Everything and everyone in The Wolf Among Us is mired in a deep ambiguity.
When The Wolf Among Us released way back in 2013, it was scarcely without fanfare. Earning much praise from critics, the Telltale game series went on to gain something of a cult following.
After a cliff-hanger ending to the fifth episode, everyone assumed that, like Telltale’s The Walking Dead, a second season was on the way.
Yet, nearly four years on, a sequel season is nowhere in sight. Worse still, Telltale has since gone on to release new episodic games. And many of these have had multiple sequels as well.
Game of Thrones is due a second season, and Walking Dead has had a third. Meanwhile, properties like Guardians of the Galaxy and Batman have also made their way to the Telltale games.
Out of all of these, however, none have quite matched the brilliance of 2013’s The Wolf Among Us.
With the game still widely available, let’s break down why you should play The Wolf Among Us if you haven’t already, and why Telltale should make a sequel.
Like all Telltale games, The Wolf Among Us is a point-and-click adventure game. You walk your protagonist across various sets and scenes. In these, you interact with different objects and converse with different people to drive the narrative forward. Yet unlike many Telltale games, The Wolf Among Us had a highly distinctive style in going about this.
With a noir overtone, The Wolf Among Us oozes atmosphere. Neon lights punctuate the night-time setting of the episodes. The title sequence features a synth-soundtrack straight out of the 1980s. Protagonist Bigby Wolf walks the shadowy streets, lit only be the pink neon and the embers of his cigarette.
This presentation of the game really accentuates the violence and the deception at the heart of the story. More than that, though, it also means the game sticks with you long after you’ve played it.
Dark, moody, and with an ’80s retro edge. The Wolf Among Us remains not just Telltale’s most iconic games, but one of the most iconic games period. Just listen to the opening theme to hear it for yourself the kind of atmosphere that this game creates.
As important as its style, however, is The Wolf Among Us’ setting. Based off a long-running comic-book series, The Wolf Among Us features a universe where fairy-tale characters exist in the real-world.
Yet far from being who they were in the stories we know, these versions have been weathered and hardened by exile, and all around changed by the modern world.
That means you have famous characters like Snow White working the bureaucracy of the safe haven these characters have carved out for themselves. Or the likes of Bigby Wolf – AKA the Big Bad Wolf – work as Fabletown’s grizzled and feared sheriff-detective.
There are others still. Like Colin of the Three Little Pigs, Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, and then plenty more who should be kept as surprises.
All things considered, it’s a fantastic premise. It makes every conversation and every new character something interesting and engaging. Given the conversation-driven focus of the gameplay, this is something hugely vital.
No Telltale game since has enjoyed such an intriguing setting. And the fact that the five original episodes only scratched the surface of what characters could be used – keeping mostly to Western fairy-tale characters – makes a second season and a greater exploration of this world all the more needed.
To back up this premise, The Wolf Among Us also features a fantastic story. To be fair, most Telltale games feature a similarly strong central narrative. Yet few have married the gameplay and the premise quite so well as The Wolf Among Us did.
Working with its noir overtone, the game revolves around a murder mystery. This gives the conversations driven by the player, and the general exploration, even greater significance. You’re not only learning more about the world and the characters. You’re also trying to figure out who’s the culprit in the game’s mystery.
Yet as the episodes progress, things spiral and spiral. There are plenty of surprises in store. By the end of the five episodes, you’ll have seen a very human, very tragic tale in which player choices can thrive.
As in all the best stories, there are few good or bad characters, nor any good or bad causes. Everything and everyone is mired in a deep ambiguity that makes choices so much harder and so much more engaging.
Telltale are of course well-known for their tough choices. Yet The Wolf Among Us, with its murder mystery narrative and its carefully constructed central conflict, took this to a whole new level.
The Search for a Sequel
Safe to say, then, that four years on The Wolf Among Us still holds up. The fact that this relatively small game released to such success in the same year as heavyweights like The Last of Us is highly significant.
Yet a sequel season remains in limbo. Perhaps the first didn’t sell well enough. Or perhaps Telltale have become fixated on the bigger licences like Batman or Guardians, but either way, a second season of The Wolf Among Us still seems way off, if not entirely unlikely.
This is a travesty worthy of the now infamously delayed Half-Life 3. On so many levels is The Wolf Among Us one of the best games to ever be released, let alone a Telltale game. With more and more new Telltale franchises being announced, it’s high-time they returned to the peak that they have yet to reach again.
If you missed out on The Wolf Among Us the first time round, or want to pass the time waiting for a second season, you can buy the first season on a number of platforms.
All episodes have been released for iOS. More recently a port is available for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One systems. Costing far less than any usual Triple-A release, despite exceeding most in quality, it is a huge bargain and needs to be played by all.