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I would say Season 1's choices is far more better than Season 2.

posted by ClementineStarling on - last edited - Viewed by 1.5K users

I am sure I am going to get downvotes... ok let's cut to the chase. It's not what I am going to say that Season 2 sucks or Season 1 is way too good. First, Let's just analyse the choices:

  1. First, let's take a good look on S1E1 choices, we had to choose either to save Doug or Carley, there are good reasons to save them both but unfortunately only one will live and one will die. One hell of a tough choice, but still, I like it.

  2. There's a choice when either you have to kill the dog or leave him in All That Remains, most of the players kill the dog to end his suffering. I getting for downvote.. -.- This choice isn't very nice, I mean, how can I say this is a touch choice?

  3. Saving Ben or not, this one is good also! Choosing to sit with Luke or Kenny is also a tough choice. Both seasons' storyline are nice, but choices.. Season 2 disappointed not exactly.

I don't give a fuck even if I get millions of downvotes, just sharing my opinion, I don't think Season 2 has a lot of tough choices.

79 Comments
  • I really like season 2 but i know what you mean. The only choice that hit me hard was deciding which table to sit at :'D

  • Also in season one your choices had a bigger effect. Remember Lee can help smash Larry's head in or he can try to save him, thus leading to Kenny or Lily not having your back depending on your choice. In season 2 that was a hard choice for which table to sit at, but the characters don't seem to remember your choices as much as they did in season 1.

  • Guys, lets just face facts. Sean Vanaman leaving took a big toll on Telltale.

  • Far more better: when something is so much better, that "far better" is just not enough.

  • Nick or Pete was a hard choice too, but i see what you mean. I hope cutting or leaving Sarita's arm choice doesn't end in a ''She dies either way'' scenario.

  • I agree with most of this, but can't we just wait til' the season is over to judge it? Still 2-3 hours of gameplay left.

  • Yeah. I understand that feeling. Maybe next episodes will have tougher choices? Because, you know, Sarah and all that situation. We'll see.

  • You mean that the choices affect more at season 1 than season 2, right? Because Doug or Carley wasn´t really a tough choice: While Doug is a cool, stable, tech-expert person, Carley is skilled with firearms, saved Duck´s and Lee´s lives( or Clementine´s, if you didn´t defended her from the walker from the bathroom ), kept the game open about knowing your dark past, not judging you by it neither holding it to use against you( unlike Larry ), and lastly, well... she is a pretty lady. Saved Carley was 70% to 80% the last time i saw. However it created pretty different branches for episode 2 and for the start of the episode 3. The choices of season 2 doesn´t seem to have these long-term effects... most of the tough choices of S2E3, like trusting Bonnie or admitting stealing the walkie-talkie( S2E2´s choice about telling Walter the truth is a good example too), didn´t matter at all... didn´t even have short-term effects and i doubt they will come up later at episode 4 or 5.

  • What Telltale could do is make choices that are equally difficult or more affecting to the game's story. Killing or leaving the dog... Choosing to confront Walter about Matthew... Watching Carver get beaten or not... These choices aren't that difficult or important to the story.

    If it was Season 1, the first choice would've been like, meeting the dog and choosing whether to keep him with you or leave him behind, which both can have repercussions and add dynamics to the story. The next choice would've been Walter and Nick fighting and Clem having the choice who to defend, which ultimately kills one of them by accident, or choose to stop the fight. And lastly, the third choice would've been to either tie Carver up, let Clem kill him, or let Kenny kill him. And depending on how evil your Clem is, you can secretly give Carver something sharp to cut himself free before leaving, if you chose to tie him up, adding new dynamics to the story.

  • You guys still don't get it why they're playing loose and fragile with characters and choices in Season 2, Do you?

    • It has to do with the plot and the overall writing. In Season 1, there was a focus on survival and getting Clementine to her parents with a lot of tough choices & drama associated with it. Now in Season 2, the plot is downplayed and is more focused on drama than survival or meaningful decision making.

    • I still fail to see why we should be happy that a game which emphasizes group dynamics, choice and consequence (or at least the illusion of those) lacks said elements.

      • Because it'll all matter in the ending of a >90 minute episode.

        Right guys?

      • If you see it from that way, Then you're right. But there's a huge difference between fiction for entertainment, And thematic fiction. That's the transformation that happened to the walking dead from Season 1 to Season 2. Thematic fiction needs someone who's paying much attention to the game, Automatically analyzing every aspect of it.

        It's not about being happy about it, It's about explaining why are things in this such way. If you keep seeing it from the superficial version of that choices aren't difficult, ... Etc, You won't see its beauty.

        • ...I wish a guy I know was here to counter that, I'm at a loss of words.

          What must that elite of fiction fans see in Season Two?

          • Decent atmosphere, And a strong protagonist. Also, Reasonable progress of the protagonist. That's where the complains begin, Less characters development and so on. But if you see it for the Dev's point, You won't see any problem about that, they're just portraying ideas right now to give Clementine a choice to start creating her own identity. If you focus on the big picture, There're only minor problems, Like the lack of a decent and new gameplay. They have stated that they want to do something new and different rather than doing puzzles, So why not using 201's stealth as much? It was used in 203 a bit, But doesn't have the same feeling as 201.

