Coming Soon: The Walking Dead

By Shamus
on Nov 25, 2012
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

walking_dead.jpg

What if you took the choice and conversation wheel gameplay of (say) Dragon Age or Mass Effect, and made that into a game all by itself? No shooter combat. No classes. No equipment. You just talk and make decisions. The whole time.

Telltale Games has done it, and the result is basically a new genre of videogame. Yes, on the surface it’s mechanically similar to Sam & Max or the Strongbad adventure games. But making it a serious, drama-based story with gut-wrenching choices creates a very different experience.

The game is based on the Comic series by Robert Kirkman, and features brief cameos of existing characters. There’s also a TV series based on the same material, which I hated because it’s way too much a soap opera of idiots and jackasses. I watched the first several episodes and didn’t connect with a single character.

The entire Spoiler Warning cast has played through the game by this point. I realize the game is a bit “new” by the standards of our show, but this is an important game and we all have stuff to say about it. If you’re looking to play along at home, the game is available right now on Steam for less than $20. It’s an innovative high-quality game that weighs in around twelve to fifteen hours. I punch those numbers into my calculator and it makes a happy face.

We normally take a couple of weeks off from Spoiler Warning when we finish a season, but we’re rolling straight into The Walking Dead. Buckle up.

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A Hundred!A Hundred!207227 COMMENTS? What are you people talking about?!?

From the Archives:

  1. Monojono says:

    Ooh, just bought this in a steam flash sale, now I get to play along with spoiler warning for the first time!

    • newdarkcloud says:

      Me too. But now I’ll have to hurry up and play it!

      Time waits for no man.

    • Zukhramm says:

      Yeah, I’ll finally to that too. I thought I would with AC2 but I just couldn’t be bothered after the first couple of missions.

    • lowlymarine says:

      Yup, me too. I almost passed on it to wait for it to get cheaper, but I figured it might be the next Spoiler Warning so I decided to pull the trigger. Glad I did, both because so far it’s an excellent game, and because I won’t have to sit out this SW until I’ve played it! Had to do that with much of DX:HR, and it made me sad.

      • j0rdm31s73r says:

        I played along during the DX:HR season, but didn’t like it. I couldn’t really keep up with the pace, so I had to actually schedule playing games. it wasn’t a relaxing experience.

    • Isy says:

      Just bought it because of Shamus’ twitter and now Spoiler Warning. Why did I think I should do that? I have an intense personal fear of zombies. I hate you, Shamus. Tempting me with “innovation” and “good writing”.

  2. Halfling says:

    Glad there is not a break between seasons. Sad that you guys are doing another grim dark depressing game.

    I am interested to see this though, I personally have not been compelled to check out anything Walking Dead related. Everyone keeps telling me how great the show/game is and typically I always feel let down by that sort of thing.

    • Chris says:

      While the game’s certainly somewhat depressing and grim, I’m actually hopeful that the actual season will be a lot cheerier than last. Pretty much everyone on the cast really enjoyed their time with the game. While we each have our individual complaints about what doesn’t work or could be done better so far we’re definitely having a more interesting dialog than the near-instant “let’s shit on anything the game tries to do at all” vibe from Mass Effect 3. We’re not so focused on pointing out pedantic plot holes or bungled metaphors; we’re talking about characters, comparing the game to other games, complimenting parts of the game, critiquing others, comparing how things turned out in this playthrough to how we each experienced it, etc.

      • Deadpool says:

        I’m also glad you guys are trying a timed decisions game. It gives me a slight hope of Alpha Protocol someday… Another game with great, loft ideas as well as failed attempts…

      • Halfling says:

        I do look forward to the crew finally doing a game it likes again. Though I still hope that there is that wall towards the end of the season where everyone goes insane. The initial misery of a season tends to be hilarious for the first few episodes.

        The Dead Money dlc in New Vegas is still my favorite piece of the show, oh the trolling it was glorious. I still sing Trololos to it.

  3. Zombie says:

    I want to see how Josh trolls us and the Spoiler Warning crew with his odd and weird decisions, and how he justifies it. However, it will be fun to see what he does and how wildly different his choices will be from mine.

    • Zoe M. says:

      I bet he tries to do the less-popular choice on every single option, but gets reformed by Clementine anyway.

    • Deadpool says:

      Despite the game being known for its choices, they actually make little to no difference…

      • Klay F. says:

        As far as I know the game tries to do the Mass Effect style of choices, where you can only affect the story in a superficial way, but whats important is how you react to the story and how the other survivors react to your reactions.

        In this sense, it does choice FAR better than Mass Effect EVER managed IMO.

        I think its time we all admitted that true choice in a story driven game is a pipe dream.

