The Wolf Among Us

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The Wolf Among Us
The Wolf Among Us cover art.jpg
Developer(s) Telltale Games
Publisher(s) Telltale Games
Director(s)
  • Nick Herman
  • Dennis Lenart
  • Jason Latino
  • Martin Montgomery
  • Kent Mudle
  • Vahram Antonian
Producer(s) Chris Schroyer
Designer(s)
  • Ryan Kaufman
  • Joe Pinnery
  • Matt LoPresti
  • Aaron Casillas
  • John Drake
  • Kendall Davis
Programmer(s) Keenan Patterson
Writer(s)
  • Pierre Shorette
  • Dave Grossman
  • Adam Hines
  • Nicole Martinez
  • Dan Martin[1]
Composer(s) Jared Emerson-Johnson
Series Fables
Engine Telltale Tool
Platform(s)
Release October 14, 2013–July 9, 2014
Genre(s) Graphic adventure
Interactive movie
Mode(s) Single-player

The Wolf Among Us is an episodic interactive fantasy mystery graphic adventure video game based on Bill Willingham's Fables comic book series.[12] It is developed by Telltale Games. It is canon with the comic book universe and is set as a prequel to the comic book.[13] The game consists of five episodes,[14] with the first episode being released for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360 worldwide on October 11, 2013,[5] for OS X worldwide on October 14, 2013,[4] for PlayStation 3 on October 15, 2013, in North America[5] and on October 16, 2013, in Europe and Australia,[6] for iOS worldwide on December 4, 2013,[7] and PlayStation Vita before the end of 2014.[15] Retail versions for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, and Xbox One consoles were released in November 2014.[16]

Since its release, the game has been generally well received by critics and garnered a considerable cult following.[17] In July 2017, Telltale announced that season 2 of The Wolf Among Us would be coming in 2018.[18] However by May 2018, Telltale announced that due to recent internal studio issues, they had to push back the release of the sequel until 2019.[19] On September 21, 2018, Telltale officially announced that The Wolf Among Us sequel was cancelled after the layoffs of 225 employees.

Gameplay[edit]

In-game conversations are presented in the form of dialogue trees

The Wolf Among Us is a graphic adventure game, played from a third-person perspective.[20] The player controls protagonist Bigby Wolf, who must investigate the murder of a woman.[21] Throughout the game, the player will explore various three-dimensional environments, such as apartment buildings and a bar.[22] When exploring an environment, the player may find an object they can interact with; when this occurs, they must move a cursor over the object to select and examine it.[23] Items of interest are stored in an inventory, and can be used later in the story.[24] The player may also talk with non-player characters, and the conversations presented in the form of dialogue trees.[25] The dialogue options chosen during conversations will either have a positive or negative affect on how other characters view Bigby, and their perceptions will influence future events in the story.[24] Some scenes are more action-oriented, forcing the player to respond to a series of quick time event (QTE) prompts.[26] The player is not required to complete every QTE prompt, and skipping certain prompts may affect future events in the story.[27]

Synopsis[edit]

Setting[edit]

The Wolf Among Us is set in the year 1986, nearly twenty years before the events of Fables.[28] For years, many of the magical lands described in myth, legend, and folklore (known as The Homelands) have been occupied by an enigmatic tyrant known as the Adversary.[29] To escape the Adversary's totalitarian regime, many of The Homelands inhabitants fled to colonial America, and created an enclave known as Fabletown, now located in modern-day Manhattan. To mask their presence from the native humans, all non-human fables have to purchase an enchantment known as a "glamour" which allows them to appear human, or be relocated to a rural community known as "The Farm".

Characters[edit]

The player-protagonist of The Wolf Among Us is Bigby Wolf (Adam Harrington), formerly the Big Bad Wolf. He is the sheriff of Fabletown, currently working at the "Business Office" under interim mayor Ichabod Crane (Roger L. Jackson), aided by Snow White (Erin Yvette) and her Magic Mirror (Gavin Hammon) in his investigation along with the help of Bufkin the winged monkey (Chuck Kourouklis) that manages Fabletown's records. Bluebeard (Dave Fennoy) also works at the Office though his motives are unclear. Bigby resides at the Woodlands apartments, where he is currently allowing Colin (Brian Sommer), one of the Three Little Pigs, to stay with him after blowing down the pig's home. Beauty and the Beast (Melissa Hutchison and Gavin Hammon) are also residents of Woodlands, though currently struggling with a troubled marriage. One of the Fables that Bigby frequently contacts is Mr. Toad (Chuck Kourouklis) and his son TJ (Toad Jr.), who live in a run-down apartment building nearby.

