Bill Willingham, the creator of Fables the comic book series, recently hijacked Telltale Games’ blog to deliver this message: The Wolf Among Us story is the most faithful adaptation of Fables yet and will be considered canon.
That’s great whenever you can get the creator of a work to not only like your adaption of their creation, but to overwhelmingly endorse it. In the blog, Willingham openly admits he isn’t an expert on video games, but he is an expert on story.
He briefly discusses botched attempts to make Fables a TV series, but the two scripts never made it in front of a director. “The scripts told me the same thing,” said Willingham, “whoever wrote these stories never read Fables, or didn’t like what they’d read, or simply thought they’d do something different to put their own personal ‘stamp’ on the story. Even the one that was a pretty good fairy tale story, in the most generic sense, was a lousy Fables story. Except for using some of the same names for characters they bore little resemblance to the Fables comic book series.”
Understandably, he had some concerns when DC Comics (Fables’ publisher) and Telltale Games made a deal. Willingham doesn’t mention it, but video games are notoriously horrible at getting story right. Which isn’t a slight on the game writer’s part (usually), but on the ludic-driven nature of games to go against everything that is compelling about narrative and structure.
“No surprise then that I was most worried about their fidelity to the Fables story, when I heard a deal had been reached to adapt Fables into a Telltale game.”
Telltale Games, however, isn’t an ordinary publisher. Its bread and butter resides in episodic releases of established franchises such as The Walking Dead, which received the Spike TV VGA for best game of the year in 2012. Telltale Games was itself rewarded by Spike as 2012’s studio of the year.
“The surprise ending to this tale? The men and women at Telltale got the story right. They know the true story of Fables frontwards and back, so well in fact that I went out of my way to reach a separate deal with Telltale, not only to do what I can to help direct the story of their game, but to make the story in the game canon in the greater Fables fictional universe.”