          • Also, I don't think I'm some kind of an elite gamer or something, I just have an opinion, by that opinion respects and deeply analyzes the dev team's "Artistic Integrity".

            Speaking of which, I thought Mass Effect 3 had the same problem as TWDG season 2, But this time I was wrong, Weak atmosphere, Pointless and full of plot-holes plot-twist that doesn't need to exist, Shitty last mission of heavy head-cannoning, ... Etc.

            • Also, I don't think I'm some kind of an elite gamer or something, I just have an opinion,

              Sure, sorry about that, but the wording of that post could be interpreted as you deeming a lot of this community's critical views as "incorrect".

              I just have an opinion, by that opinion respects and deeply analyzes the dev team's "Artistic Integrity".

              I still think that the dev team can have a vision, but just because it's theirs it does not mean it is immune to criticism or scrutiny by the people they are presenting that realized vision to.

              • Yes, As an aspiring director, You have to be open to criticism, But not all criticisms of the fans are valid. If you read a valid criticism and thought it was correct as a game dev, Then apply it. If you don't, Make a statement about it in order to clear things up with the fans, To give them closure. The way gaming companies handle controversies nowadays is very poor and makes people very upset, Specially, The godforsaken EA.

        • As a game design major myself, it's ttg's responsibility to manage both. If you make the worlds best thematic story but forget gameplay and the player, it should have been a movie. The unique thing about games as art is the interactivity and immersion... and if a creative decision like Clem being ineffectual and distant does not come through in the tone or feel of a game, then quite simply they did it poorly. It is not that the majority of fans are not good enough to understand Telltale's work... it is the responsibility of the storyteller to convey the story to the listener/reader/viewer/player. It says less about TTG's developing skills than simply not making a better game than S1 to say that they have all these things in mind and simply could not execute on conveying it...

          Past that, your theory would hold more weight if it honestly felt like Clem got less of a say in the group - it is not so. Clem still gets to decide a whole lot for the group, is given every important task, is expected to take care of other characters (take care of Nick, Sarah, Alvin, Rebecca's child, etc), and is included in every major decision the group makes. The thing that's MISSING is people reacting to Clem as a person, developing a relationship with her, starting friendships and rivalries over the choices that she DOES make. If it were true that they were trying to make you feel like a child, it would be reversed - people would develop opinions of you and react to you, but not involve you in the important things.

          I am very happy for you that you are enjoying some of the thematic elements and decisions in TWD S2. I assure you, I see them all as well. I would disagree that they were not there in S1, and I would disagree that S2 is particularly strong thematically in my opinion. But as a game, it is not doing its JOB to make us feel helpless and young. You want to feel like a young child in a horror game? Play Fatal Frame 2. Do you want to feel "Your choices don't matter for a REASON" done right? Valkyrie Profile, SMT Nocturne, Spec Ops The Line, etc. There are many many many games out there that have tackled helplessness, directionlessness, being at the mercy of powers greater than yourself, and instead of segregating the themes from the gameplay and sacrificing a fulfilling and satisfying experience for the sake of the writing, the developers used the gameplay to make the entire experience resonate and make you FEEL what the writing is trying to say instead of showing or telling it.

          Gameplay is the only thing that can bridge the gap between a character being a person you like and a person being your /friend/, or a protagonist being the main character and sympathetic and the character feeling like YOU at the end. If they don't keep that end up, the whole ship sinks and it might as well have been a miniseries. Just my opinion.

          • I like you. I like how your thoughts are organized, I like to have such a conversation, A decent one about our opinions. Storyline is the top priority, Telltale is still evolving into a major player, So it needs more time to develop all aspects. Gameplay needs more work, But Storyline for me takes the top priority and S1 was thematic, But it was about a world falling apart, In S2, It's about a new world, A world of the Apocalypse, A completely new setting. The camp group only accepted Clem's help because they had no other choice. They still under-estimate her. Proof? When Carlos said, Quite Clementine, The adults are talking in 203. I believe in something strongly, As an aspiring director, It's a fool play to look for what people think rather than sticking to your ingenuity. However, Your world needs to be explained via the very tiny details in order to make the player feel it that way. You don't have to "Change" something because fans demand it if you're not convinced that it's wrong. And actually, You're the one in charge as Clem and everyone sees you as enigma. I'm talking about that choices in season 2 doesn't carry a moral theme, Nor does it has a big impact because the group are already determined on what they will do regardless of your opinion. Already proven before. After Jane appeared, I figured out that TTG might just do as I think about Survivalists vs Community.

            • Thank you, I like you too.

