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

posted by The13thRonin on - last edited - Viewed by 2.1K 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
  • I played episodes 1-4 straight through without reloading or reading anything about the game. I was emotionally invested (though not as much as other games I’ve played, I think because I knew all along that every single character was completely fricking doomed)
    I was planning to play through again and see some other possibilities. I went to the internet to see what those other possibilities might be...and I was severely disillusioned to find out that no matter what I did the same people would be with me.
    I hadn’t been expecting changes to the overarching narrative (we get on the train, Duck and Katjaa die tragically, Clem gets kidnapped, etc) but I had expected who I’d be with to be a variable. It still wouldn’t “really” effect the plot because no matter who you had with you characters would still take on the same roles: one person wants to stay put, one person wants to keep moving. Who those two characters are doesn’t matter to the plot but it does change things for the player emotionally. The player chooses who to side with, but then the walkers force the plot forward regardless. Ultimately, who your companions are is just extremely fancy window dressing, it doesn’t represent a branch in the plot. It wouldn’t be especially hard to script, but it would be a bitch to render all the possibilities.

    Anyway that’s the level of “tailoring” I was expecting based on the way it felt when I played through the first time. I felt like I had effected who lived and who died, but in reality I hadn’t. That was disappointing.

    And when I stopped to think about it I definitely felt as if my decisions didn’t matter:
    the teacher and not-Ben student both die immediately no matter what
    Kenny won’t listen to you if you try to protect Larry, no matter how nice you’ve been
    Lilly will up and shoot someone for no reason no matter how gentle of a mediator you’ve been
    Omid breaks his stupid leg no matter what you do
    Vernon betrays you no matter how nice you’ve been
    Kenny will heroically sacrifice himself no matter how much of a jerk you’ve been
    The crazy guy at the end is mad at you whether you stole his food or not.

    The problem has nothing to do with this or that press release, or even the fact that I couldn’t effect those events. What leaves me feeling annoyed, or even betrayed, is that while I was playing the game it MADE ME THINK I could effect those type of things, when in reality I couldn’t.

    Maybe Telltale was trying to say that the cruel hands of fate rule us all, that it’s hopeless to try to effect the actions of others. Maybe leading us to feel guilty about events we ultimately had no control over is part of some profound existential message...

    Or maybe Telltale just bit off more than they could chew and ended up delivering a product with fewer options than they had hoped.

  • Yeah, it does, but that doesn't excuse TellTale of misleading marketing.

    "A tailored game experience – 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." - That's the description from the Steam store.

    There's a video on TellTale's Youtube Channel called "Choice Matters." In it, the Episode 3 designer says that in the comics, Rick makes choices that drastically effect his chances of survival. He's basically using weasel words to give you the illusion that your choices will matter without saying it. And when people complain they can just point back and say "we said it tailored to your choices." Watch it, the whole video gives the impression we'll make choices that matter, when in actuality, the choices yield the same results no matter what. Ben always dies. So does Carley and Doug. Clem always gets kidnapped. Lee always perishes. So choice doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.

    That's the problem people have with it and if you ask me, it's a valid complaint. People can keep trying to write it off, but it's a valid issue with many gamers who thought the game was going to be more... consequential. As for me, I could care less, I just wanted a better written ending than what we got.

  • @Jymn said: Or maybe Telltale just bit off more than they could chew and ended up delivering a product with fewer options than they had hoped.

    That's a bingo.

  • @Pyrofrost said: No, I'm not. I honestly read every post in this thread (seriously) and my thoughts on the issue can be found here: http://www.telltalegames.com/forums/showthread.php?p=734501#post734501

    Read THAT, and then come back and talk to me. Also, stop being an ass. #lawyer'd

    So what you're saying is your thoughts on the issue are more authoritive than Telltales own official marketing which comes straight from the development team?

    Also... Complains about other person being an ass... Ends his post with "#lawyer'd"... Nope...

    If you want an example of how to write a relatively good post that disagrees with someone by attacking the argument and not the person please refer to CarScar above you. I might not agree with CarScar but I respect his ability to discuss a point of difference like an adult.

  • @moonkid said: "This game series adapts to the choices you make. The story is tailored by how you play."

    This is the message that greets the player at the beginning of every episode of Telltale’s The Walking Dead game. But is it true?

    Is this a bad joke? Of course it's not true.

    TTG made a nice little interactive comic, sold it as something else entirely, and managed to piss of a lot of the people who would have otherwise enjoyed this adequate time-passer.

