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Less of the living, more of the dead in S2

posted by Robert Morgan on - last edited - Viewed by 584 users

Something I noticed while flipping through the latest comic issue of THE WALKING DEAD is that the living tend to be a much greater threat to Rick's group than the actual zombies. Kirkman probably intended this to be ironic, but when story after story tends to be less about humans vs. zombies and more about humans just being assholes to one another, the title of the series starts becoming a little redundant.

Look, I get it: When the system goes belly-up, most people would probably exploit a lawless world to their own ends rather than trying to re-establish civilization. This isn't anything new in the zombie genre. Hell, the group in Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD basically fucked themselves over because they were unable to work together as a team.

But we're not dealing with a feature film, we're dealing with a story stretched out over multiple episodes. Having selfish/desperate humans act as the antagonists chapter after chapter can become even more depressing and dreary for the player than dealing with hordes of the undead.

I'd personally like to see the next season take place further along the WD timeline, where there are almost no living humans left (at least within driving distance) aside from your little group, and the only outside menace you need to worry about is the menace responsible for the apocalypse in the first place. It would make the atmosphere twice as intense and claustrophobic, IMO - almost more like Romero's original movies than anything made after 28 DAYS LATER.

Those are my thoughts, anyway.

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  • @Rock114 said: I like humans being the antagonists. Personally, I'd like a "Governor" type character to be the main antagonist of Season 2, someone we know is actively trying to kill us/take what we have. Not like the walkie dude who we only got a few bits of before the very end, but someone who we have seen, know who they are, and know that they want us dead.

    ^This. Please Telltale this!

  • I like a good mix.

    I want zombies in my zombie apocalypse, but at the same time human antags add drama and story value if done right.

  • I think we should have more zombie-related deaths. In the main group, only Doug/Carley, Duck, Chuck and Kenny got killed by zombies.

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    zjs

    @Jaded X Gamer said: I feel one undead element missing from the Walking Dead game is there wasn't really much of the angst involved with seeing people you know come back as zombies. At least not people you liked anyways. There's the Clementine nightmare, but it's just a nightmare. Duck is either shot or left behind before he turns. You see Brie come back, but I don't think many of us really liked her all that much.

    The drug store in episode three seemed like a really natural place to have a moment like that. Instead of the helicopter pilot guy it should have been a zombified Doug or Carley (whichever got left behind). Then when you get back to the motor inn you could talk to whichever one survived about what you saw.

    Honestly the governor just annoyed me. He's so ridiculously over the top he might as well have been wearing a sandwich board sign that read "I am a bad guy! LOL!" I know there are horrible people out there, but I feel that having someone so transparently evil actually kinda kills the drama and in these kinds of stories I find some moral conflict is more interesting than the traditional good/evil dichotomy.

    I actually liked the stranger because he does have some kind of legitimate grievance. He ballooned that out into a crazy revenge fantasy that really only made sense to him, but it did start with something that was effectively a rock and a hard place decision. Imagine if it was flipped flopped. If someone stole all your supplies, you go after them, kill a bunch of them only to realize they were just a bunch of starving people with kids who didn't know what else to do.

    Lee's brother? Clementine's parents?

    On that point: why didn't Chuck reanimate? You find him half eaten in the sewers.

    It works very well when it relates to losing someone. The finale draws a lot of its emotion from losing Lee to turning; the scene with Duck draws its emotions from the same base and the scene in the meat locker is so charged because of it. I think telltale are actually more skilful in using this sadness/expectation to tell the story, without resorting to the funfair ghost train style of 'shock horror' that results from the actual turning. I mean, all it adds is a "totally unexpected" change in which the character scrambles away before being forced to brutally kill the new walker.

    I agree on The Governor. His character, in the t.v. series at least, is antagonistic almost for the sake of it. Every action is ludicrously over the top. An injured stranger? CUT OFF HIS HEAD AND KEEP IT IN A JAR. A group of seemingly friendly, militarily trained men? PUMP ALL OF OUR AMMO INTO EACH OF THEM BEFORE EVEN TRYING TO TALK etc. However much anyone tries to justify it with the 'he was just making sure they didn't attack' baloney; the only justifiable response is that he's deranged and almost comically over the top. Not killing the injured man and then speaking to his unit would've - I'm almost certain - yielded many more well trained members of Woodbury. Instead, the guys are completely ambushed and surrounded so there's no threat, and yet they shoot without even bothering to talk to them.

    This was why Kenny wasn't my 'bro' so much as he was a very effective storytelling tool and one of the best character arcs. He follows a 'protect my family at all costs' path, becoming more and more pragmatic and willing to get his hands dirty, and loses them all despite this, causing him to re-evaluate himself and his choices. It's what Shane's character in the series should have been and started out as, before he went full evil.

