The Expanse has been saved once before, thanks to one of the great social media campaigns of the modern era. Then the show ended on a hell of a cliffhanger, leaving fans hungry for a second case of IRL deus ex machina. It’s happening, but in a way most might not expect: a Telltale game.
Formally called The Expanse: A Telltale Series, the game is a prequel to the events of the show, which wrapped with the culmination of its sixth season in January. The Expanse is a narrative adventure game—like the bulk of Telltale’s oeuvre—and is developed in conjunction with Deck Nine, the studio behind last year’s emotional drop-kick, Life is Strange: True Colors. You play as Camina Drummer, a key character from both the show and the series of novels it’s based on, during her days as a scavenger.
The Expanse debuted at last year’s Game Awards. Telltale aired the first glimpse of gameplay footage during yesterday’s Gamescom marketing extravaganza. Have a look:
As a diehard fan of the series (warts and all, it is the best show), I have only one thing to add: !!!!!!!
Following the initial announcement last year, I was skeptical, but The Expanse seems to fully understand its source material. The Expanse is set hundreds of years in the future, when humans have invented interplanetary travel and have colonized much of the inner solar system. Earth and Mars are superpowers, locked in a cold war. People living in the asteroid belt and on the moons of Jupiter have been relegated to an oppressed working class, referred to as Belters. It’s all hard sci-fi—rooted in the physics and science of reality. You’ll find no Jedi here, in other words.
But The Expanse, both in the books and the shows, has always focused more on nail-biting human drama than on high-minded science stuff. The characters in the show are often presented with decisions that have no easy answers—ideal source material for venerable developers of choice-based games, like Telltale and Deck Nine. In the game, there will obviously be a crucial story branch in which you have to decide whether or not to space someone. Honestly, based on this footage, it’ll probably happen multiple times. (If the game truly ends up lifting from the show, there is a correct choice here: Push the button! Every time!) And get this: Telltale actually got Cara Gee, who portrays Camina Drummer in the show, to lend her voice and likeness to the game’s version of the character.
“It’s been a really interesting thing to explore, as an actor, some of her more vulnerable sides,” Gee said. “By the time we meet her in the [TV] series, they’ve been cauterized.”
At the end of The Expanse’s sixth season, a dude who had, like, maybe five minutes of screen time reveals himself as the Real Villain The Whole Time. He then says probably the hardest line of the entire show: “I’ve got gods to kill.” And boom, right into the denouement. Clearly, there’s more room for this world to exist on the screen. (The show only covered the first six of nine novels.) I’m glad to see it coming back, even if it’s not the exact form those folks who started another petition wanted.
The Expanse: A Telltale Series is slated for release next year, platforms, date, and pricing TBA.