The Wolf Among Us Interview: ‘They Will Remember That’

Katy Goodman and Hayden Dingman chat with two of the minds behind the Telltale Game’s the Wolf Among Us, Nick Herman and Dennis Lenart.

Telltale Games, the indie studio behind the critically acclaimed narrative adventure The Walking Dead, has become known for its emotional poise in the art of storytelling, a profound display of character development and artful narrative design within a video game. Now the indie company is at it again, tugging at our heart strings with The Wolf Among Us, a title that is canon to the Fables comic book series. With a gorgeous art design that captures the comic book frame for frame, the game follows Bigby Wolf in his endeavor to protect the mythical creatures of the Fables universe.

After being captivated by the demo for The Wolf Among Us at PAX Prime, Hayden Dingman and I spoke with two of Telltale's developers, Nick Herman and Dennis Lenart. In our chat we talked  about what influence its predecessor The Walking Dead has had on the development of the title, as well as art choices, narrative design chocolate bars, and even The Walking Dead Season 2! Read on:

Nick Herman: I think with The Walking Dead, the goal was to get it to look like the comic. But I think with Fables we started there, getting the game to look like the comic… and in stills it looked just like it. So we wanted to try and push it even farther and give it our own sort of flavor. This game is a prequel as well, so we can play with the era and the colors a bit more. And we have an amazing art team.

Katy Goodman: You were saying the game is a prequel… how will this tie into the Fables series in terms of characters and narrative? The Walking Dead was a game that left me with an emotional hangover; can we expect to see the same thing here?

Dennis Lenart: There are pieces within the game that happened after the books started, but our story takes a lot of those familiar characters, then we throw in some other ones that aren't really in the books or had smaller parts–we really expand on them. But it does have the same feeling of The Walking Dead. You get caught up in the story, and that's the main selling point for the game.

Hayden Dingman: Is there a scene that's going to be as upsetting as the candy bar "hand-out" scene in The Walking Dead? (group laughs)

Lenart: I'm sure there will be.

Goodman: Well great…. Carley… ugh. (laughs)

Dingman: How much crossover is there between The Walking Dead development team and this team?

Herman: I mean, we started fresh. We announced that we were working on The Walking Dead and Fables at the same time actually… so there was a lot of work going into this while we were working on The Walking Dead. We have a new writer and he came in and got excited about it and then we jumped on it. It's so different from The Walking Dead.

Lenart: Yeah, we were on The Walking Dead while the script [for The Wolf Among Us] was being created. They had us jump over because we were just so excited about what it could be.

Dingman: When is this slated to release?

Herman: It's slated to release in September. However, we're going to announce something soon!

Dingman: The Walking Dead Season 2 is coming out around the same time, right?

Lenart: Yeah.

Dingman: You guys are a busy studio!

Herman: Always making games. Every night.

Goodman: What drew you guys to the Fables comics? The Walking Dead has such a heavy and emotional narrative design… so what aspects of Fables comics inspired the game to come into fruition?  

Lenart: Well I think the idea of it being such a rich storytelling world in the comics–that's what initially attracted us to the licensing of it. Like Nick was saying, a while ago, even before we were making The Walking Dead, it just seemed like everyone in the studio agreed that it would make a great Telltale game. It's really all about these characters and how their relationships affect each other. Same thing with The Walking Dead, it's an opportunity to tell all of these really great stories.

Herman: I think for me too, it's just like you know these characters, you know their names, you know what happens, but when you close the book… what happens after that? It's messed up most of the time, and that's why it's fun.