              I understand that Telltale is still growing and establishing itself as a developer. But it's all about trajectory to me. I am more willing to forgive large faults in a game if it shows improvement and learning. You mentioned Mass Effect earlier - Mass Effect 1 was deeply flawed, Mass Effect 2 was also flawed but showed improvement. Seeing the general tendency of a studio to be towards better things is encouraging. Season 1 excited me for TTG, because it showed such massive improvement in so many areas from Tales of Monkey Island, the only other TT game I've played. I was hoping to see further improvement, I see S2 as a step back. So I judge it harshly, in the hopes that the opinion of myself and the rest of the fine people on the forum put them back on a better path. I don't think anyone made an account here because they don't want Telltale to do well.

              I agree - S1 was about adapting, about the old world dying and adults changing to try to match it. S2 is very much like a rebirth or genesis - Clementine, when she is an adult, will have only the faintest memories of pre-apocalypse. We're seeing on a very small scale what world exactly we as players are trying to shape. I can appreciate it. The "not difficult" choices are often just litmus testing who you are as a person. My problem with this is that I can only see the attempt to build a game about this, they are not successful this time, unfortunately. If you do not make a player feel desperate, in danger, frightened, hardened, etc... a survivalist vs. community choice will not be difficult, dividing, even indicative of who you are as a person. How much Clem is like your actual response to a ZA depends almost entirely upon the players imagination - the game does not feel like a struggle for survival, it feels (please excuse how harsh this will sound) like a zombie theme park comparatively.

              I don't know if you have played it, but IMO Bioshock Infinite suffered from a very similar problem in the first act. You cannot learn to care, truly CARE, about a world that ultimately feels like a set. You can't truly care about characters that FEEL like plot devices. You can't truly step into the shoes of a protagonist and mold her in your image or to your ideals if you can't even begin to understand past basic plot comprehension and animated brutality how HARD the world has gotten. S2 does not feel hard, or desperate, or like a big scary world that's just waiting to put us in a shallow grave. That's how it needs to get to have insignificant choices feel weighty, to have it be even viable for the "darker" choices to get anyone choosing it on a first playthrough instead of just seeing what would happen. Clem is being developed right now, and the plot is trying to be tense and push her to the breaking point, but without gameplay integration the feeling is not there.

              Moving on, I agree that it is not a good idea to take fan suggestions at face value. Very few fans who do not themselves create can understand exactly what is bothering them about a particular game... they can say that it is short episodes, or no hubs, or bad choices, but the truth is that if what was given to them was simply better done they might not even miss the hubs or want contextually harder choices. I personally am always for more player involvement, more gameplay, less cutscenes in all games... I someday hope to see an industry where cutscenes only barely exist, because to me the second you flip to a cutscene, the player disconnects... the controller gets put down, they start looking around the room... you lose them. But do I think that Telltale's BIGGEST problem is 90 minute episodes and no hubs? No. I think Telltale's problem is much deeper and much harder to explain why it's so wrong... but when you have a bunch of dedicated fans saying "This is not good enough!" You need to listen to that. Maybe ignore exactly what they ask for, but acknowledge that you are failing to reach them with your current gameplan and re-examine. Telltale staff might be doing that right now.

              Just to wrap this up and be clear because I fear I'll be misunderstood by at least some : When I say a game is not scary enough, I am not asking for more brutality or more intense situations... you say you're an aspiring director - film? Then maybe this will convey my meaning... There is a difference between filming a suspense movie with a single camera following the protagonist around as they act scared and actually using the cinematography, writing, timing, music, acting, etc to create an atmosphere of dread. You can make people cringe without a drop of blood or even a villain. Look at Amnesia : The Dark Descent. There are (IIRC) only two enemies in that entire game that can actually hurt you, but before you figure that out you are all nerves and tension... because they set the stage well.

              • I'm aspiring to be the first Film/Videogames crossover director. xD

                You mentioned Mass Effect earlier - Mass Effect 1 was deeply flawed, Mass Effect 2 was also flawed but showed improvement.

                Y U HURT MY FEELIGNS?! xD

                Seriously now, Mass Effect trilogy is my favorite franchise of all times. Mass Effect 1 had gameplay flaws, That's all. mass Effect 2 had minor flaws. Though, I prefer ME1. Mass Effect 3 is a whole another issue. I'm personally launching a project to fix its flaws because Mass Effect deserves better. But not much of the community are helping me, About less than 1%. It proves that the ending controversy was right, But exploded for the wrong reasons.

                Mass Effect aside, We can speak all damn day while it will revolves that Gameplay is the only missing element. You've said it yourself they are starting to build a tense environment, They started off as If you were into the unknown. I believe you'll finally get to interact and control the fate of many of the camp group in Amid the Ruins to pave the way for my theory. I might be wrong though, I'm not sure.

                Verdict: TTG's handling of the characters as plot devices is reasonable. However, I agree with you on the gameplay issue.

                Regarding BioShock Infinite, I hate it so damn much. I never got to play it, But The ending and plot were spoiled to me and I hated them so damn much. I see it as an improved copy of Mass Effect 3 ending.

                PS: Try to summarize your comments. :P Just kidding.

                • I have long comments because I want to be clear. You can feel free to skim if you want.