    It was like your buddy fixing you up for a blind date, telling you the pleasant, very average girl you were meeting was a supermodel with a Phd. If he'd been honest, it could have been a perfectly decent evening. Instead, you spent dinner wishing she was even remotely as advertised.

    It was far worse, of course, for pc users. The little relevance your choices had vanished entirely when the software couldn't manage to carry from one episode to the next the necessary but very small handful of variables.

    As for the gameplay, what a thrill! Only by staring at the vase falling on Clem does it finally miss her. What a treat it was, to discover it took something completely unintuitive for you to escape listening to her skull caving in one... more... time.

    Well, we knew the fix was in, what with the completely random journey over to the rooftop and belltower, then the completely random return to the mansion. Talk about cheap-o location recycling. And they couldn't even give us the catharsis of a happy ending where we get some clue as to whether Clem made it five feet past the door? [Rolls eyes]

    Very weak, Telltale. Very weak, indeed.

  • "So choice doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things."

    Choice doesn't matter in the minor scheme of things in episode 5. What's particularly sad is the game's few defenders have been rapidly reduced to claiming, "But it's how you FEEL about the choices you made that's important!"

    "So what you're saying is your thoughts on the issue are more authoritive than Telltales own official marketing which comes straight from the development team?"

    I laughed. Because if there's one thing we can trust more than politicians, it's marketing teams, right? Good one.

  • If I played the game without making a single story choice, which is separate from action
    choices like shooting a weapon or climbing a ladder, the story would adapt in such a way that it would flow to the end result. Without me, as a player, Lee would have been bitten , the stranger would have died, and Clem would still be facing an uncertain future, alone.

    (How many times do we need to read this stuff?) We felt cheated in the finale because of the story ending, not the ability to affect the scenes within it. Controlling the scenes is what makes TWDG a game. Otherwise, we are merely mashing 'turn the page' buttons on a well thought out visual book.

    In fact, it takes about 10-15 hours to read a good book. We did that in five episodes running about 2 hours on average (perhaps more for some). So yeah... we played an active role in a book that was graphically displayed... great idea and that is the only thing I really walked away with. The ending of this season was poorly thought out and made people question does this story adapt to the choices you make? Simply put... No.

    This bore repeating. It's an excellent summary of what is, after all, very little more than a pleasant interactive comic with a weak ending.

  • "Some may prefer to call what the Walking Dead does with its plot “cheating”, but in fact all art involves the creation of something out of nothing. And thus all art is – from this perspective – illusion. The trick is in constructing your meaningful story so that the audience can’t see the strings. Or – even better – so that its impact is emotionally powerful enough that they stop caring that there are strings. The Walking Dead is a great game (and in my view a great work of art) because by the time you see the strings, it has you by the throat"

    We saw the strings no later than midway throught the first episode, so in this sense TWD game failed, and failed miserably.

    Worst of all, the ending was a hopeless bungle. Lee's great sacrifice is no sacrifice at all. First, it's unimaginable that Clem, if she even survives the city (and recall that we forgot to, you know, actually tell her how to find Omid and Christa--oops!), won't be forever haunted by the image of zombie Lee chained to a radiator in a windowless room for all eternity. The big deal he makes, that she shouldn't shoot him, is horribly, horribly misguided. Putting down someone before they turn is extremely cathartic. It was a point of honor and pride and closure for Carl to put down Lori in the tv series. In the game it completely spoils the whole ending. Clem doesn't get that closure.

    Second, are you kidding me? We're left with no cutscene, no reunion with Omid and Christa where we see Clem finally escape? It's clear that TTG badly rushed the entire episode, but this was the worst sort of failure. It played exactly as though the developer simply hit the wall of a deadline and had to quit without finishing. Talk about the strings showing.

    Very, very disappointing.

  • Tailor made does NOT mean changing things wildly, never did, never will. If you have a shirt tailor-made for you, it means the sleeves are shorter or longer to match you. It doesn't have a 3rd sleeve for you. Same for this game, it's tailor-made for you, characters will think differently about you based on your actions, it WON'T change the story for you.

    How hard is it for people to figure this out?

    Yes, because who can forget the genuine excitement of tiny captions popping up in the corner that say things like "Christa will remember you said that"!

    Even though, you know, it won't change her behavior in the slightest, and even though we'll never know WHAT she thinks of your behavior. It's so satisfying to grasp that she's thinking about it.

    Idiot.

  • ^^^ Quadruple post? I've heard of double posts but quadruple? Geeze.

    We get it, you wanted your choices to be super meaningful blah blah blah. While you bitch about how your choices didn't effect the game I'll be enjoying this game because it has a great plot and great characters.

    Cheers. :)

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