Out of interest, can either of you guys point to any game that meaningfully customises the story depending on your running choices?
The only game I can think of is Obsidians spy RPG Alpha Protocol, which had a very sophisticated system for decision-making and consequences...but failed to fully realise it, since it was difficult to be emotionally engaged in any of the decisions that you made.
The Walking Dead seems to have been inspired by Alpha Protocol (especially with the timed dialogue system), but improved on the idea by actually making your choices emotionally and intellectually challenging.
Sure, TWD's choices don't end up making massive, story-shaking differences (there are only a couple of games that have ever managed to do that successfully - The Witcher 2 comes to mind, but that's about it). Even so, they definitely feel
like they alter how the other characters think of Lee, especially with the way that characters constantly bring up his past actions in times of crisis. In that sense, when that works, the choices are very well done.
Aside from that, there are moments where your immediate decision doesn't matter. Take the Episode 2 shoot-the-crazy-lady situation: if Lee doesn't pull the trigger, the cannibal will. If you look at that moment callously, with no emotional connection to anything that is going on, you could easily argue that the choice is pointless and didn't need to be in the game, or should have led to different outcomes. However, for those who actually care about the characters and the story, that choice is extremely important - you have to decide what kind of man you want Lee to be.
Is he a cold-blooded murderer, dealing with threats in a practical, emotionless way? Or is he more of a kind-hearted, negotiation-friendly man; a person who is willing to risk his survival for the sake of maintaining his humanity.
Sure, the choice doesn't matter
...but in a setting where ultimately nothing matters, since everyone is going to die anyway, the only thing that matters is the choices that you make and the way you live your life. These choices might not affect the situations in the story all that much, but they certainly affect how the characters and the player view Lee and his relationships to other people...and in a character-focused story, that's possibly about the best thing we can hope for.
*Re-posting edit* Ugh, the rest of my wall of text disappeared. I wrote a paragraph about how the Doug/Carly decision was handled better than anything in Mass Effect 1 and 2 (which are praised for their decisions, but handled consequences hilariously badly), and...I forget.
I think my general point was that it was a good first effort, and that no other company (besides CDPR) has really managed to do divergent stories properly?