                  I also really like the Mass Effect franchise - saying something was very flawed is not the same as saying I hate it. There was a lot of problems both in gameplay and in structure of the original, most of them were fixed in ME2. That was what I was getting at.

                  I don't agree that gameplay is the "only missing element", in that it implies that it is otherwise acceptable. Saying that gameplay is the only element missing from a game is like handing me a bowl of mush and saying that it's a perfect cake, just needs flour and an oven... but I digress. I don't think we'll agree anytime soon, and I'm okay with it.

                  There is a lot to hate about Bioshock Infinite, and I have played it. I don't really see a similarity to the Mass Effect 3 ending except for the "all powerful deity" twist on it, but I think it was just a generally confused half baked game that very clearly went under extensive rewrites and never quite recovered. Mass Effect 3 is just a group of humans failing to tie together all the loose ends they needed to. The ending in particular was offensively poor, but the entire game was very lacking altogether. It's like trying to finish a painting, if you didn't have the end in mind when you started it will be hard to have it fit together perfectly.

                  • I was just kidding about your comments.

                    The story of mass effect 1 is perfect! The atmosphere was jaw-dropping to me, But i depends on the person playing it.

                    I'm just trying to summarize it, Because it will all end up to the same conclusion that the story isn't bad. Will differ from one person to another, But it wasn't bad.

                    The similarity is that they both created a world in which the rules are so bent that they can't hold it together and make sense. The reason of the many flaws of ME3 wasn't that it was rushed. Or as I believe. Many of the original ME staff and ME2 staff left. Including a key element of mass effect, Drew Karpyshyn. Mac Walter, The guy who was writing Side-Missions in ME1, Got grip of the the lead writing completely. In ME2, Mac Walters was the lead as well, But it's assumed that Drew was in charge of the human reaper. His shitty talent as a lead writer has been revealed. Actually, The document that was leaked about Dark Energy ending had the same three ending choices of Mass Effect 3. The plot was different, Still weak, But acceptable. It was their main idea to create a heavily open ending in ME3 even with the dark energy ending. However, I believe in Mass Effect as an atmospheric and thematic world, An alternative universe sorta of speak. That's what I'm trying to create in a new ending. And then add it to the game as an unofficial DLC. Still lacking technical staff, have only 1 dev and he's rookie, I don't think he can handle it. but Ii will pull it off, I'm sure. Probably gonna be launched around mid-late 2015.

                    • Good luck to you! If I had the time and already had my degree, I would offer some help, but alas I couldn't even if I wanted to.

                      The story (as in the literal written script) of ME1 is very strong, I agree. The actual structure of the game in telling the story has its flaws.. there were many times where they just did not present the story that they had written in the best possible way. I personally think that the choice to have a more structured order to the story missions in the second game, for example, was a good decision. Freedom is important, and the side missions were good if a bit repetitive in the first, but there was so much lost in making it so every combination of story missions together made sense. To be very specific, requiring you to find Liara before confronting Benezia or vice versa could have potentially made the entire plot thread much stronger instead of needing to have it purposely be weak to allow for non-linearity. Just my personal opinion, and I could see the opposite side of that argument just as easily. The atmosphere, world building, formation of an iconic hero, development of race relations, etc was perfect in ME1. Stronger than ME2 I daresay. It just had its flaws and I saw a general movement towards a tighter, more focused game between installments.

                      I personally liked the indoctrination theory in ME3, not that it would have saved the whole game, but I thought it was more interesting than what they ended up doing. I think that people would be much happier with an ending that felt satisfying and consistent with the canon even if it still had virtually nothing to do with their past choices...

                      But I admit I didn't even finish ME3, I disliked it that much. Played ~8 hours of it, watched the endings on youtube, returned it.

                      • As you already said, "I could see the opposite side of that argument just as easily.", I'm one hell of a hardcore Mass Effect fan, So, You'll just expect me defending it at any cost, you know. xD

                        I'm not so keen on the theory, But it has some valid points.

                        Why so? The Palaven mission was brilliant, So was Sur'Kesh, Tuchanka was also brilliant, And many more brilliant missions. The problem starts with Mass Effect 2 Squadmates interaction and romance and the ending of the Rannoch mission, It felt a bit rushed. Then The whole Act III. It was very weak. Also, The diplomatic relationships between Shepard and the alliance was a big issue.

                        • Most of why I didn't like it was the shift from a tactical RPG with shooting to a poorly conceived first person shooter, the glitchiness, and there were an awful lot of things that just felt like a clumsy attempt at tying together the things that had been building since the beginning of the series. I just didn't feel the magic in it at all, and I like the first 2 and didn't want to ruin the series for myself with a game that I felt was only going to continue to not impress me. I don't remember it terribly well, either, now that I'm trying to remember what exactly it was that made me turn the game off.

                          If you want a really weird Bioware opinion from me, I loved Dragon Age Origins but refuse to play Awakening, 2, or Inquisition. For no reason other than the story feels over to me and I don't want to hear any more of it because it could only possibly ruin it or give me more of a world that I'm personally finished with. I have my quirks.

