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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 196 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
  • 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.

  • @Robert Morgan said: 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.


    SOME SPOILERS FOR MASS EFFECT 3 FOLLOW.
    No. This is not why there was the backlash against Mass Effect 3. The fact remains that the vast majority (pretty much everyone) had only one ending in mind: Defeating the Reapers. To what degree it was expected would vary, thereby creating multiple endings, but there was never any expectation to have ending choices. The problem with Mass Effect 3's ending was not at all anything to do with what happened, it was simply the execution. Stupid plot twists can be called stupid plot twists, but if they are handled well enough then most audiences are willing to push it aside. Why? Because of the execution. Take Mass Effect 2, a game that throws an ending that really does nothing in the larger scale of the trilogy storyline, but still is regarded as one of the best endings of all time. Yes, there are a massive assortment of variables associated with who can die and whatnot in the final mission, but there is still really only one ending, and it doesn't have much effect on the overall story arc. That entire mission is almost entirely dependent on its execution, which BioWare handled tremendously well. When it came to Mass Effect 3, they dropped the ball and threw it into a fiery chasm from which it will never return. The Extended Cut slightly budged it because of its slightly improved execution, but it is still in there because the rest of the finale is still the same crappy job that was originally there. My point being, the ending to a story, even an interactive one, can be whatever it wants to be so long as it is treated right (I mean obviously they should strive to make it REALLY really good, but this is still true even for an ending that may not actually be that great). In Telltale's case, all of The Walking Dead game was near flawlessly executed, even if some of the scenes may seem like "Oh well Ben now has to die to serve the story." (and those are literally unavoidable in storytelling so people shouldn't look down on them because they happen) we are able to ignore this as an audience because of the execution (no pun intended ;) ).

    To answer the question though, the darkness is perfect where its at right now: Bitter. And then every once in awhile you toss in a No Time Left or Issue #100.

  • Ah I know they're doing their best to make it as close to reality, where anything is possible... but I just hope it won't be as dark as it is in the comics. It would be nice to add more twists though, I didn't really expect the owner of the station wagon to seek revenge on Lee xD

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