As the game opens, the player is introduced to The Woodsman (Adam Harrington) who lives in the same building as Mr. Toad, and Faith (Cia Court) and Prince Lawrence (Anthony Lam), characters from the Allerleirauh/Donkeyskin fables. Standing in Bigby's way are Dee and Dum Tweedle (Gavin Hammon), twin thugs working for an unknown agent. Bigby also encounters Holly (Janet Lipsey), a Troll that runs the Trip Trap bar, and Grendel (Kid Beyond), a barfly there. The second episode introduces Georgie Porgie (Kevin Howarth), the owner of the Pudding and Pie strip club and Faith's pimp, along with two of his dancers, Nerissa (Molly Benson) the former Little Mermaid and Vivian (Sandy Delonga), and Clever Hans (Ben Knoll), the club's bouncer. The third episode introduces Bloody Mary (Kathryn Cressida) as an agent of the Crooked Man (Philip Banks) and Aunty Greenleaf (Laura Bailey), a rogue witch who illegally sells cheap black-market glamours to Fables who cannot afford the glamours in the 13th Floor. The fourth episode introduces the Jersey Devil (Bobby Vickers), the manager of the Lucky Pawn shop and Johann the butcher (Terry McGovern), the former owner of the Cut Above butcher shop and has since been forced out by the Crooked Man's henchmen.

Plot[edit]

This is a broad overview of the plot. Certain decisions made by the player will alter details of specific events.

Bigby Wolf, formerly the Big Bad Wolf, is the Sheriff of Fabletown, a hidden community of fairytale characters located in 1980s New York City. Receiving a call from Mr. Toad, Bigby manages to save a prostitute from an intoxicated Woodsman. He escorts her to safety and before she departs, she tells him he is not as bad as everyone says he is.

Later that night, Bigby is shocked to find the woman's head left on the Woodlands doorstep. Clues left with the head identify her as Faith, a Fable from Allerleirauh. Deputy Mayor Ichabod Crane orders him and Snow White to investigate her death. They head to the apartment she shared with her husband Prince Lawrence and find the Tweedles, Dee and Dum, snooping through it. They learn from Lawrence that they struggled to make ends meet and Faith took up prostitution to help pay the bills. Bigby leaves Snow at the Woodlands while he continues to trace leads. When he returns, he finds the Woodlands surrounded by police, Snow's head sitting on the building's steps.

Bigby is taken in for questioning by the human police, but Crane uses a spell to wipe the incident from the police's minds. When they return, they are surprised to find Snow still alive; the head is shown to be disguised by a black-market glamour, a spell that Fables use to look human, and belongs instead to a troll named Lily. Bigby tracks Lily's connections to a strip club run by Georgie Porgie, but Georgie claims innocence. One of his other prostitutes, Nerissa, cryptically directs Bigby to a nearby hotel room. There he finds Lily's blood on the bed, and photographic evidence of Crane engaging in sexual acts with Lily glamoured to look like Snow. He informs Snow of this, and they race back to the Woodlands to find Crane gone, and the Magic Mirror, which could have revealed his location, shattered with one shard missing.

Bigby follows a trail of clues to Crane's whereabouts to the apartment of Aunty Greenleaf, one of the witches that makes the black-market glamours. Along the way, Bigby discovers that Crane has been embezzling money from Fabletown over the years to pay off a loan shark known as the Crooked Man. When Bigby and Snow threaten to destroy the tree she needs to make them, Greenleaf begs forgiveness and points the two back to Georgie's club. Storming the club, they find Crane trying to hide in the back. Snow realizes Crane's actions are not that of a murderer, and the two convince Crane to return for questioning. En route, they are stopped by the Crooked Man and his agents, the Tweedles and Bloody Mary. Mary and the Tweedles goad Bigby into his werewolf form, and a fight breaks out. When Mary critically wounds Bigby with a silver bullet, Snow steps in to stop the fight and willingly gives up Crane.

Back at the Woodlands, Bigby is healed and is struggling to find clues when Nerissa appears. He realizes the ribbon she wears prevents her from speaking the truth, that Faith wore an identical ribbon, and that Faith died when the ribbon was removed. He follows another trail of clues, and finds evidence of the black-market glamour ring in the Cut Above butcher shop, a pawn shop called the Lucky Pawn where the Crooked Man distributes his loans to Fables owned by Jersey Devil, another henchman of the Crooked Man, and Crane's presence, as well as the missing Mirror Shard. The Mirror reveals Mary putting Crane onto an overseas flight to keep him from talking, as well as the next location of the door to the Crooked Man's realm, which moves around the city.

