First I want to say that everyone who worked on this game, be it the programmers, PR, writers, directors, concept designers, voice actors, cinematic, and whatever name popped up in the credits did a damn good job at crafting one of the most memorable experiences I've had in a long time. Sure, it may not be heavy in terms of gameplay, but for video game storytelling it's one hell of a step.
Anyway, I just wanted to express how I interpreted the game, and it may not be what you guys were going for, but here goes....
This is something I posted elsewhere: "I've wanted more stories to not worry about offending its audience, or afraid of being realistic (in tone and themes) and especially in the horror genre, and well...The Walking Dead video game delivers that experience, with situations and events that I've always assumed would have happened in something like Resident Evil or other more fantastical horror games. The ending isn't pretty, and treats me intellectually by having it be a satisfying ending in that its resolution has everything to do with its themes and allusions, survival and horror but by not being a happy ending, and there are no cop-outs, and it is brutal.
I haven't experienced an ending as thought-provoking since reading Richard Matheson's I Am Legend, which was the story that lead me to look at stories in structure and more narratively rather than just looking for something "cool" or some form of false accomplishment. Every decision you make doesn't come to be about simply surviving, but a reflection of people and how they would treat one another in this terrible situation, and as one final part of your experience, you are confronted with your decisions and are forced to reflect and wonder about them, and then you see your results in the one last hope you have left, and even then it uncertain and ambiguous on purpose to really sell the point of you having to interpret the meaning of the ending, and feel the weight of your actions.
Well, those are my ramblings for tonight. I probably put way more thought into this than I should have, but this game defiantly had more care put into it than normal so it deserves it. This game has gotten me even more excited for The Last of Us, which if it follows up on its promises, looks to be a true experience in and of itself." -That was a thoughtful post I put elsewhere.
So to me, it's not about changing the ending. It was always about shaping this little girl's personality. Yeah your choices don't prevent the entire cast from meeting their fate, but it does alter how those people are treated while they are alive and how you perceive the story. It becomes not about a goal of achieving a good or bad outcome...it is about reflecting on those choices you've made. Did everything I do prepare Clementine for the world she's in?
The Journey is the Destination so to speak.
I actually ended up watching a Dave Fennoy interview where he was talking about how this game was something that was going to push gaming to new heights in terms of storytelling, and that had actually been my first thought when I completed No Time Left. Video Games are evolving, and I think you, everyone that worked on this game have pushed the envelope.
Just bit of a note: I was not aware that a second season had been announced or even planned when I finished the game. The ending was even more striking to me because as far as I knew, this was it. I thought it was sort of a artistic license to reinforce what I perceived to be the meaning of the story. Had I really made the right choices, and did I really get to tell everything Clem needed to know, and properly prepare her for this hellish world?
So there you guys have it. That's how I felt about the game, and how I interpreted it. Thank you not for simply making a video game, but for crafting one of the most memorable stories I've seen in a longtime!
Edit: I just wanted to add that this game will be the one I point to from now on, where I would give it as an example as something where ONLY video games can do this. Much in the same way other mediums have things only they can do. Oh, and also, the tone also reminds me of Reservoir Dogs, which also ends on a gunshot (if you choose to shoot Lee) and a oddly fitting song to help sooth you from this violent experience.