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Was killing Lee a mistake?

posted by Robert Morgan on - last edited - Viewed by 828 users

I'm not talking in the short-term sense, as there's no doubt the ending was the one thing most people remembered about the game. But in long-term, it sort of put Telltale in a bind when it came to continuing the story.

You have to view these games almost like an interactive TV show (an aesthetic approach Telltale themselves confirmed when they referred to the next series as "season 2", not to mention the "Previously on the Walking Dead/Next Time on the Walking Dead" clips seen at the beginning and end of each episode). In TV shows, the lead protagonist doesn't usually die. Not at the end of the first season, anyway.

I think it's somewhat safe to assume the Telltale writing team is probably jumping through the same hoops we are in terms of what to do next. We've speculated almost a dozen different ways about who the lead in season 2 could be, and every idea, no matter what it is, has come with its share of problems.

I know that even suggesting this out loud will get me lynched, but I can't help wondering if Telltale will reveal story events from Lee's bite onwards was just a nightmare Clementine had, just to bypass all the headaches they're probably having to go through in story sessions. To be honest, I wouldn't blame them. :o

31 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • It's been said before on here, but my main concern with a new protagonist is how they will interact with the characters from S1. If I had a certain relationship with Clem as Lee, for example, I wouldn't be able to have the same relationship with a new PC. The new PC will have a different understanding/opinion of certain characters than Lee's (and mine).

    That's just my concern anyway. I don't at all doubt Telltale's ability to successfully continue the series. Season 1 was one of the best video games I've ever played, so I have a lot of faith in them.

  • What you have to think is, The zombies always prevail noone can survive forever. So when the new walking dead game comes out i guess we cant have much high hopes :( Although its awsome playing the game and having it toy with your emotions as it rips your favorite characters apart...

  • My concern is that they're never going to hit the same emotional reaction in Season 2, and will be looked down upon for it... unless they kill Clem anyway. Every moment from here on is going to be compared to Lee's demise, so they are going to need to really do well to try and get past that.

  • I really think that was big mistake... Lee died, and with him part of me, he was ME in the game, and my choices making Him doing anything... I would be happy if he SOMEHOW survived :D. Or something like troll season 2 beginning : Lee wakes up in the house from ep 4, next to clem and realize that was dream or Waking up after Amputation :D

  • @Yertos said: It makes for a great game, but it will be tough to play anyone else in Season 2 because it wasn't like we were playing Lee, we WERE Lee and they killed us off. I have confidence that Telltale knows what they're doing, but I have a bad feeling it won't be the same.

    Couldn't agree more, sigh.

  • TTG killing off Lee was good if it were the end of the series. But to try to make a second season to top the first will be difficult. I don't know how they are going to do it, especially if any season 1 characters are involved. To my knowledge they never had a second season in mind when they wrote the first one; so they probably don't know themselves how to start the new season. It will probably be a very long time before we see season 2.

  • I just have to say watch us all get trolled in season 2 xD. I mean, TWD is carrying the saves over to season 2, meaning certain choices matter. So what if you could still save Lee? What if, if you made the right choices, he ends up being in the game alive? Or better yet, on the hilltop with another unconfirmed character like Molly or Kenny, depending on your decisions? Or just a random person/generic if you failed the requirements. What if making the wrong decisions end up with him becoming undead and killing your PC?

    Let me explain ;)

    You can cut off his arm early on in ch 5. Then you can choose not to handcuff him, and not to shoot him. He no longer has the bite, can now move if he gets better, and can escape with the door now unlocked. And if he needs some help we have other characters that are unknown that could come to the rescue (if blood loss was problem or magically immune :D) I think it would be interesting and would mess with a lot of heads to have Lee come back alive, even if just for a few minutes speaking with the PC before being truly killed off. That'd make me feel accomplished.

    I know it sounds like a long shot but you have to admit there is almost no way Clem could have rescued Lee, carrying him into that store. Maybe she got help? Or maybe someone distracted the zombies to give her enough time to get them to safety?(because I think someone falling over would attract zombies!)

    I think what we did will affect Lee somehow in the future. Even if minuscule.

