After its last season got pushed due to COVID-19 concerns, excitement for the return of Survivor is through the roof for many fans of reality TV. The show is a staple of the genre and has had several rebirths, with many players changing the way that the game is played season after season. While many might boil down the events of the show as simply learning how to survive in the wilderness, fans know it's about much more. Survivor is actually about strategy and how different players navigate the interpersonal relationships everyone has with the rest of their tribe.
With Survivor Season 41 just around the corner, the show has likely been on the minds of gaming enthusiasts who want a proper video game adaptation. One studio stands out when trying to decide who should make it: Telltale Games. Known for titles such as The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, and Tales From the Borderlands, Telltale has produced plenty of narrative-driven games all about player choice, specifically in dialogue, making the studio perfect for a Survivor video game adaptation.
Telltale's Relationship Building
Telltale constantly reminds players of their agency by telling them their decisions will have an impact on the story. While there aren't always a ton of game-changing decisions that players make, the important choices are all about how the player treats the game's cast of characters.
Relationship building is a huge part of what makes Telltale games work, and it's one of the best studios that places a heavy emphasis on how characters feel about the player. Despite the way they're marketed as choose-your-own-adventure-style games, Telltale's games are really about managing relationships with different characters.
That's what Survivor is all about too, managing different relationships. The classic "they will remember that" line from Telltale games could be written into every episode of Survivor as contestants are constantly referring back to the information given to them in previous days. The majority of the game would come from these sorts of conversational choices, as how well a contestant navigates conversation and relationships is often the determining factor for if they'll win the game at the final Tribal Council.
A Survivor Game's Replayability
Although Telltale games are usually structured using multiple episodes to tell their stories, the potential Survivor game would be a little bit more streamlined. Instead of taking upwards of eight hours to complete a "season" of the game, it could be done in an hour or two, with players encouraged to replay it for different results. With a cast of at least 15 different characters, the game would have plenty of replay value if done right.
The Survivor game would need to rely on having plenty of different scenarios as a result to make replays worthwhile. There are a lot of different directions that each run could go in, as evidenced by the 40 seasons of the show that all essentially stick to the same premise. There's a lot that Telltale Games could draw from to make something like this work and give Survivor a real chance in the video game world. Game adaptations of contest shows usually aren't usually well made or received, but Survivor already seems to be structured in a way that lends itself to relationship building – a gaming convention that's become more popular over the years.