Bigby enters the Crooked Man's realm alone, meeting him and his agents. The Crooked Man explains that the situation is all a misunderstanding by Georgie, who had only been asked to deal with an internal problem, but Georgie asserts the Crooked Man told him to kill the women. A fight ensues and ends with the Crooked Man escaping, and a fatally stabbed Georgie fleeing with Vivian. When Bigby tracks Vivian to the Club, she explains that the Crooked Man and Georgie were acting to stop a plot spearheaded by Faith with the other prostitutes. Vivian is revealed to be the girl with the ribbon around her neck and, having made copies of her ribbon, trapped women like Faith, Lily, and Nerissa for Georgie whilst guaranteeing their silence. Regretting her actions, Vivian undoes her ribbon, breaking the spell but severing her head.

Bigby then finds the Crooked Man's hideout and, after killing Bloody Mary, corners him in an office, where he demands a fair trial at the Woodlands. Bigby returns to the Witching Well at the Business Office to recount events to the assembled Fables of Woodlands, where he and Snow are forced to defend their actions against claims from the Fables. Bigby recounts Vivian's and Georgie's confessions regarding the Crooked Man's involvement, but his word is deemed untrustworthy. Nerissa appears and testifies that she and five other women heard the Crooked Man order the murders. Their testimonies are considered sufficient to believe what Bigby did was right.

In the epilogue, Snow and Bluebeard deal with the fallout of the Crooked Man's actions, while Bigby sees off those Fables being taken back to the Farm. Afterward, he encounters Nerissa, who is moving on with her life. She admits that Faith concocted a plan with Lily, Nerissa, and the other prostitutes to blackmail Georgie and the Crooked Man for their freedom, using a picture of Lily and Crane together, but Georgie killed Faith when he discovered their plot. Nerissa left Faith's head at the Woodlands to get Bigby involved, and gave false testimony to have the Crooked Man punished, knowing that he was the one who ordered their deaths. Leaving, she comments Bigby is not as bad everyone says he is, causing Bigby to recall Faith said the same before her death. Several past conversations with Faith and Nerissa, regarding the use of glamours play out in Bigby's head, leading him to question the true identity of Nerissa.

Episodes[edit]

Episodic releases for the Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, OS X and PlayStation 3 platforms were released near-simultaneously within the same week; the iOS and PlayStation Vita episodic releases are expected to trail these by about a month or so.

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"Faith"Nick Herman & Dennis LenartPierre Shorette, Ryan KaufmannOctober 11, 2013 (2013-10-11)
The first murder of a Fable in several years leads Bigby on the trail of a killer.
2"Smoke and Mirrors"Jason LatinoDave Grossman, Adam Hines & Nicole Martinez, Joe PinneyFebruary 4, 2014 (2014-02-04)
Bigby continues investigating for the now 'serial killer' walking the streets of Fabletown. He also attempts to find answers from Faith's pimp: Georgie Porgie, and becomes more involved with Beauty and Beast's affairs.
3"A Crooked Mile"Martin MontgomeryAdam Hines & Nicole Martinez, Joe Pinney, John Drake, Ryan KaufmannApril 8, 2014 (2014-04-08)
Following a shocking revelation, Bigby pursues Ichabod Crane, who is now in hiding.
4"In Sheep's Clothing"Kent MudleDan Martin, Aaron CasillasMay 27, 2014 (2014-05-27)[30]
Bigby must delve into the criminal underworld to find the Crooked Man.
5"Cry Wolf"Vahram AntonianNicole Martinez & Adam Hines, Kendall Davis, Joe PinneyJuly 8, 2014 (2014-07-08)[31]
Secrets are revealed and decisions are made as Bigby squares off against the Crooked Man, facing off against his deadliest agent, Bloody Mary and learns the full truth about his crimes against Fabletown.

Development[edit]

In 2011, Telltale Games announced that it had acquired licenses to develop video games based on two comic book series, The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman, and Fables by Bill Willingham.[32][33] This announcement came around the same time that the television series The Walking Dead became critically successful, leading to Telltale to put much of their initial focus on developing The Walking Dead property through 2011 and 2012.[34] This game was released by April 2012, and was a critical success for Telltale. With The Walking Dead shipping, the company then started working on their Fables title, but according to Telltale's Job Stauffer, they struggled with the narrative of the title over a year and a half. Stauffer said at one point, they found the game to be more of a comedy, but without much humorous substance and in an un-shippable state.[34] Stauffer said that their team rallied together to refocus the game, delaying it from an early 2012 release[35] to late 2012,[36] and ultimately to October 2013 when it finally shipped.[37][1] This did allow for Telltale to incorporate mechanics that had proven successful in The Walking Dead into their Fables game.[38]

Due to these delays, Telltale re-announced the Fables game at the New York Comic Con in October 2012.[39] The name The Wolf Among Us was revealed in February 2013, and is based on the main character Bigby Wolf.[12] [38]

The game was initially released across five episodes between October 2013 and July 2014 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 platform. Releases for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles were announced in May 2014 with release at a later date, along with retail versions of the game for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles.[40]

