The Expanse: A Telltale Series might be coming to Xbox, to pochuye ke? (That’s Belter creole for “Do you understand?”) The sci-fi narrative adventure is set to launch in summer 2023. That much was confirmed at Gamescom Opening Night Live last week.
The game marks a fresh start for Telltale Games, who co-developed it with Deck Nine. The Expanse is their first new licensed property since LCG Entertainment took over the Telltale trade name from the defunct studio, following its well-documented closure in 2018.
For now, no specific platforms have been confirmed, but the Gamescom announcement said it would release on PC and “leading consoles.” It’s worth noting that Telltale Batman Shadows Edition is available for Xbox One. Likewise, the two editions of Life Is Strange developed by Deck Nine (Before The Storm and True Colors) were also released on Xbox One and Series X|S.
That said, what can players expect if The Expanse: A Telltale Series comes to Xbox?
Based on the gameplay trailer that was shown at Gamescom, it seems to build on what both studios do best. It’s a character-driven graphic adventure, with a mix of branching-path decision-making and twitchy quick-time events. In this case, your choices determine the outcome of a bloody mutiny aboard the Artemis, a scavenger ship at the edge of the asteroid belt.
However, The Expanse varies in one crucial way from other Telltale series: zero-gravity level environments. Equipped with mag boots, players will be able to “walk on walls and ceilings and utilize zero-g thrusters to float through the void”. This is consistent with the hard sci-fi world-building of the Amazon Prime Video series, as well as James S. A. Corey’s original novel series.
Speaking of world-building, a younger Camina Drummer will be the player character for The Expanse: The Telltale Series, rather than milquetoast TV protagonist Captain Jim Holden. A fan favorite, Drummer is a Belter, a human raised in the hostile environment of the asteroid belt. In standard continuity, Drummer represents Belter interests in the upstart Outer Planets Alliance. But in this timeline, she’s still the Executive Officer of the Artemis. TV actress Cara Gee will reprise her role for the game.
The gameplay trailer presents a classic sci-fi mission: discovering the fate of an abandoned derelict vessel. It’s an objective familiar to players of games like Dead Space (2008) and Alien: Isolation (2014). In this case, it means encounters with floating corpses in zero-g and salvaging flight recordings from ill-fated missions, in the hope of finding that one great score.
The game’s title suggests that Telltale will be sticking with their previous episodic format. However, Telltale CEO Jamie Ottilie has previously claimed that future games would be developed in full before release, even if they were published as individual episodes. (Beltalowda will remember that.)
Hopefully we’ll know for certain before summer 2023.