Back to the Future: The Game First Look

Telltale Games continues the time-traveling adventure in this new episodic series for the PC and the PlayStation 3.


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Telltale Games announced a while back that it was collaborating with Bob Gale, the cocreator/cowriter of the Back to the Future movies, to create an episodic series that takes place shortly after the events of the last movie. Using its signature storytelling capabilities, Telltale has created Back to the Future: The Game, a traditional point-and-click adventure as well as a cinematic experience. Aimed at fans of the genre as well as Back to the Future buffs, the game will feature Christopher Lloyd, who reprises his role as Doc Brown, and actor AJ LoCascio, who does an excellent job of reenacting Michael J. Fox's character, Marty McFly.

The doc and Marty, as they were in 1985.
The doc and Marty, as they were in 1985.

Andy Hartzell, the writer of the game, stopped by to show us the intro cinematic, which gives a good idea of how the story will pan out. Without giving away too much of the story's beginning, the game is set six months after Marty has returned from 1885, and the bank has foreclosed on the doc's home. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the DeLorean appears in the driveway with Einstein and a taped message from Doc Brown asking for help. All we know for now is that there will be some time traveling involved and that you will need to head back to the Prohibition era to rescue him. Along the way you'll also encounter the teenage version of Emmett Brown (voiced by James Arnold Taylor) and, of course, a member of the Tannen family, Kid Tannen (Biff's father).

The game will play very much like Tales of Monkey Island, where you are free to roam around the environment, clicking on objects of interest and talking to anyone and everyone. There are different dialogue trees to choose from, but the game is linear, so no matter what you choose, it's not going to change anything drastically, but it's funny to hear the various responses. The game is meant to be simple and accessible, especially to potential newcomers who are fans of the movie. A built-in three-tiered hint system is included, where if you spend a bit of time circling around, the game will gently nudge you in the right direction. If for some reason the goal still hasn't gotten through to you, you can get clues and, eventually, a straightforward answer.

Telltale works up until the last minute for each release, so the build we saw still needed some finishing touches before being shipped. However, the opening sequence looked and sounded great, and for anyone who has seen the movies, it will take you back to 1985. You'll also notice how much the main characters resemble the real actors back in the day--with a certain Telltale art style--as the developer got permission to use Fox's and Lloyd's likenesses in the game.

"Great Scott!"

Back to the Future: The Game will have five episodes. You can preorder the full season at Telltale's site for $24.95, which will include a free copy of Puzzle Agent, and part of the proceeds from your purchase will be donated to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's disease. The game will be available on the PC/Mac on December 22 and will come to the PS3 and iPad shortly after.

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