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Netflix's Stranger Things is gearing up for its third season. The show has proven to be undeniably and unequivocally successful thanks to its throwback themes to the adventure-horror films of the 1980s, and a lot of nostalgia-filled nods to classic pieces of cinema like E.T., Monster Squad, and The Goonies. The story-driven, sci-fi horror tale seemed like it would be ripe for the pickings of a company like Telltale Games, but it actually took two years for Telltale to finally pull the trigger on making an interactive version of the series. So, why did it take so long? Well, Telltale finally explained.
According to an article on Variety, the reason that it took so long to get a partnership deal between Telltale and Netflix inked on paper is because the former leadership didn't quite think that the property was anything more than "kids on a bike." No joke. Someone close to Telltale told Variety...
They thought it was just a bunch of kids on bikes. They thought it was a terrible idea.
It was also during this time that Telltale was going through somewhat of an identity crisis. The company was churning out a lot of properties in a short amount of time, and many of the games that were being produced weren't big sellers, and had begun to tarnish the company's reputation as gamers began to make memes spread across the internet saying that none of the choices in Telltale games mattered. It's a rather damning reputation to pick up when your company is supposed to be built on telling compelling stories where the choices do matter.
Last year, things began to turn around after Telltale's former CEO, Kevin Bruner, was ousted from the company. The new CEO, Pete Hawley, quickly began to trim down on the Telltale operations, excising projects and properties that were no longer hot sellers and getting the company back on track to making limited high-quality games based on popular properties and making the choices matter again. This did come to fruition with Batman: The Enemy Within, where the outcomes were vastly different for the latter episodes based on the choices players made throughout previous episodes.
Hawley also had the company bring back a highly requested fan-favorite in the form of The Wolf Among Us, promising a second season in 2019.
Another big change came in the form of finally signing the deal with Netflix to make a Stranger Things game. After having put off the project for two years, Hawley figured the time was right to get in on the popular sci-fi television show.
Netflix, meanwhile, has taken the partnership in its own direction, introducing its subscribers to Minecraft: Story Mode, which is available for streaming through Netflix. The company isn't getting into gaming, but will be selectively adding "interactive narratives" to its library.
Meanwhile, the Stranger Things game is slated to release in the future running on the Unity 3D game engine. Telltale is abandoning the Telltale Tool engine that powered all its previous games. Obviously, moving assets and workflows over to a new engine is costly and time consuming, so don't expect the Stranger Things game to launch anytime soon.