Canceled sequel[edit]

When The Wolf Among Us was completed by July 2014, Telltale had thought of doing a second season, but they had already committed to the projects leading to Tales from the Borderlands, Minecraft: Story Mode, and Game of Thrones.[34] The company has been aware of strong interest in a second season through the intervening years, and they have been looking for the right time to develop it.[34]

A second yet-to-be-named season was announced during the July 2017 San Diego Comic Con, and was original set to premiere in 2018 for personal computers, consoles, and mobile devices. Both Harrington and Yvette were to return to voice Bigby and Snow White, respectively.[41] Stauffer said that Season Two would not resolve the apparent cliffhanger related to Nerissa's connection to Faith; he said that it was meant to be ending similar to a film noir work that made the viewer think about the implications, but never saw this themselves as a cliffhanger. Instead, Season 2 would have continued on with more narrative related to Bigby and Snow White.[42] By May 2018, Telltale announced that due to recent internal studio issues, they had to push back the release of the sequel until 2019.[43] The sequel was later cancelled as Telltale had a majority studio closure in September 2018 due to "insurmountable challenges", cancelling The Wolf Among Us's second season among other projects in development.[44]

Reception[edit]

Aggregate review scores
Game GameRankings Metacritic
The Wolf Among Us (PS3) 87%[45] (PS4) 83/100[46]
(X360) 83/100[47]
(PC) 80/100[48]
Episode 1 – Faith (PS3) 85/100[49]
(PC) 85/100[50]
(iOS) 83/100[51]
(X360) 82/100[52]
Episode 2 – Smoke and Mirrors (PS3) 82/100[53]
(PC) 76/100[54]
(X360) 73/100[55]
Episode 3 – A Crooked Mile (PS3) 82/100[56]
(PC) 82/100[57]
(X360) 77/100[58]
Episode 4 – In Sheep's Clothing (PC) 75/100[59]
(X360) 74/100[60]
(PS3) 69/100[61]
Episode 5 – Cry Wolf (X360) 85/100[62]
(PC) 84/100[63]
(PS3) 75/100[64]

The Wolf Among Us has received mostly positive reviews from critics. Praise was given to the game's story, action sequences, atmosphere, visual style and faithfulness to the source material while criticism was focused on its pacing and technical issues.

Episode 1 – Faith[edit]

Episode 1 – Faith received positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator website Metacritic gave the PlayStation 3 version 85/100,[49] the PC version 85/100,[50] and the Xbox 360 version 82/100.[52]

Episode 2 – Smoke and Mirrors[edit]

Episode 2 – Smoke and Mirrors received mixed to positive reviews from critics. Metacritic gave the PlayStation 3 version 82/100,[53] the PC version 76/100,[54] and the Xbox 360 version 73/100.[55]

Episode 3 – A Crooked Mile[edit]

Episode 3 – A Crooked Mile received positive reviews. Metacritic gave the PlayStation 3 version 82/100,[56] the PC version 82/100,[57] and the Xbox 360 version 77/100.[58]

Episode 4 – In Sheep's Clothing[edit]

Episode 4 – In Sheep's Clothing received mixed to positive reviews from critics. Metacritic gave the PC version 75/100,[59] the Xbox 360 version 74/100,[60] and the PlayStation 3 version 69/100.[61]

Episode 5 – Cry Wolf[edit]

Episode 5 – Cry Wolf received positive reviews from critics. Metacritic gave the PC version 84/100,[63] the Xbox 360 version 85/100,[62] and the PlayStation 3 version 75/100.[64]

Awards[edit]

The series was nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Story and Adventure Game of the Year for the 18th Annual D.I.C.E. Awards by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences.[65]

The series was nominated for two 2014 BAFTA Games Awards for Story and Performer (Adam Harrington as Bigby Wolf), losing both to The Last of Us: Left Behind.[66]

At the 2014 National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers (NAVGTR) awards the game won Direction in a Game Cinema and received six nominations: Writing in a Drama (Pierre Shorette), Performance in a Drama, Lead (Adam Harrington), Original Dramatic Score, Franchise (Jared Emerson-Johnson), Game, Original Adventure (Joe Pinney), Camera Direction in a Game Engine (Dennis Lenart) and Art Direction, Contemporary (David Bogan).[67]

Legacy[edit]

At the 2014 New York Comic Con, Vertigo Comics announced that they will be adapting The Wolf Among Us into comic form, to be released digitally first in December 2014 and later as print comic. The story was adapted for the comic by Matthew Sturges, who has previously written for the Fables series, and Dave Justus, staying otherwise true to the game's story but exploring some of the characters and back story in more depth.[68][69] The comic has since been completed.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]