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Blog: Does Walking Dead really tailor itself to your actions?

posted by The13thRonin on - last edited - Viewed by 1.2K users

Telltale's the Walking Dead... Where your decisions matter... Except when they don't... All of the time...

Don't get me wrong, a brilliant emotional journey but one without any kind of consequences for your choices at all.

Save Carly? She dies anyway. Save Doug? He dies anyway. Steal from the car? Dude abducts Clementine and tries to kill you. Don't steal from the car? Dude abducts Clementine and tries to kill you. It's not a choice if both options are going to lead to the exact same outcome... Its flavour text...

I figured that we would at least get some pay-off from the epilogue... I feel kind of dissapointed.

I hope that season 2 maintains the same great level of story-telling but actually makes the choices have proper game-changing consequences.

I would not complain if you had not given me such high hopes :p. Season one was good but I hope season two is great.

114 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • @Taaka: Once again, I have to respectfully disagree. The whole point of my article is that this is a game about exploring the emotional landscape of a story and its characeter; it is not about "Choose Your Own Adventure"-style branching plots. Some people may have felt cheated by this. I certainly did not - in fact, I was surprised and delighted when I realised what Telltale had accomplished, and how skilfully they'd pulled it off.

  • https://www.telltalegames.com/walkingdead/episodes/#thegame

    Telltales own words [the first two paragraphs advertising the entire series]: "Live with the profound and lasting consequences of the decisions that you make in each episode.

    Your actions and choices will affect how your story plays out across the entire series."

    Maybe the apologists should actually do their homework. Everyone got exactly the same ending... There were no lasting consequences for anything... Not one single decision you made actually mattered one rats ass. You can like the game but wake up and see it for what it is at the same time. It might have been good in many ways but it still failed to live up to goals it initially set out to meet. For all the yours that Telltale threw out up there they ultimately decided that we were gonna damn well sit back and listen to the story that they provided. While it was a mostly compelling story that doesn't take away the fact that it wasn't our story.

    [SNIP... Forgot this wasn't a spolier forum... Many examples of non-changeable story routes].

    Don't give me any crapola about this did what it set out to do. It did not. Everything leads down the same linear path with occasionally different flavour text. There are no consequences for anything you do at all. ANYTHING. Period.

    "Live with the profound and lasting consequences of the decisions that you make in each episode.

  • Let's face it. We live in the bioware era where we expect games that offer choices to have those choices impact the game's plot significantly and often to the point where we do get multiple endings, even if they are just differ mostly in the color of ambient light.

    I think their marketing f'ed up and didn't need to mislead players like that. That said I don't feel cheated. The game is brilliant and I could care less that it was linear in nature. Even if the choices were insignificant to the plot (since the characters die anyway) they were still fun (at time agonizing) to make and that's what matters.

  • @The13thRonin: Point taken. I hadn't read that first sentence you quote. Perhaps they did tone things down from their original intentions. It wouldn't be the first time. However;

    @GenConfusion: You're absolutely right - the game was in the experience of *making* the choices, plot consequences be damned. It may be true that some people expect choices that influence the plot, but that doesn't mean that's the best approach to making this style of game. I'd argue that The Walking Dead equals or trumps any game Bioware has ever made in terms of narrative engagement. As such, why don't we look at Telltale's game as an equally valid model?

  • @moonkid said: @The13thRonin: Point taken. I hadn't read that first sentence you quote. Perhaps they did tone things down from their original intentions. It wouldn't be the first time. However;



    With all that said I still enjoyed the game and I think it's a masterpiece. I hope though that they take it that extra mile in season two. If they can just go that little bit of an extra mile it will go from being a good game to being one of the best games ever created. I don't want Telltale to sit back and think well obviously no-one wants choices so lets just ignore that from now on. Hopefully it moves away from being a linear experience to a more open ended one. One where I can punch the next Kenny right in his face after he acts like a punk because I didn't help with his 'salt' problems.

  • If you don't know what "tailored" means you might want to look it up.

  • @The13thRonin said: https://www.telltalegames.com/walkingdead/episodes/#thegame

    Telltales own words [the first two paragraphs advertising the entire series]: "Live with the profound and lasting consequences of the decisions that you make in each episode.

    Your actions and choices will affect how your story plays out across the entire series."



    And it did.
    That's the thing. Notice it says "How your story plays out", NOT "Will alter the overall story". The way my story played out is different than yours. It DID alter. That is all they said.


    Maybe the apologists should actually do their homework.

    I did. And I'm not apologizing, if you didn't like the game then you didn't like the game. And the bugs/customer service has been god-awful for this game.

    Everyone got exactly the same ending... There were no lasting consequences for anything... Not one single decision you made actually mattered one rats ass.

    Again people are just going with the "BUT LEE STILL DIED" conclusion. Where did it say MAJOR DETAILS were changed? If you can find where Telltale themselves said that, then fine. So far all I'm seeing is the same "Story is tailored to how you play" which did happen with minor details changing.

