Minecraft: Story Mode brings narrative to the world of blocks

Mojang, the developers of the tremendously popular sandbox video game Minecraft, have partnered with studio Telltale Games to produce a spinoff titled Minecraft: Story Mode. Story Mode will be released in episodic format starting next year.

Lucas Jackson/Reuters/File
Mojang, the studio behind Minecraft, will partner with Telltale Games to produce a narrative-driven spinoff game. Here, a child dressed as Steve, the protagonist of Minecraft, walks to school with his mother.

Since 2009, Minecraft’s main character, nicknamed Steve, has been silently shaping the landscape of countless worlds into treehouses, skyscrapers, battleships, and more.

But soon he’ll find himself in an entirely different kind of world – one driven by stories.

Minecraft creator Mojang is collaborating with Telltale Games, the video game studio famous for episodic games such as The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, on a Minecraft spinoff titled Minecraft: Story Mode.

The game will be released in episodes in 2015, and will be available for Xbox and PlayStation consoles as well as PCs, Macs, iOS, and Android devices.

Mojang and Telltale say in their announcement that although Minecraft: Story Mode will be about the world of Minecraft, it isn’t meant to establish an official narrative for the game nor to explain Steve’s origins. The episodes will be influenced by player choice, and the two companies say they’re working with the player community to determine the game’s narrative.

Minecraft is a sandbox game in which players are encouraged to build anything they want using the materials around them, so the introduction of a narrative structure will be an interesting new direction for the franchise. It’s also worth noting that Telltale-produced games generally have pretty adult themes – so partnering with Mojang on a Minecraft game is a bit of a twist for the studio.

Telltale hasn’t released any in-game footage or artwork to show what Minecraft: Story Mode will look like, but Mojang did produce a short browser game called Info Quest II that contains some details about the upcoming game. Info Quest II consists of a conversation between the player and a “wild Mojangsta,” who gives information about Minecraft: Story Mode and explains why Mojang chose to collaborate with Telltale.

“Telltale’s game will feel similar in tone to Minecraft itself,” the Mojangsta says, “though it’s a totally original take, inspired by our game.” Later, the character adds, “This [game] won’t look exactly like Minecraft, but it will feel authentic in its own special way. Keen crafters won’t be disappointed.”

Minecraft has been downloaded more than 100 million times since its public release in 2009. In September, Microsoft paid $2.5 billion to acquire Mojang and Minecraft. Mojang also recently released Scrolls, a strategy video game for PC, Mac, iOS, and Android that mixes elements of board games and trading card games.

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