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Should the Telltale games be less pessimistic than the comic book/TV show?

posted by Robert Morgan on - last edited - Viewed by 296 users

If there's one constant in Robert Kirkman's universe, it's that things almost always turn out for the worst. I know you can't exactly tell the happiest of stories amidst a zombie apocalypse, but even George Romero's movies (the most obvious inspiration for THE WALKING DEAD) had more cheerful outcomes. The ending of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD is arguably the bleakest of them all, but although it was definitely a cynical ending, we were still left with the impression that the zombie outbreak was slowly being pushed back. DAWN OF THE DEAD originally had all four of the main characters getting slaughtered by the end, but Romero decided to spare two of them - not because of studio pressure for a "happy ending," but because he had grown to like them too damn much. DAY OF THE DEAD concluded on an ambiguous note, with a final scene that could either be happening for real, or only inside a dream. LAND OF THE DEAD had the heroes literally driving into the sunset, while DIARY and SURVIVAL...well, nobody really likes to talk about the last two movies a lot. :o

Some critics have accused the comic series and television show as being an exercise in "misery porn", and looking at the latest issues/episodes, it's hard for me to believe otherwise. But that's fine. You can agree or disagree with an artist's intent, but you don't have the right to forcefully alter an artist's intent - unless you're a studio executive or a test audience, of course. :rolleyes:

But video games are another matter entirely. They're meant to be an interactive experience, as opposed to merely watching events outside your control unfold on the screen. The player should be allowed to affect the outcome to some degree, for better or worse. This is one reason why I'm discontented with the final ten minutes of season 1. Yes, it's a powerful ending, with Clem being forced to make the worst decision she's made so far. Yes, it's a poetic ending, with Lee exiting the same way he first entered: wearing handcuffs. But it's an ending we can't avert, no matter how hard we might try.

Maybe this is part of what motivated the backlash against MASS EFFECT 3. Movies are becoming more like video games, video games are becoming more like movies, and as a result, game developers feel more and more inclined to to be "filmmakers" in their own right, telling stories with a definitive beginning, middle, and end that you can only alter to a very minimal degree.

With all that said, do you think the Telltale WALKING DEAD series absolutely has to share Robert Kirkman's gloomy perspective on humanity and the world, affecting every single choice and path you take in the game, or should you be allowed to intervene with events to the point where you can achieve a more hopeful finale?

12 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • Will contain some amount of spoilers about comics/game.

    I think it's a matter of personal perspective. I don't find the comic or the game to be gloomy or 'misery porn'. The comics (of which I have read all) aren't depressing to me. They're sad at times, scary, but mostly it's a story of persistence, survival, and to an extent, hope.
    Look at how many injuries various characters have endured, but lived. Look at how so many have lost, but still find it in themselves to love. (Being vague on purpose, for spoiler reasons). I am especially impressed with Carl and his story. He's 9 by the latest comics, I believe. Think of all he's been through, and he can still find happiness. He's still a whole person.
    Same thing with TTG's TWD. I felt that the ending was fine. Perfect, even. Almost the whole the cast is dead by the end of episode 5. Christa and Omid were left in a questionable state. We don't know if they're alive or not. The only person left alive that we are certain of at the end of episode 5 is Clem. But, depending on how you played it, she is left as a strong, confident, capable young girl. She has, however you played it, made it through the city and out into the country presumably on her own. She is strong and tough, and knows her stuff. Again, it's more a story of hope.

    Having said all that, I guess I can see where you might find the comics depressing. In the game, it has only been months (right? not too sure on a time frame). There would be severe loses, people would only just be finding out that no matter what, when you die you come back as a zombie (barring damage to the head). People would be experimenting with cutting bites off, trying to figure out how to be doctors to others in their groups, so on. Tragedy would be around every corner.
    But even with the comics, which I believe is years into the storyline, there still would be tragedy. Groups/civilizations have formed. Supplies are starting to run low. People are starting to re-establish themselves within a post-apocalyptic community, so on. Even if they know the ropes, they've still have relatively little practice when you look at humans as a whole. There still would be accidents, the time for wars would be nearing, people would start panicking when they found a "safe" place and then supplies started thinning out.

    I hope that the game continues to follow the comic books' dark hope. I love it.

  • No it should be just as dark as the comics if not even more so! :D

  • It's just because the whole world is tired of Hollywood's happy endings. The Walking Dead is a more realistic horror/apocalypse story than others (for example Fallout, Resident evil).
    Our world is such terrible and brutal, Robert Kirkman just want to show us what will happened with people if the last rules of morally will falling. TWD is a story about people, only about them. Zombies is just the background, instead of zombies could it be world war, natural disaster, etc.
    A moral apocalypse it's what is waiting for us

  • @zev_zev said: It's just because the whole world is tired of Hollywood's happy endings. The Walking Dead is a more realistic horror/apocalypse story than others (for example Fallout, Resident evil).
    Our world is such terrible and brutal, Robert Kirkman just want to show us what will happened with people if the last rules of morally will falling. TWD is a story about people, only about them. Zombies is just the background, instead of zombies could it be world war, natural disaster, etc.
    A moral apocalypse it's what is waiting for us

    I'm not so sure. There's plenty of darkness in history, but mankind has still found plenty of ways to avoid moral apocalypse even in times of dire distress.

  • @DAISHI said: I'm not so sure. There's plenty of darkness in history, but mankind has still found plenty of ways to avoid moral apocalypse even in times of dire distress.

    Well, try to live in Russia :p I know... I SAW what people can do with people (Im sorry for offtopic topic)

    I just want to say that TWD should't to become a rainbow-pony story, with happy end in Disney style.

    Realism and deep philosophical meaning that's what I like "The Walking Dead" .

  • @zev_zev said: Well, try to live in Russia :p I know... I SAW what people can do with people (Im sorry for offtopic topic)

    I just want to say that TWD should't to become a rainbow-pony story, with happy end in Disney style.

    Realism and deep philosophical meaning that's what I like "The Walking Dead" .

    You do realize that real life is not all pessimism and cynicism. Even in World Wars, there are optimistic stories and happy endings.

  • @Dead Watcher said: You do realize that real life is not all pessimism and cynicism. Even in World Wars, there are optimistic stories and happy endings.

    Yes of course. There are many beautifull things in the world: family, childrens laughter, smile of your lovely woman, sunset...
    Maybe TWD teaches us to appreciate the happiness that we have, but about which we sometimes forget? Sometimes, in order to learn to appreciate something, you must lose it.

  • In terms of being a story telling mechanism, wouldn't it be nice to mix it up a little? It's basically a TWD trope that characters, even well loved ones, are gonna bite the dust. It's like: "Yeah, I get it. The world is dark and shitty." It won't have a lot of impact if this same trope gets reused all the time.

    For Season 2, I am willing to bet the outcry of emotions would be less intense than Season 1. People are gonna get de-sensitized after what happened to Carley, Lee, Katjaa, Duck, Kenny, etc. They know what to expect. They'll think: "Oh, this character looks to be a pretty deep one with lots of potential for development. They won't make it!"

    I don't think anyone is asking for a rainbows and sunshines type of happy endings, but it would be nice to mix it up a little. Have a few more people survive when you least expect it. Make it a bit more suspenseful in that regard. Keep people guessing.

  • I do think however that the protagonist of season 2 should not die in the season finale because after Lee dying it would be predictable to kill off the protagonist again.

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