                          I understand having a series that you defend against anything, I'm like that with Catherine. I don't care what flaws that game has or what problems people have with it, it's a perfect game and I refuse to hear otherwise. Not exactly a good stance to take academically on a game, but hey, we've all got something.

                          • It's nothing about academic and more about passion, You know. The only game that slightly match mass effect to me is the walking dead, But not as dearly. Portal 2 and Crysis 2 are in the same position as well.

                            If you don't like diplomacy, Mass Effect 3 won't fell fit for you. But I can't see how the combat fails, It's slightly improved from ME2's combat.

                            • I just lose interest quickly in the really generic first person shooter with no frills gameplay. I've played well over a thousand games at this point and there are certain types of games that just make me yawn, because I've seen the exact same thing every time. So when it's the same exact thing I've seen in dozens of FPS games but done less successfully, it's a turnoff, because it's almost a robotic experience getting through the action parts to get to more story. I didn't enjoy it and it didn't take much effort, thought, or strategy.

                              I think you can be academic and passionate about the same subject. Analyzing games is just as fun to me as playing them, so it's rare that I come across a game I refuse to criticize because I enjoy it so much.

                              I like diplomacy an awful lot, and I usually play a more talky paragon Shepard... trying to resolve things peacefully and through discussion. Something about Mass Effect 3 just didn't click for me, I'm not sure why. I might have to play it again to remind myself, actually.

                              • For me, Atmosphere is felt through combat, Every combat system has its new mechanics and merits to add to the story. But again, it all depends on the person playing. I'm exactly like you, But It's not refusing to argue, It's that you know no matter what happens, You'll never change your mind. So, The conversation is pointless.

                                Yes, Give it a second chance, Maybe pirated this time. :P

                                For now, i have to go, Need to go to bed. Will continue this tomorrow.

                  • Also, I'm new to the mass effect community. about 7 months old, that's why I'm so late to the hype.

                    • That's okay, I didn't play them until they came to PS3, so I was also late. Not quite as late, but still not up there with release. It took me a long time to come around to the Western RPG as a genre :)

                      • I see. I'll admit it, I don't like Japanese games. prefer westerns, No idea why. As for helping me, I appreciate your thought, And I thank you for wanting to help. :)

                        • I like both, but there are certain genres like horror and RPGs where I'm heavily biased towards Japanese just because they've been doing it longer and have overall a stronger record with them... but western games are coming in and doing some good things, too. I just have different tastes than some, so while I have unpopular opinions on Oblivion and Skyrim, I generally like Bioware games, the original Fallouts, the Witcher, etc.

                          I just think they fall very easily into TOO open of a world, where the direction and atmosphere is lost for the sake of scale and freedom. Those things are important, but I don't particularly like wandering aimlessly around a big empty environment making up my own things to entertain myself, even though I know and respect plenty of people who do. Not my thing :)

                          • To me, I'm 90% of the times an unpopular opinion. I like to have too much space to wander like ME1's Citadel with some interesting Side-missions points. Wandering aimlessly doesn't make sense.

                            Also, To me, It's not about how long have you been doing it, It's about how capable are you at doing it. Mass Effect RPG system was brilliant, But still needs a few improvements. So is the walking dead system.

              • I personally am always for more player involvement, more gameplay, less cutscenes in all games... I someday hope to see an industry where cutscenes only barely exist, because to me the second you flip to a cutscene, the player disconnects... the controller gets put down, they start looking around the room... you lose them.

                So, what do you think about Visual Novel? Because I love some and you know, these games "lack" gameplay and most are almost "cutscenes" all the time. I'd really like to hear you thoughs. Ex: 999(9 hours 9 persons 9 doors)

                Please, I really want to hear your opnion.

                • I also like visual novels, but it is an odd line to walk there. My statement that you quoted was more referring to the standard format of game, where sometimes it feels like gameplay portion - cutscene - gameplay portion - cutscene, alternating until the end of time, instead of bothering to tell the story through the gameplay and make the cutscenes less like a break/movie and more like a smooth and short continuation of the action.

                  In a visual novel, it's to me a subgenre of Interactive Media, and not all the way to a video game (I don't mean that in a derogatory way whatsoever). I think that if the entire framing mechanism of your game is majority cutscenes, it can be done well, effectively, and in a gripping way. My issues arise when there is action, and there is an exposition dump movie, and it's almost a jarring experience where you have people sitting there just wishing there was a cutscene skip button, so they can get back to playing. Good examples of games with minimal cutscenes but a whole lot of story are Ico, Bioshock, Journey, etc. You don't want to be immersed in gameplay only to be ripped out of it.

                  But visual novels are a completely distinct way of telling a story, almost like an interactive comic book or manga, and therefore don't have the same problem, because there is no action to remove you from. Enjoying the presentation of the story/choice/puzzles is the entire attraction, so to me complaining about them being all cutscene is like complaining about a book being all words.

                  PS: Is 999 good? I haven't picked it up yet.

                  • Thanks! So I think I misinterpreted you logic. I kind of relieved now.

