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A Father's Influence: Clem vs Emily

posted by double_u on - last edited - Viewed by 318 users

:spoil-o: I have tried to keep spoilers for the game Dishonored to a minimum, but there are some. :spoil-o:

These questions are for everyone of course, though my comparison might make more sense to people who played Dishonored (highly recommend). My questions are: do you think you actually influenced Clem as a role model and do you feel that Clem's behaviour reflected the choices you made in the game?

In Dishonored, you also take a father figure role to an orphan girl name Emily, though in this case you had been a bodyguard to her family since she was a baby. One of the game mechanics is that your actions, such as how violent you are towards others, would influence the way Emily behaves. This manifests in little things from the stuff she draws (e.g. messed up violent shit) or the things she will say. Eventually, this will have a major impact on the game's endings as Emily plays a big role in each of the endings.

While Dishonored isn't as narrative driven as TWD IMHO, it certainly does make it clear that you are Emily's role model and the game does "reward" you by clearly portraying how she was influenced.

In TWD, I get the sense players simply saw Lee as a father figure to Clem, and probably many of us played in a way to be a role model to her. However, unlike Dishonored, I'm starting to feel that our influence on her is limited. Clem basically does whatever is scripted: she believes in the Stranger even if you tell her bluntly and repeatedly her parents are dead, she runs off from the house whether you tried to baby her or make her more proactive throughout the game. I understand these examples are necessary to move the plot forward, but I wonder if the game could have shown more little things that reflect our actions through her behaviour. It seems the only real influence we have is whether or not she pulls the trigger if you decide to stay mute in the jewelry store. Ultimately, even that could be overridden by player's telling Clem what to do so we might not know what she would've done herself.

Now, don't get me wrong. I do like the relationship between Lee and Clem and think it's an emotional and well-portrayed one. And the game does try to show Lee as a father figure to Clem, such as teaching her to shoot or telling her to be brave. But do you feel that ultimately Clem's actions are basically, like much of the game, more or less railroaded and perhaps could've shown more of Lee's influence? Hopefully, we'll see more of Lee's legacy in Clem's life in season 2.

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  • I don't know how to answer this question... I've never played dishonored, though I've heard great things (but somehow it lost to TWD game :P) In the game, how you act to her does change how she acts (if you kill the St. Johns, and other choices toward killing people, Clementine kinda gets the impression that such things is okay. If you cuss in episode 1 when Clementine talks about the barn smelling, she isn't as reluctant or abhors Lee cussing as much, and in ep2 when Duck says is smells, she replies "Like shit! Right Lee?" If you praise her just jumping into things like coming to the river without your permission and letting her just go through the doggie door, she kinda takes it into ther own hands/ gains a more rash character, acting before thinking. There are small changes and inferences in Clementine's behavior and attitude towards you and other people. However, it isn't a huge change, nor is it (so far) a great influence on Clem. Seeing as how some of the crucial decisions for Clem are made with Lee in the last 5 minutes, the game hasn't yet gone into how Lee's actions truly affect her. I hope it does, or otherwise, you could run rampant, cursing off anyone you want, killing off characters, and just be a jackass without worrying about Clem always being right behind you 0.o, making you think morally.

    All in all, there are small influences, but nothing major except well, Lee's death of silence. So yeah, I can only hope next season brings a bigger impact, and allows our Clem to become a mini Lee in a sense. I think it'd be funny and cute to see Clementine to grow up and learn from Lee's teachings(good or bad) and becomes a very important character next season.

  • I actually agree. Also...

    Emily can die if you fuck up hard enough.

  • Well, I certainly feel like there's room for improvements regarding character reactions, Clementine included. Especially regarding what Lee taught her about killing or not killing people. It seems like how she reacts to shooting the stranger would have been a good place to show the outcome of such teachings. For example, if you had told her killing the St. Johns was just because they were bad maybe she isn't as upset, and if you tell her killing is wrong no mater on the train she breaks down crying for a bit.

    Seeing as I've haven't played Dishonored and don't plan to, I can't really comment on it, but the example you listed seemed a little silly to me.

    @double_u said: In Dishonored, you also take a father figure role to an orphan girl name Emily, though in this case you had been a bodyguard to her family since she was a baby. One of the game mechanics is that your actions, such as how violent you are towards others, would influence the way Emily behaves. This manifests in little things from the stuff she draws (e.g. messed up violent shit) or the things she will say. Eventually, this will have a major impact on the game's endings as Emily plays a big role in each of the endings.

    Forgive me if I'm wrong, but are you so influential on this Emily girl that she basically becomes different characters? Because that sounds like she's just an extension of the player character, and not a complete character herself. I think one of the things that has made the Walking Dead game so popular is the strength of the characters in it and that you don't actually control them.

    They're so strong they actually influence the player at times. Clementine in particular seems to constantly influence how people play. I notice on almost every Let's Play I see, if Clem is in Crawford her vote to keep Ben usually prevents them from choosing to vote Ben out. And that's hardly the only example. How Kenny treated Lee throughout the game definitely felt influential.

    I'll agree that there are times it feels like you're forced into certain reactions and such, but overall I really like how character interactions were handled in the game and not being an all powerful influence actually makes the connections with said characters feel more powerful.

    For a personal example I found Lilly's betrayal incredibly painful on my first playthrough. That I was given to choice to support and trust her and still be betrayed was incredibly startling and made me think I was far too forgiving of people. I don't think it would have been the same if the right combination of words and actions changed Lilly to be a better person.

  • @Jaded X Gamer said:
    Forgive me if I'm wrong, but are you so influential on this Emily girl that she basically becomes different characters? Because that sounds like she's just an extension of the player character, and not a complete character herself. I think one of the things that has made the Walking Dead game so popular is the strength of the characters in it and that you don't actually control them.