    The supplies weren't really the crux of it though. That he was more of a lunatic, and not too dissimilar to the woman in the camp who saw themselves as Clem's protector was the meat of it, really. The supplies were a nice attempt to tie it in, and shocked me a lot at first with the reveal, but they were more of a secondary grievance to his paranoid delusions.

  • @zjs said: On that point: why didn't Chuck reanimate? You find him half eaten in the sewers.

    He shot himself in the head with his last bullet. At least that's what Lee mutters when he finds his body in the sewers.

  • @zjs said: Lee's brother? Clementine's parents?

    I think the problem with them is we never really got meet them before they reanimate. I do agree those were great scenes. Well Lee's brother was. With Clem's parents it seemed kinda odd they were still together after death. (Guess they took different wedding vows.) With them I thought it would have made more sense to see the dad at the hospital, where he likely died and see the mother later somewhere else. Maybe even find a clue on the dad that suggested the mother did make it, only to crush it later in the crowd.

    But back on point, yeah they use the threat of people coming back as zombies to great dramatic effect, I'm not arguing that. I guess I really just wanted one instance of someone you liked and interacted with at length to come back as a zombie and you have to finish them off. Just once would have been plenty. Like I said, Doug or Carley coming back as a zombie in the drug store would have been interesting. Or Chuck even. (Lee mentions Chuck probably shot himself, which is why he didn't come back.)

    And yeah, I know the supplies being taken was just the jumping off point for the Stranger's insanity. I was saying I'd like to build on that though, specifically how difficult decisions could create conflict between groups of otherwise normal individuals. Have someone with a real beef who doesn't go crazy. Or try to prod the player into acting crazy like the stranger, maybe through a series of seemingly evil things happen to them only to reveal there were non-evil reasons behind it.

  • @Kaserkin said: I think we should have more zombie-related deaths. In the main group, only Doug/Carley, Duck, Chuck and Kenny got killed by zombies.

    Ben and Lee.

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    zjs

    @Jaded X Gamer said: I think the problem with them is we never really got meet them before they reanimate. I do agree those were great scenes. Well Lee's brother was. With Clem's parents it seemed kinda odd they were still together after death. (Guess they took different wedding vows.) With them I thought it would have made more sense to see the dad at the hospital, where he likely died and see the mother later somewhere else. Maybe even find a clue on the dad that suggested the mother did make it, only to crush it later in the crowd.

    But back on point, yeah they use the threat of people coming back as zombies to great dramatic effect, I'm not arguing that. I guess I really just wanted one instance of someone you liked and interacted with at length to come back as a zombie and you have to finish them off. Just once would have been plenty. Like I said, Doug or Carley coming back as a zombie in the drug store would have been interesting. Or Chuck even. (Lee mentions Chuck probably shot himself, which is why he didn't come back.)

    And yeah, I know the supplies being taken was just the jumping off point for the Stranger's insanity. I was saying I'd like to build on that though, specifically how difficult decisions could create conflict between groups of otherwise normal individuals. Have someone with a real beef who doesn't go crazy. Or try to prod the player into acting crazy like the stranger, maybe through a series of seemingly evil things happen to them only to reveal there were non-evil reasons behind it.

    I think we can agree that both the parents being together and the Stranger can be chalked up to the hasty writing in episode V. There was no reason not to have inserted the parents into their own separate scene; perhaps in one of the rooms in the (strangely deserted) hotel. Would've added more to it.

    Now, let me know if you know any better (as with Chuck), but is there any particular reason for the shift in focus from Clem's parents to the Stranger, beyond his sinister 'you're here soon' message and his later kidnap of Clem? It seemed to me that the majority of the story had always been heading towards finding Clem's parents (right from when you first meet her), which is often clarified and reiterated. Given that Clem and Lee are the central focus, and that Lee's family are done and dusted before the end of episode I, this is logical. However, the story suddenly shifts to the Stranger and her parents become an afterthought - a five second cut scene, shambling together amongst a horde of walkers. Even the aftermath is awful, with Clem supposedly dragging Lee somewhere safe

    --- this is completely off topic, but relates. I've seen people criticise animations such as the car battery in the bag and the blowtorch in the back pocket, but these were largely animation based while Clem dragging Lee wasn't just an artistic error; it was a real suspension of belief ---

    I know what you're driving at, but what I'm really saying is that it worked better not having this happen. Duck might not be a character you really cared about, but he was important in the story and within the group. His death really is an emotional scene, not least because it encompasses Katja's suicide. I can't help but feel a lot of that poignancy would be lost if you went from choosing who should do it to his reanimation and a subsequent QT event. My Lee was one of the 5% of Lee's who never got a bullet in his head, but a reanimated character such as Lee would also have cheapened the emotional impact somewhat. Can't think of any other character they could have done it with, given that you're out of the pharmacy very soon after saving Carley/Doug.

    It would be good to see the shoe on the other foot; but you'd really need to see real, impacting, determinable, choice for that to actually work.