    You can like the game but wake up and see it for what it is at the same time. It might have been good in many ways but it still failed to live up to goals it initially set out to meet.

    It failed some(episodic) succeeded at others(story), and it did succeed here(again, all I see are "Your story plays out differently than others", which is true. Granted there are some "really?" moments in the story (the fact that the group meets up in the end even after that dramatic "I'm going" "I'm not" part of episode 4 was pure bullcrap... still want to see if Ben cuts Lee's arm off...), but it certainly is this "NOTHING CHANGED" argument I've seen.

    While it was a mostly compelling story that doesn't take away the fact that it wasn't our story.

    Again, you seem to flat out ignore the details that DID change. Kenny flat out hated me by the end of the game, while others had Kenny become BFFS. I got the guilt of knowing Ben get's an arguably worse death if you save him in episode 4. While others feel guilt that he died by their hands. I had Doug, others have Carley(Yeah yeah yeah, "THEY DIED STILL" fantastic, they still were with me 2 episodes longer than before)

    And I got to watch Telltale fail at figuring out how the heck Lee needs to climb a latter with one arm :p

    Don't give me any crapola about this did what it set out to do. It did not. Everything leads down the same linear path with occasionally different flavour text. There are no consequences for anything you do at all. ANYTHING. Period.

    Again, you are just looking at the broad story, which didn't change. The details did. Also, calling it "flavor text" isn't exactly how to diminish it and make it nonimportant. You seem to be forgetting how YOU reacted. My decisions led me to hate Kenny personally, others became great friends with him. That wasn't flavor text, that was YOUR reactions. Same with Lilly.

    "Live with the profound and lasting consequences of the decisions that you make in each episode.

    The game doesn't need to constantly tell you "HEY YOU HELPED MURDER AN OLD MAN IN FRONT OF HIS DAUGHTER!" to "live with the consequences". You still helped murder Larry, you still killed Ben/gave him a worse fate, you still stabbed a St Johns farmer with a pitchfork, you still chose Carley over Doug, you still fought Kenny, you still did all of this. These WERE my choices, and the consequences were guilt of what I done, and how the characters reacted me. Yes I still died in the end, that was the destination, THIS was the journey.

    Go ahead and ignore all the details that changed and go with "LEE STILL DIED! KENNY STILL DIED!" etc. I won't argue that, this is just a message to everyone, quit ignoring the details that DID change. If you want to argue, don't argue that NOTHING changed, argue that you wish MORE changed(which be honest, we all do).

  • There's respectable arguments on both sides - Agree to disagree.

    It's okay to state your opinion, but if you're willing to go as far as insult the developers, then please stop. The developers worked mighty hard on this game, and I enjoyed every second of it. Don't ruin my fun while I'm looking on these forums to chat about my experiences.

  • @Gman5852 said: Go ahead and ignore all the details that changed and go with "LEE STILL DIED! KENNY STILL DIED!" etc. I won't argue that, this is just a message to everyone, quit ignoring the details that DID change. If you want to argue, don't argue that NOTHING changed, argue that you wish MORE changed(which be honest, we all do).



    Sometimes I wear a red tie to work... Sometimes I wear a blue tie... Does this change anything? Not really...

    Just because little tidbits of dialogue changed doesn't mean that this accounts for long lasting consequences. It's not about that Lee died. It's about the fact that everything Lee did prior to dying was for nothing. All the "Clementine will remember that." or other character's "he/she will remember that" moments were for nothing.

    And don't even get me started on Kenny... Perfect example. You do everything for that guy, you feed his family, you save his family, you kiss the ground he walks on and what does he do if you don't help him salt lick Larry? He leaves you for dead twice and hates you for the rest of the game... Umm what? How does that take into account any of my prior actions? You basically press a giant Kenny will treat you passive-aggressively or Kenny will bromance you button and nothing else you do matters. There are heaps of examples of this kind of thing but the Kenny thing is probably the best one.

    I respect elements of your argument but I still completely disagree with your point of view on the matter.

    @Gman5852 said: There's respectable arguments on both sides - Agree to disagree.

    It's okay to state your opinion, but if you're willing to go as far as insult the developers, then please stop. The developers worked mighty hard on this game, and I enjoyed every second of it. Don't ruin my fun while I'm looking on these forums to chat about my experiences.

    I'm not sure if you're talking to me or anyone else but as far as I'm concerned I don't feel I've insulted the developers. I stated multiple times I liked the game and the game was good even so far as regarding it as a "masterpiece" but that's not going to stop me from offering some criticism that a lot of people in the community are also feeling. I have stated that either their advertising was misleading or they failed in their initial objective in providing a branching story. I stand by that statement. No-one is trying to mess with your enjoyment of the game.