    Yes and no. I suppose calling the main character a bodyguard is somewhat of an understatement for the game's setting and the PC's official position as Royal Protector. For all intents and purposes, the player character acts as Emily's political tutor and bodyguard and father figure. Emily herself is the last surviving heir to the throne whose being hunted down by political enemies, so she would basically be looking to the PC for guidance on a lot of things. Plus, most 10 year old children would certainly be influenced in how they act by their fathers.

    The setting itself also contributes to how Emily develops as a character. She lives is dystopian Industrial Revolution world undergoing a devastating plague outbreak that turns people into zombies before they finally die. The government reaction is to kill anyone that might be infected. The PC's actions could also lead to more violent government retaliations which in turn lead to more zombies.

    The PC's actions in dealing with these problems and the way he deals with political intrigue all influence how Emily views the world and how to solve its problems. A Machiavellian PC who decides killing opponents would increasingly turn Emily into a Machiavellian herself, so yeah, the PC does have a lot of influence though it's not unrealistic given the setting.

    However, there are certain things that the PC could do that would utterly break Emily's heart, who does look to the PC as a father (in some of her drawings, she calls the PC "dad" and it's heavily implied that Emily is the PC's illegitimate daughter) that would lead to the outcome mentioned by anonymau5. So Emily does show that she could be her own person.

    What I find similar in both games is that there are a lot of bonding moments between the father figure and the daughter. Where they differ is the observable influence each father figure has. One of the things I noticed on the forums is that a lot of players seem to have an expectation that Lee had a lot of influence on Clem, but after playing Dishonored, that doesn't seem the case after comparing the two. I'm not saying either approach is wrong or unrealistic, and it's fine for Clem to be more independently minded as some children are, but I will say that Lee doesn't seem to have as much influence as a father figure than some players may hope. It's also an expectation that I think TTG has encouraged through the storyline but ultimately had to "railroad" a lot of what Clem does. But then again, there seems to be an expectation that Clem would really show Lee's influences during season 2.

  • @Mark$man said: I don't know how to answer this question... I've never played dishonored, though I've heard great things (but somehow it lost to TWD game :P)

    Dishonored was the game I rooted for GOTY until I played TWD. :) If you have a chance, check it out. Narrative might not be as emotionally charged as TWD, but story is good and the gameplay is solid, especially if you have a thing for fighting with a sword in one hand and a matchlock in the other. :D

  • @double_u said: Yes and no. I suppose calling the main character a bodyguard is somewhat of an understatement for the game's setting and the PC's official position as Royal Protector. For all intents and purposes, the player character acts as Emily's political tutor and bodyguard and father figure. Emily herself is the last surviving heir to the throne whose being hunted down by political enemies, so she would basically be looking to the PC for guidance on a lot of things. Plus, most 10 year old children would certainly be influenced in how they act by their fathers.

    The setting itself also contributes to how Emily develops as a character. She lives is dystopian Industrial Revolution world undergoing a devastating plague outbreak that turns people into zombies before they finally die. The government reaction is to kill anyone that might be infected. The PC's actions could also lead to more violent government retaliations which in turn lead to more zombies.

    The PC's actions in dealing with these problems and the way he deals with political intrigue all influence how Emily views the world and how to solve its problems. A Machiavellian PC who decides killing opponents would increasingly turn Emily into a Machiavellian herself, so yeah, the PC does have a lot of influence though it's not unrealistic given the setting.

    The setting sounds fairly ridiculous to be frank. :p
    Another thing I liked about the Walking Dead is it just asks you to accept that zombies wrecked the world and everything else is just how people deal with it and the problems that brings.

    But I digress. Without playing it I don't know. But you said in Dishonored you were guarding this girl for ten years? Lee has only been with Clem for a few months, and she still holds out hope to find her real parents who have raised her for nearly nine years. Even if you were "railroaded" with how Clem acts I don't think Lee should have been as drastic an influence as you seem to be suggesting.

    And I think there are already a lot of good differences in how Clem acts. At the St. Johns if you push her on the swing, she sees you off when Lee goes off with Dan. If you didn't, she just watches Lee leave without a word. She remembers how you described the smell in the barn at Hershel's. If you look at the stranger's corpse she recalls what you told her at the train station. If your plan on the train was to go off with just her she brings it up when they split at the manor and again when waiting on the boat to be fixed. I'd like to see more outcomes of course but Clementine shouldn't drastically change anymore than we, the players, should from interacting with the characters for such short periods of time.

  • I don't feel we have any real feedback that our choices shape Clem.

    Making her a survivor seems the only real end path.

    Of course, to be fair, Emily's development is very binary and polar opposite.

  • @DreadMagus said: I don't feel we have any real feedback that our choices shape Clem.

    Making her a survivor seems the only real end path.

    Of course, to be fair, Emily's development is very binary and polar opposite.

    I think that is the only end path in this setting. But I get what you're saying. We don't know what kind of survivor we've molded her into and I agree, that feels a little frustrating. I always felt me telling Clem there's a difference between killing in defense and what Lee did in the past should have come back into play at some point.

    Small point of order, the first half of the game really feels more like you're just trying to protect Clem and it's not until Chuck prods you into preparing her for the worst that you take a more proactive approach in teaching her. But it does feel like you're given limited flex room in that regard.

  • Exactly.

    Are we grooming a survivor, a leader, a mini-molly or a carl-wannabe?

    Of course, maybe it's because their original goal was one season, that it seems so vague.

  • I think Clem probably influenced my choices and behavior more than I did hers. From not taking the supplies in the car, not killing the St Johns, keeping Ben in the group and saving him in the belltower, all these things and more were influenced by what Clementine would have wanted.

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