While Minecraft ostensibly lacks narrative of any kind, there is a progression of challenges and areas for players to unlock, and Minecraft: Story Mode makes full use of these in order to structure its story. Oswalt plays protagonist Jesse, whom the player will control over the five episodes. Jesse and his friends revere a group of legendary heroes called the Order of the Stone, who slayed an Ender Dragon, which is essentially the “final boss” of Minecraft as the greatest challenge currently within the game. The Order comprises four heroes that embody the different areas of Minecraft: a Warrior, a Redstone Engineer, an Architect, and — most curiously — a Griefer. While at a gathering called EnderCon, Jesse and his friends discover something terrible, and set out on a quest to find the Order and save the world.
Visually, Minecraft: Story Mode appears to be built entirely in Minecraft‘s engine, but more animated detail has been added to the faces for the sake of dialogue and a greater range of expression. The story will take characters to Minecraft‘s alternate dimensions, including the Nether, the Farlands, and the End. It also wouldn’t be Minecraft if there wasn’t a bit of crafting involved, which the trailer shows of in its opening moments as a woman teaches Jesse how to create a stone sword, which is one of the earlier items any player forges in the game after setting up their crafting table.
Telltale’s episodic adventure games thus far, such as The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, have all started with story-driven properties. Even Tales from the Borderlands, which also takes another game as its inspiration, is drawing from a source that already has named people and places and a story. Minecraft, as an open-ended non-narrative sandbox game, is a real departure then, giving Telltale unprecedented freedom to build their own fiction.
There is no release date yet, but given Telltale’s usual announcement patterns, we can expect a date for episode one to follow not too long after this trailer. Minecraft: Story Mode will come soon to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC, Mac, iOS, and Android.