                    And yeah, 999 is awesome and well, I can't say much beacause of spoilers, but it has some intelligent puzzles! And the OST is incredible well done.

                    • Cool! I'm gonna have to get it now... I'm a sucker for OSTs.

                      And yeah, I have a bad habit of saying these big catch-all statements when I really don't mean it that broadly... and then I get more detailed and my posts get longer... haha.

              • A smashing good read, to say the least.

                I understand that Telltale is still growing and establishing itself as a developer. But it's all about trajectory to me. I am more willing to forgive large faults in a game if it shows improvement and learning.

                It depends on how forgiving the series can afford to be towards itself, given its nature. The Walking Dead, unfortunately, is a large, ambitious piece of work with respect to character and story, and with continuity and cross-seasonal progression and cohesion being matters of paramount importance in its design, the series becomes all the more delicate and prone to sudden death by mishap. That is the agonising, eye-gougingly painful part. For that reason, I cannot be as generously forgiving.

                What I think should have been obvious and realised from the very start in the wake of the first season's unforeseen success is that this project had become one of exceptional fragility in respect to its continuing story and main character, whose continuation would involve work with uncomfortably if not unforgivingly high stakes. There is no remedy for the situation in the sense of being able to afford the luxury of taking on the passing damage occasioned by an erratic hit-and-miss or inconsistent approach to the game's development and hoping for better in a coming third season.

                This is not a game series in the relaxed, more forgiving vein and scope of Sam and Max, with a season's story packaged as yet another independent round of adventures featuring recurring and static star protagonists (providing a safe reboot or recovery of sorts in every new season if one goes sour), where little to no importance needs to be given to temporality or continuity across seasons, or to the rhythm, crescendo, and greater progression of events, that is to say the tendons and ligaments of dramatic, overarching story arcs that give them integrity. Things need to remain connected and momentum in its surge and direction must be considered in its greater whole, especially where the protagonist's evolution is concerned. It's necessary that things progress along a growing continuous chain whose links hold well and don't break or intersect haphazardly.

                It is a one-shot affair that cannot tolerate a mismanaged attempt (and we're dealing with two already: the present story itself and the time skip), seeing that the result is then immediately absorbed into game canon, in effect squandering, never to be recovered, yet another stage (possibly even the final one) of Clementine's formative years and experience, both through faulty execution in the case of one, and in that of the other, by passing over it entirely. It instantly destroys the coherence and consistency of the entire work. And the damage is permanent, no less to her character development and her potential as a story character than to the greater story itself. It really affords no second chances, and that is what eats at me.

                I have long comments because I want to be clear. You can feel free to skim if you want...And yeah, I have a bad habit of saying these big catch-all statements when I really don't mean it that broadly... and then I get more detailed and my posts get longer... haha.

                Ha, somebody operating on the same wavelength. Believe me, good sir, you are far as far can be from being the main offender in that regard on these forums, as even a cursory look at the thread linked to at the top of my profile page will make overwhelmingly clear.

                If you do not make a player feel desperate, in danger, frightened, hardened, etc...the game does not feel like a struggle for survival, it feels (please excuse how harsh this will sound) like a zombie theme park comparatively.

                Precisely what I have been saying: gravity. You might want to read the 2nd, 4th, and 5th paragraphs of this post from the aforementioned thread.

                http://www.telltalegames.com/community/discussion/comment/1043863/#Comment_1043863

                In fact, if people wish to examine this point further, I strongly suggest paying attention to the final sequence of scenes in Episode 3; as I see it, they clearly seem to be drawing parallels with certain mirroring scenes from the last season. (I'm not sure why nobody as of yet has managed to point this out in a thread.) One can then try to make comparisons between the two cases in how effectively they have been able to excite fear, dread, or other emotions within the player.

                • I will respond to this completely, hopefully later today. I hope to read your entire thread first, but to do that I intend to print it out... I have trouble reading large amounts on a screen.

                  And just for the sake of transparency, madam is more appropriate. Although I don't mind sir, letting that slip by almost felt like a lie of omission to me.

                  • Madam it is.

                    That thread is quite copious in its material, and covers too many angles of one general topic, so you needn't burden yourself with reading any of that. I keep it as a resource on the side and on occasion cite something specific from there if I find anything particularly relevant and helpful like those paragraphs to supplement a discussion.

                    I have no intention to call general attention to the thread itself, which has long sunk, or to revive it, but you're welcome to whatever's there of course if you're personally inclined to read something, and if so, better the constructive discussion on the last page of that thread, far more legible and succinct than the essays themselves.

                    • Too late, I've already read them. I figure if you took the time to write all of it, I can take the ~20-30 minutes it took to read them.

                      I agree that it's a harder game to forgive errors in - the entire draw of the game is the investment in the characters and the story. Once you are ripped from it and you feel very obviously the hand of the creator in it, it's next to impossible to become that invested again. I find now that I have emotionally distanced myself from Clementine, there is next to nothing they could do that would seriously affect me - it would either veer into mild disgust if they were completely tasteless, or emotional manipulation if they relied entirely on the acting/music/animation to make me feel for a character who is... at best now a loose interpretation of a little girl in the ZA.