  • @zjs said: I think we can agree that both the parents being together and the Stranger can be chalked up to the hasty writing in episode V. There was no reason not to have inserted the parents into their own separate scene; perhaps in one of the rooms in the (strangely deserted) hotel. Would've added more to it.

    Now, let me know if you know any better (as with Chuck), but is there any particular reason for the shift in focus from Clem's parents to the Stranger, beyond his sinister 'you're here soon' message and his later kidnap of Clem? It seemed to me that the majority of the story had always been heading towards finding Clem's parents (right from when you first meet her), which is often clarified and reiterated. Given that Clem and Lee are the central focus, and that Lee's family are done and dusted before the end of episode I, this is logical. However, the story suddenly shifts to the Stranger and her parents become an afterthought - a five second cut scene, shambling together amongst a horde of walkers. Even the aftermath is awful, with Clem supposedly dragging Lee somewhere safe

    --- this is completely off topic, but relates. I've seen people criticise animations such as the car battery in the bag and the blowtorch in the back pocket, but these were largely animation based while Clem dragging Lee wasn't just an artistic error; it was a real suspension of belief ---

    I know what you're driving at, but what I'm really saying is that it worked better not having this happen. Duck might not be a character you really cared about, but he was important in the story and within the group. His death really is an emotional scene, not least because it encompasses Katja's suicide. I can't help but feel a lot of that poignancy would be lost if you went from choosing who should do it to his reanimation and a subsequent QT event. My Lee was one of the 5% of Lee's who never got a bullet in his head, but a reanimated character such as Lee would also have cheapened the emotional impact somewhat. Can't think of any other character they could have done it with, given that you're out of the pharmacy very soon after saving Carley/Doug.

    It would be good to see the shoe on the other foot; but you'd really need to see real, impacting, determinable, choice for that to actually work.

    I think you misunderstand me when I said I wanted to see a scene where someone we knows comes back. Or maybe I misspoke when I said there wasn't enough angst over loved ones becoming zombies. I wasn't suggesting the scene with Duck or Larry or Lee or anyone should have been changed to accommodate that, I wouldn't want them changed. I was just saying I'd like there to be a scene where that happens, but the ones where it didn't happen were done for a reason and I agree, there were done masterfully.

    But I still think one instance of seeing that happen, seeing someone you got to know for a while and grew to like now shambling around as a zombie, helps drive home the idea that everyone ends up as the dead eventually. I feel there were a few moments where it would have been a natural fit. Specifically the pharmacy in episode three, not episode one. Where that zombie in the helicopter pilot gear attacks, it feels like the could have just as easily been a zombie model of Carley or Doug. That or that zombie at the end of the sewers could have been a zombie Chuck instead of finding Chuck on the ground already dead. In both cases I think they could have added a little emotional impact to what is, as of now, just another zombie attack.

    As for the shift between Clem's parents and the Stranger, it feels like there was kind of a missing connection they were driving at. Specifically the Stranger said he had Clem's parents so that's why she probably ran off to him. I think maybe they were expecting the audience to just accept Clem's parents were probably dead by this point and that people were already focused on Lee being Clem's foster parent, and didn't anticipate some people would still earnestly want to find them so late in the game. So the "shift" was actually challenging your claim as Clem's parent, but for people who hadn't given up on finding her actual parents, it would seem jarring.

    I've seen a lot of playthroughs where people assumed that straight from the answering machine message that Clem's parents were dead. I guess I was one of the few deluded fools who hoped maybe the mother was still alive. We don't hear her die and there was gun fire, so somebody was fighting back. She was a doctor, she certainly would be valuable to a group of survivors if she didn't die. So I still wanted to find some sign of her parents even after Crawford but I don't think the story was written to anticipate that, I think they assumed with the boat ready and with the time you already spent with Clem most people were ready to just move on.

    I guess you could chalk it up to Lee himself already believing he was a father to Clementine. If you pick the "Walk away" option for Vernon he becomes furious. I was actually considering his offer. I figured maybe Lee and Clem could both stay with Vernon. That way we could stay in Savannah and maybe find out what happened to Clem's parents and there be enough room for everyone on Kenny's boat. (I've been wary of boats in ZA's ever since the remake of Dawn of the Dead. :p)

    Still, if the point was for Lee to give up on finding Clem's parents and that's why she runs off to the Stranger who lied and said he had them, I think it could have been made more clearly. Like the option to finally tell Clem about what you heard on the answering machine or point out the obvious that it's been months and even if they were alive they likely moved elsewhere. She could argue against that, clearly in denial about the possibility of them being dead, and that'd make her running off with the stranger a little more clear. Instead the scene we got kinda sounds like Lee can't look for Clem's parents because of inconvenient timing, what with the boat nearly being ready.

    And for the record, I'm probably one of the few people who liked Duck from the beginning. An annoying energetic ten year old made things feel like normal. It took me forever to finally pull the trigger on him. :(

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