Go Below Bedrock in the New Story Mode Ep!
Telltale designer Juan Vaca takes us on a trip to Story Mode’s Underneath
The fourth episode of Minecraft: Story Mode - Season 2 is now available for download! Go get it! Or read our behind-the-scenes interview below! Or both! It's all cool with us! You do as you do, buddy.
There are many ways to enjoy Minecraft: you can play as a builder, an adventurer, an artist - you can even use Minecraft as a space to just casually socialise with friends. There’s really no wrong way to play! But how do these different types of players interact? And what kind of conflicts might emerge if they stopped getting along?
In the fourth episode, the team at Telltale Games wanted to explore these questions. To do that, they played hours and hours of Minecraft together and ended up creating some of the series’ most interesting characters in the process.
In order to learn more about episode four’s powerful trio of Admins (plus the episode’s unique subterranean setting, known as The Underneath), we reached out to Telltale designer Juan Vaca, who helped craft a lot of the wild, wonderful, and impactful moments you’ll encounter in the latest episode, Below the Bedrock. Check out his answers below the trailer - but be wary of spoilers if you haven't played the season yet!
So the Underneath is below bedrock, but as we all know, there’s nothing below bedrock. What was it like designing a new world that bends some fundamental rules of Minecraft?
Juan: We knew from the beginning that going into the Underneath meant telling the story of a forgotten world. We wanted Jesse to explore the landscape, learn the history of the world, and feel what it’s like to live down here in the aftermath of the fallout between the Admin and his friends.
There is no wrong way to play Minecraft, and we wanted the world to reflect three friends growing apart due to their opposing lifestyles. We wanted to represent some of the various ways people play Minecraft and make our players feel like they can identify with at least one of those playstyles.
So tell us about the Admin characters.
Romeo, Xara, and Fred were friends; they even lived together! We wanted their friendship to feel like they started to grow apart and created new homes and towns in their own visions.
Romeo is an adventurer who selfishly wants to be the best and thinks that combat is the only way to achieve merit. It was important that his town, Romeoburg, reflected his ambitious warrior spirit and attracted citizens looking to challenge themselves in battle.
Xara is a masterful engineer, so she was focused on interacting with the world by crafting complicated machinery. Xara’s town, The Oasis, needed to represent all the marvels that she was once capable of building.
Fred was a socializer. He enjoyed sharing his time with the people of his world. We wanted to make sure Fred’s Keep was a safe town where the focus was on community.
How did you make those communities feel real?
That was important to us - so we brought our personal Minecraft experiences into the story. Early on in the creative process, the lead writer for this episode, Nicole Martinez, and I played Minecraft on our work server. There was a lake where other members of the Story Mode team lived, so we partnered up, shared resources, and added our homes to the neighborhood.
The emergent stories that we had from playing together inspired some moments in game, like the time Nicole’s pet chicken went missing. We wanted there to be a parallel between our server, Jesse’s world, and the Admin’s Underneath. We wanted players to feel familiar in a new setting.
How will you see this play out in Episode 4?
At its core, this is a story about friendship and the world we build with our friends. The Underneath is destroyed, covered in darkness, and it represents the gruesome end of the Admins’ friendship. We built the environment to reflect the damage that Romeo left behind.
The Underneath also provides a foreshadowing of what could happen to Beacontown when Jesse and friends have their relationships tested, but we’ll leave those worldly decisions up to the players.
How will YOU handle your friendships and the fate of Beacontown? There's only one way to find out! Go grab the latest episode nooooooooow!