                      On that same note (and the general idea of your thread), I feel like the only viable way to have kept Clem intact in S2 would have been to vastly increase the number of possible dialogue options in the game, but still restrict any given Clem to 3 at a time, each actually well within her already developing personality. Maybe a number valued system where Clem is (this is very rudimentary) on a scale of -100 through 0 to 100, with -100 being the most hardened and inhuman of the "range" of possible Clem's, and 100 is the most optimistic and kind-hearted.

                      If your Clem is say, a 56, she'll get 3 options from the 50-60 (or even 50-75) range, one that generally keeps her in the same area, one that pushes her up towards 100, one that pulls her down towards -100. In this way, we can gently nudge her in one direction or another, without her feeling like a schizophrenic mask. But this would be much more programming and writing (24 possible dialogue options for every conversation option?) than Telltale has ever committed to.

                      The thing to realize/rationalize with yourself when trying to understand a good way to control Clem is to realize that Lee effectively is you, and that the choices you make as her could ostensibly be read as Lee affecting who she has become. She is in the same general pattern as your logical process, because you effectively raised her. I do think the way they have it happening is too direct, though. Having the entire range of responses available to all Clems is jarring and odd.

                      But my biggest problem with this whole thing is a basic misunderstanding of what makes people (or possibly just me, I am a bit odd) actually feel emotionally affected by a game. When I play as a character, I assume their role. The death of a player character rarely feels terribly sad to me - it is, in a way, my own death and I have nothing really to fear from it. It's just an ending, and there are really much worse fates. The powerful thing about S1 ending is that the feeling it evoked in me was not sadness that Lee was dying, but worry, fear, and regret upon realizing that I was leaving Clem alone, that she wasn't nearly prepared enough, that I was about to hurt her terribly dying, that this day would be automatically the worst day of her life so far.

                      It is that, the heartbreak over what you leave behind, that makes a PC death powerful. It is the same feeling as a dead Shepard in ME2, the feeling of tremendous loss and guilt if you choose to sacrifice yourself leaving a love interest behind in Dragon age, the moment when you realize your friends got there just seconds too late at the end of Persona 3...

                      because ultimately as humans, we cannot care nearly as deeply for ourselves as we can for other people. As clem, we do not feel that because we are presented with OURSELVES to love and protect and worry for. It is not nearly the same experience, and for the same reason a huge amount of tension is removed from us. Other characters can come and go, and when the most important person to the PC is the PC, there is no threat of loss. When you die, you die. There's no feeling of failing someone you would give anything to not fail.

                      • Too late, I've already read them. I figure if you took the time to write all of it, I can take the ~20-30 minutes it took to read them.

                        Then you have done me a kind courtesy that very few have and beyond any expectation, and for that you have my thanks and the hope it felt to you as little of a chore as possible.

                        I find now that I have emotionally distanced myself from Clementine, there is next to nothing they could do that would seriously affect me

                        That is indeed my situation. I've become desensitised to a point where I've become mostly numb to physical assaults on her person, owing to many factors.

                        It feels that for lack of the necessary depth and groundwork that would keep the player invested, the game is now relying on faulty devices such as mere projections and goodwill carried over from last season (as well as role-playing projections) to fill in a general vacuum, coupled with soapish and action-packed suspense thrills and drama whose sudden intensity and forced momentum are meant to draw you into the moment, having you forget or ignore the absence of critical foundations upon which these high climactic points must rest, and thus leaving you dismissing of the reality that what exists is in fact rather shallow and lacking substance. This is otherwise known as getting a cheap fix.

                        On that same note (and the general idea of your thread), I feel like the only viable way to have kept Clem intact in S2 would have been to vastly increase the number of possible dialogue options in the game, but still restrict any given Clem to 3 at a time...But this would be much more programming and writing (24 possible dialogue options for every conversation option?) than Telltale has ever committed to.

                        A kind of stacking effect, something that reflects the personality that begins to emerge from the cumulative weight of dialogue choices, something that would require even more writing and programming if meant also to affect the character of general, automatically played speech that isn't the direct result of a dialogue choice, as was the case with Dragon Age II for example. I did raise that suggestion as well once, but as you say, the work required for this in its full scope is demanding.

                        The thing to realize/rationalize with yourself when trying to understand a good way to control Clem is to realize that Lee effectively is you, and that the choices you make as her could ostensibly be read as Lee affecting who she has become.

                        Some might manage that way, but for me it would feel akin to cancelling out who she is. In my case, I see Lee's impact as not having rewritten her character, only influenced it, and I regard that influence rather than something that defines her or absolutely determines her behaviour and outlook more as something that acknowledges her own individuality, something that Clementine herself with more experience processes through her own original personality and examines within her self, something she might even find herself grappling with in the face of trials, even ultimately becoming disillusioned with.

