The team are constrained by the characters, unlike with Lee and Clem in The Walking Dead who were original creations. They keep the "in-the-moment choices" but also throw branching timelines at us.
Two events can be happening at the same time and our choices on which to respond to will have consequences. It's in compensation to the 'stricter rules' of Fables.
We play the role of Bigby Wolf - the Big Bad Wolf from the fairy tales - who is the sheriff of this secret community of fable folk living in the real-world in New York after being kicked out of their own. "In a lot of ways I think Fables is the hardest thing we’ve ever done to date," Telltale president Kevin Bruner told .
"In Walking Dead, Lee and Clem were inventions. They could be things that were convenient for the game world. Their backgrounds, their personalities, the way they react to things. We could craft those characters in a way that was fun to role-play as and fun to interact with."
"With Fables, you play Bigby Wolf. He has to be Bigby Wolf. Snow has to be Snow," he explained.
"The world has a stricter set of rules than Kirkman’s zombie world. The role that you play, as a kind of detective and the sheriff of Fabletown, isn’t as life and death as “I am protecting Clementine from being eaten by zombies.” The bar is set a lot higher for us as far as how we make all that work."
The studio team has come up with some new tricks to tell this particular story, as getting to make branching choices has been the cornerstone of The Walking Dead's success for Telltale.
"We’ve come up with new storytelling techniques. We call it the evolution of choice. A big thing in Walking Dead was going where the story took you, and we would throw these choices at you, but you couldn’t really determine what was going to happen next. Whereas in Fables, the choices you make in the moment are all there, like in Walking Dead, but there are places where it branches timeline-wise." They really like making it hard on themselves.
"Two events are happening at the same time and you have to choose which event you’re going to interact with," he said.
"When you get there, you make the same kind of in-the-moment choices, but there’s stuff happening somewhere else at the same time. Not only do you get to choose what to say and how to treat people, but you also get to choose when and where you’re saying it. If you go one way, people will be like, “Where were you? We were over here and we could have really used you.” You have to explain why you weren’t there. These are all new role-playing aspects that we’re using as tools to help us stay within the bounds where Bigby Wolf can be Bigby Wolf and the Fables universe can stay consistent."
The Wolf Among Us releases on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC in Q3 2013. Check out thebetween Kevin Bruner and Rock, Paper, Shotgun for more of Telltale's take on Fables.