I practiced writing characters and scenarios for those types of games—fantasy epics in which I was also able to romance and befriend characters, I realized… I had to be a game storyteller.”
Now, Buck will be completely shedding her fanfiction roots in a new endeavor, The Waylanders. A Celtic fantasy RPG is something we’ve definitely not had a lot of in the gaming pantheon. Greek and Norse myth get plenty of attention due to the prevalence of their stories in popular culture and their famous webs of relationships, deceit and battle. I’m not ashamed to say that I don’t know much about Celtic lore, because it’s just not as present in popular culture, but I’m definitely excited to learn more.
Writing has been, and always will be, what draws me toward video games most. I play across the board and appreciate all efforts and design aspects that go into all the games I play, but narrative is what I always remember most. In Celeste, I poured myself into the precise platforming, but when I talk about that game, I talk about Madeline’s struggle to cope with her darker side and make amends with herself. Every JRPG is another chance to grind and level up new spikey-haired heroes, but it’s the sprawling narratives that I think about for years afterward. Here’s to Emily Grace Buck, and may The Waylanders be a game filled with novel gameplay, but more importantly for some of us, a lasting narrative.