    As a whole if Lee is absolutely dead without any trace of doubt than I'd say it wasn't a mistake. He went out like the badass we all knew he was. He saved a little girl that wasn't his but thought of as his own. He risked his life countless times for her, and to me, that was a good enough send off. Despite being a believer of the "I love you" discussion, I think killing Lee in this way was a good job. In my eyes, he has redeemed himself, and I think, if only for a little while, was truly happy with Clem.

  • @BlackBoxx said: It definitely threw a wrench in the machine, but I don't think it was a mistake. First of all, it seems Lee was not the main character of the series. That would be Clementine. Lee was the player avatar. There is a difference. If the game let us play as Clementine from the beginning, it would be a rather uneventful game. She spends most of the time waiting in "safe" zones.

    That, and the story was about her growing and becoming prepared to take care of herself. Notice how we skipped Lee's training between episode 1 and 2? His (our) growth wasn't important to show, but whenever he passed on his knowledge, the game let us know that Clementine will remember.

    Killing Lee off allows Telltale to come up with a new character to learn about in the same manner. Sure, it might be odd seeing familiar faces and having the player's initial reaction be something that should be associated with Lee and there's a risk of it feeling too similar, but it's not impossible to make it work.

    I'm going to wait (anxiously) for season 2 to see just how good the writing team actually is. If they can make season 2 just as memorable as season 1, then I'll be stoked.


    When the game started out it wasn't intended to be part of a series. Telltale made the decision to do another season later down the line but wanted to stick with their original story and game ending. Lee was definitely the protagonist of the first game.

    Telltale challanged conventions by killing of their protagonist. This happens in movies but does not really happen in ongoing stories. Eli was the the protagonist of "The book of Eli" as was the Viggo Mortensen character in "The road" movie. The stories centre around them. We see the world through their eyes. We learn what is going on in the walking dead game through Lee's experiences not Clementine's. Clementine was aware of the outbreak before Lee was in the way that Duane was aware of the outbreak before Rick Grimes. Lee even narrates at the end of the first episode when he talks about the walkers starving them out in the preview for episode 2.

    Clementine's role in the walking dead game was to act as our/Lee's morale compass. "From the beginning, the designers knew they wanted a character that would act as a moral compass for the main character as he progressed through the game," art director David Sakai said. "The designers envisioned a smart, honest, and capable girl around eight years old."(Game informer interview with Telltale art director-http://www.polygon.com/2012/12/26/3805442/the-walking-dead-story-clementine-telltale)

    As to Whether or not I think it was a mistake to kill of the main character/protagonist, I think that decision is fine if the story ends there but it's not a good idea if you have a change of heart and decide to continue the story. Telltale now, have a herculean task of establishing a new protagonist in a continuing story, particularly if they are expected to bond with Clementine in a belivable way. I would bet my bottom dollar that they wouldn't of killed off Lee if they knew that they were going to do more than one walking dead game when starting the project.

    When other game developers decide to add to franchises after the death of protagonists they often end up doing prequels because they can't take the protagonist's story any further like with God of war assension and the new Metal gear games Konami have planned but as Telltale don't have that option I think it will be intersting to see where they go from here.

  • Well they've shot themselves quite an arrow to the knee (I know people get tired of that... :D ), since a 2nd season wasn't planned right away, but from what I've seen I think if anyone can find a way that perfectly makes sense to continue the story, it would be them, I'll wait for it, and I'll play it, even if it will turn out to be a little odd, or something, I know they will deliver a overall great game, maybe with some plotholes due to this little problem we face here, but they'll manage...

  • @Crixus said: It was the right ending,Lee had to die so Clem could continue his legacy herself. Although i think TTG should not kill off the season 2 protagonist because after Lee dying everyone will be expecting the next protagonist to die aswell.


    If by legacy you mean Lee's teaching, then his death was not necessary for her to apply what he taught her. Lee's death was for emotional impact. It made the story more sad for us playing the game. Lee's death would only of furthered her development if she was going to be living on her own. She had already experienced dealing with separation and loss when she lost her parents.

    I don't imagine Clementine being on her own for long, especially if Omid and Christa were the people we saw on the hill. If she does reunite with them her role in the group would be the same as it was in season one. She would be under their protection as before.

    I say this to say that Lee's death was powerful, it was emotional but it was not necessary for Clementine's development. It was necessary to make the saddest story, which was telltale's goal way before they planned to do another season.

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