    Perhaps you are referring to what I termed 'the apologists'. This is because I don't believe just because you recognise the elements of good in something you should ignore the elements that weren't so good or could be improved. If people want a better Season 2 they need to offer reasonable critcism of Season 1. I don't think reasonable critcism is anything like Lee died so the story sucked. I do think that not having enough player choice is a reasonable critcism though.

  • @TheWalkingBread said: I made this account specifically to answer your question.

    It does. 100%.
    I gave up at Ep. 1 because I already knew what was going to happen, and the start was kind of slow. And yes, again. It does.

    The reason for TellTale games making it so Lee dies no matter what, is because there are several accounts of replayers. The ones who just replay the game, the chapter, that one moment, just to get the perfect ending. Because he's attacked by surprise. There is no way not to get scratched after you pick up Clementine's hat. And it's just not of his personality to deny picking up the hat. NO ONE wouldn't pick up the hat. Unless you don't have feelings, or you were making the wrong choices on purpose.

    Another reason is because there'd be too many endings. And, they already had an ending in plan. It'll resolve around Season 1, and there was no way for that ending to happen without Lee dying. The ending would be 100% different with Lee alive, and it's really hard to script. Really. YOU try scripting that. It already takes a month to make each episode.

    An example of things that can change based on your decisions.

    1. Doug or Lilly/Carley?
    2. Give her the gun or don't?
    3. Kill Duck or have Kenny kill him?
    4. Who is your team?

    These are all based on how people feel about you based on your choices. And can most likely effect Season 2 (this has been confirmed)



    If you choices in season 1 have been confirmed to cross over to season 2 why are you saying most likely? Either it hasn't been confirmed and it is most likely to happen or it's been confirmed full stop. I agree that saving Carly or Doug makes a difference even if it's just aesthetic and brief because one will be in the 2nd episode and one won't but that is the only significant change in the game based on your choices of the 4 points you listed.

    If you give irene the gun she kills herself if you don't she takes it from you and kills herself. If you shoot Duck or Kenny shoots Duck it makes no real difference. Both Lee and Kenny are in the scene next to each other any way. It doesn't effect your friendship, Kenny's mood or behavior, it's purely about what you the gamer thinks is best. Should I take the burden off my friend or should I let him be the one to kill his son. As for the 4th point of who is in your team, the game decides this for you after episode 1. Ben can die at the end of ep4(you have to add him to your group in ep2) if you choose not to save him or die in ep 5. Who you pick to come with you to save to Clem makes no difference since you go back to the house and reunite with anyone you left there and look for Clem as a group. The decision to go alone in ep 4 is only with regards to Vernon's base which the game transports you to after you make your decision who to go with or rather they make the decision to go with you. The members of the group are predetermined to live or die regardless, though Doug,Carly and Ben can die at different times they are still the ones that will die and Christa will still survive till the end of ep5.

    With regards to Telltale's reason's for killing of Lee I don't think you or I can truly say for sure unless we worked on their staff team, all we can do is speculate. Personally I think it was done for shock effect (killing the stories protagonist)to pull the rug from beneath us. If his death was necessary for Clementine's development Rick Grimes would have died a long time ago. Carl would have learned more from Rick in life than Clementine would learn from Lee's death. Personally I would have preferred for Lee to have died after reuniting Clementine with Christa and the story ending than Lee failing to bring Clementine to Christa before he died, her leaving the city by her self and us getting another season to play as another character. But that's just me.

    With regards to how people feel about you based on your choices all of the people in Lee's original group were dead(Clementine aside), Christa and Omid came in the game late and didn't really know much about how you treated other group members in earlier episodes. The people that were in you group even if you treated them bad they will still play their part for sequences to play out. I completely rebuffed Kenny in Ep 5 after he refused to help me find Clem in ep 4 and in ep5 he was a complete different person, asking how I was etc. I practically blanked him through out ep 5. The only time I remember responding to him before he died was in the attic when I called him a bastard, yet Telltale wanted to give him a heroic send off where he is encouraging me to go without him, like I needed encouraging.

    Choice matters? It is the illusion of choice and we are disillusioned if we think the game could play out any differently based on our choices. The game merely makes you feel in control of your choices. Women have been doing this to men for centuries and millenia. Making men think that they were in control and that they thought of an idea when really,they were prompted by suggestion.

    Still a great emotional game though but lets call a spade a spade. Choices matter in Heavy Rain, choices in the walking dead game do not, not in the grand scale of things.

    With regards to the comment about it being too long for them to have multiple endings, when you consider how significantly shorter the episode was I think they could have had at least 1 alternative ending. The 2 ways that the choices we made could of mattered would have been if there was an alternate ending from the one we all received or if the surviving group members were different based on our choices, though I accept the latter would have been very difficult and time consuming they could have had 2 endings which were computer generated based on the feed back of your actions in game.(I don't mean having an ending where Lee lives) Having the guy on the radio remind me that Telltale were keeping track by telling me all of the things I have done which I already know I had done is not a consequence of my actions. He would have kidnapped Clementine regardless.

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