                        In other words it works as a tool by which more dimension is given to her character development, and her lasting response to it may even count as a judgement of Lee in the long run. I put it in simpler terms once, saying it would feel far too one-dimensional for me simply to choose behaviour and dialogue that comports to Lee's ethics and outlook and be satisfied with the result.

                        But my biggest problem with this whole thing is a basic misunderstanding of what makes people (or possibly just me, I am a bit odd) actually feel emotionally affected by a game...the powerful thing about S1 ending is that the feeling it evoked in me was not sadness that Lee was dying, but worry, fear, and regret upon realizing that I was leaving Clem alone, that she wasn't nearly prepared enough, that I was about to hurt her terribly dying, that this day would be automatically the worst day of her life so far.

                        Absolutely. I intuitively grasped that as the scene played out, even down to certain visual details. A person can see the parting concern and worry written quite clearly on Lee's face in this picture alone:

                        Alt text

                        I even tried to capture musically the intense fear and worry for Clementine's fate as she is about to be orphaned that emerges in the scene alongside its general note of grief, and I think I did that well with the end of one 'localised' re-scoring (the 3rd video, from the 7:08 mark until Lee's death):

                        https://www.telltalegames.com/community/discussion/comment/921516/#Comment_921516

                        because ultimately as humans, we cannot care nearly as deeply for ourselves as we can for other people. As clem, we do not feel that because we are presented with OURSELVES to love and protect and worry for. It is not nearly the same experience, and for the same reason a huge amount of tension is removed from us.

                        I fully agree with you, to the point that I'd wager that with certain interactions with Kenny, some players had thrown off Clementine's skin and switched places with Kenny altogether in their minds out of the need to interact with her. Also, your point in good part is exactly why I've been even right down to a subconscious level instinctively approaching this game from the beginning with an entirely different role in mind for myself than that of Clementine, even as I played her, one entirely outside of a role-playing perspective, far away from any need or desire to project the self or ego into the game world, the same and sole role through which I could approach her and perceive her in any meaningful, natural, and sensible context, that of Lee. (That attitude alone immediately puts me in a minority.)

                        And considering he has passed away, then that would be to say in the figurative protagonist role of an absent Lee watching (this always became all the more emphasised during moments Lee was mentioned in the game), with the idea of having Clementine very much still in possession of a strong NPC element, even if being the game's ostensible protagonist, so aiming to maintain that necessary spectator's distance as a player from her was a natural constant for me. It was truly a very straight-forward, reflexively adopted mindset on my part with no mental gymnastics involved in reaching it, one I think I've managed to articulate with reasonable clarity in the discussion with Domewing from my thread. (I dedicated my 4th post there to the subject as well in greater depth, but being the most difficult and dense, it almost appears to lose itself in the esoteric as is likely to happen with torturous attempts at translating thoughts into a theoretical framework in the case of things one grasps intuitively.)

                        This leads directly to the core issue of whether the game in terms of gameplay can possibly construct a protagonist role for Clementine in such a way that her individuality, her own responsiveness, and her own essential part in her development are still maintained but with the player still able to exercise enough agency of a kind within the game to impact the story trajectory and Clementine's path and derive satisfaction from direct participation as a player. That is an extremely difficult topic of discussion on its own (the 5th post and the 4th's final paragraph amount to what rough brainstorming I could come up with on the topic), but if both those two conditions somehow could have been met, that would have been ideal, because I do care to have Clementine occupy the role of main character even without the desire to role-play as her, the two reasons for that being that I cannot possibly interact with her the same way wearing the skin of another protagonist and that a protagonist role is the only way to place her at the centre and make her the focal point of the story. The nagging question is whether there can exist within the realm of possibility a game able to assign her that primary role without presenting me with myself in her place, even as I play from her character's visual perspective.

                        • It was no trouble, I'm a fairly fast reader and it was interesting enough subject matter.

                          It's an interesting dilemma, wanting someone to be a focal point of the story, but having no exceptionally good way to put her there without either creating a sort of Lee 2.0 or giving her the protagonist role. It's something that probably should have been thought of long before Season 2 was being written or developed, but I believe there is a way. You would just have to somehow create a player character who we could be introduced to, given control of, and then is constructed as such that there could not be a reasonable guardian role handed to us again, like playing as another child, as someone from a group not her own, etc. There would still be the problem of the player remembering more about her than the player character should, but that is a small problem comparatively.

                          As for her being the protagonist and still maintaining her own personality, well there are many many games that manage just that, but not in what I would call a "TWD style". Most games I have seen with a fully formed protagonist with little to no player agency have been more in a JRPG style where there is gameplay, and then character reacts to things on their own. And considering that Season 2 has no gameplay outside of the choices, it would end up essentially being a movie at that point. The same problem happens if you just want to restrict Clem to one general personality with very slight variations on her dialogue options and choices... it will feel restrictive to the player. Really, this type of game only works with characters with a "blank slate" that can be projected upon... It is a very restrictive stylistic choice, veering into a visual novel territory. Perhaps returning to a true point and click game and then building upon it will feel ultimately more satisfying than having the entire game hinge on dialogue and choice.

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