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Telltale, learn from the mistakes of TWD and WAU

posted by Lucazzy on - last edited - Viewed by 1.3K users

Granted, both The Walking Dead and Wolf Among Us are incredible games. I thoroughly enjoy both of them. That being said....there are things about them that can be improved for future projects you work on.

1) Choices. Those big choices that you display at the end of the episode? Actually give us some consequences and branching stories. Obviously you have a story to tell and we understand that, but you can still do that effectively while giving the player agency. Look at how games such as The Witcher does it. Those games have a very satisfying story, but even more satisfying are the choices and the way they effect the plot.

2) Dialogue. (?) Somebody will remember that.... Prove it! Actually give us some dialogue trees. Make characters act different to us based on what we say. Make scenes play out differently. You guys have said it yourself that dialogue is considered the gameplay in these episodes, so try to expand on it and have these dialogue trees actually meaningful.

3) Determinant characters. The Walking Dead especially is guilty of this. Any character the player tries to save either ends up dead later on anyway or irrelevant to the plot from that point on. Sometimes both. Why give us the option to save someone if they will be entirely irrelevant to the plot from that point on? If you give us determinant characters and you intend to kill them off later anyway, at least reward us for saving them by giving us some additional conversations with them, giving them some more character development, and if possible having them change some aspect of the plot that would have been without them.

4) Episode length. I'm not going to say "make episodes longer" - what I'm going to say is make episodes the length they are supposed to be to tell the story. With TWD S2 especially lately, it feels like Telltale had so many brilliant ideas for the story and plot of the episode but rushed the telling of the tale. Faster pacing isn't necessarily a bad thing when the characters are likable or interesting and they don't fall behind the plot, but rather run with it. 400 Days and Wolf Ep 1 were great here. 400 Days was 90 minutes if I recall correctly, and Faith was 2 hours. Many characters in 400 Days were instant classics that were genuinely interesting, despite the length of their chapters. I was impressed with Telltale's ability to develop them in such a small amount of time. Faith had a really, really good plotline with twists and turns but ultimately it did what 400 Days did so good and that was character development.

Subsequent episodes of WAU and TWDS2 have been (for the most part) lacking in the character development because they have had to keep up with their plot within a limited amount of time. What I'm basically saying is find the right balance between plot and character development and don't worry too much about the episode's length, just focus on telling the best story. The length will be what it is.

I'm sure that Borderlands will be awesome. TWD and WAU are awesome too. But these flaws make them less awesome. With still time to develop Borderlands and Game of Thrones before release, I hope Telltale is able to use this criticism to make their future projects even more awesome.

11 Comments
  • With point 1, would you have any objections to Telltale taking longer to release the episodes if they make choices matter more? Because others will and Telltale needs to make decisions in development regarding what to focus on. Prioritise.

    Anyway, I agree that choices mattering more would be nice, but it's not as simple as people seem to think.

    And point 3 does tie into this as well, by the way, with them needing to craft extra dialog and such for characters which players may never see.

    • I'm not an expert on game development, but TWD Season 1 had longer episodes and choices that mattered more, all while releasing at a faster pace than S2 and WAU so far. Telltale has nearly doubled in staff since TWDS1. I would say that it isn't impossible to expect or hope for choices to matter more while them keeping the pace consistent as before. But unfortunately with TWD2 and WAU, choices have mattered much less and episodes have been much shorter all the while taking a lot longer to release.

  • I think they could possibly make a character that could possibly die in episode 1, but survive up to the last episode, because it is kind of beomes predicatable by everyone that if a character was meant to die in episode 2, they sure are going to die in episode 3.

  • I agree with these points, though it seems that Telltale has a long ways to go before they finally consider making choices actually branch off to different paths/dialogue trees. Hopefully they'll listen to previous fan feedback from TWAU and the current TWD season and bring some sort of new change(s) to this game.

  • "Subsequent episodes of WAU and TWDS2 have been (for the most part) lacking in the character development"

    This is not remotely true for Wolf among us at all because the characters in that game were well developed and even Holly got a back story that made her more of a sympathetic character by episode 3

    People need to stop lumping "wolf among us" in with walking dead and pretending like these two games have the same flaws.

    "lack of character development" is walking dead season 2 problem lol

    I never had an issue with the character development in walking dead season 1 or wolf among us because i felt like i knew most of the characters pretty well by the end of both of those games.

    • Yep, for a shortened and (most-likely) rushed season of TWAU - they did a fantastic job with the characters. Especially when it came to their bios in the Book of Fables, that was a nice addition to the game.

  • Yeah Tommy I agree. To me, The Wolf Among Us was done WAY better than The Walking Dead Season 2 in so many ways I don't feel like listing. Keep in mind though, that the director for The Walking Dead Season 2 was not the same director who did The Walking Dead Season 1, which is probably why season 2 sucks (generally speaking). Like season 1 of The Walking Dead, the director should have focused more on character development instead of constantly relying on or attempting to simulate havoc and panic to, I guess, try to keep the player going. Since there was no real room for character development in season 2, it makes it seem as though the player's choices don't really have an impact, characters are forced in and out of the story, the QTEs (Quick Time Event) feel unnecessary/pointless, etc. Therefore, I blame the director. Thank you.

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