        • Deadpool says:

          TRUE choice might be a pipe dream, but plenty of games have done choice better than Mass Effect or Walking Dead…

          It really hurt this game for two reasons:

          a) The developers keep pretending the choices matter.

          b) It kinda takes away from the struggle of “Oh crap, what should I do?” when you know it DOESN’T MATTER. Kinda made the last 3 episodes less powerful.

          It did give us the most unintentionally hilarious scene in episode 3 with the train though…

          • Klay F. says:

            I don’t think the developers ever pretended anything of the sort. The beginning of each episode blatantly states that the game adapts to how you play, which is absolutely true.

            • Deadpool says:

              It says the game is tailored to the choices you make.

              But if you want to be more specific, watch the interview Shamus posted a link to on the last episode of ME3. The writer of episode 4 clearly says “players who chose [spoilers] will have a wildly different experience from the rest.”

              Then you play episode 5, and there is no difference.

              • Klay F. says:

                The game IS tailored to the choices you make. If you were expecting to fundamentally alter the story so you can get a happy ending, then I’m sorry you misunderstood what the game was trying to do. Were you expecting the zombies to totally respect your choices? Like, “Oh I see you chose to give person X some food, I guess I’ll just turn around and shamble to another part of town then.” The game is VERY tailored to your choices in terms of interacting with the other survivors. Its the ONLY aspect of the game that matters.

                • Deadpool says:

                  No it isn’t. Person A will always do X, person B will always leave at moment Y, person C will always be at place Z at time W.

                  None of your choices affect anything but the most superficial story points.

                  This isn’t tailoring. This is just ackowledging. “Yes, you chose not to do A. But the game wants A to happen, so A happens. Good job not choosing it.”

                  • krellen says:

                    Your view of what makes up the game is really shallow here. Depressingly shallow. As if deciding whether a certain character lives or dies isn’t important, and something that doesn’t shape the first three episodes.

                    • Even says:

                      I think the underlying issue here is the fact that the game has plenty of stuff happen where the player may wish he had more agency. Lilly is one good example of a trainwreck that could have been averted if the game didn’t insist on Larry’s death being a binary choice that ultimately doesn’t have much worth to the plot itself. The course is set, no matter what. And even after it, despite the obvious signs, there’s nothing you can do about Lilly. She will snap and kill Doug/Carley.

                      Only benefit most of the time to these choices is in determining what kind of person you want Lee to be.

                    • Deadpool says:

                      The only characters you choose whether they live or die are characters that are leaving the story immediately after the decision REGARDLESS.

                      Some people die anyways, some people live anyways, some people just leave the plot…

                      ONE person, Carly or Doug, has a minor, inconsequential part in episode 2 and die in the episode 3 REGARDLESS.

                      Your choices carry no weight because they have no consequence. There is nothing to agonize over because what you do doesn’t matter. It’s like All the Myriad of Ways without the quantum mechanics…

                    • Daemian Lucifer says:

                      But the ending isnt the only important thing.You may just as well say that gaming is futile because all games end with the credits screen.

                    • Deadpool says:

                      But it isn’t JUST a matter of the ending. Most of your choices don’t have any effect beyond someone going “You said that!” then the plot carries on. The biggest change in ANY of the choices is how much Kenny likes you because that may or may not give you a quick time event in about 3 or 4 scenes over the course of the WHOLE GAME.

                      Save Duck or Hershell’s son? Duck is alive REGARDLESS, Hershell’s son dies REGARDLESS, you leave the farm REGARDLESS. What’s the consequence? Kenny likes you a bit less and is a bit more likely to make you do a quick time event in about three scenes over the course of the game. WHOOOO!

                      Side with Larry or Kenny? Side with Larry and he’ll still try to kill you later. Side with Kenny and he’s likes you a bit more, so maybe avoid that quicktime event.

                      Let the woman kill herself or not? No consequence IMMEDIATELY after the scene is over.

                      Saving Carly or Doug is the biggest decision in the game. And all you do is get a quick scene with them on episode 2, then they die in 3. None of their conversations have ANY bearing on ANY of the stuff that happens in episode 2 or 3.

                      Wanna save Larry? Can’t, Kenny bashes his head in. Wanna side with Lily? Can’t she goes crazy regardless and leaves. Wanna kill Kenny because he’s a self centered, self serving, useless piece of garbage? Can’t, because this game is on rails and he’s the conductor.

                      Even the big scene at the end of episode 4, when the team decides whether they want to help you or not is meaningless since the whole team just gets back together ANYWAYS.

                      The problem isn’t that “in the end, Lee dies.” That’s okay. The problem is that, in the end, NOTHING the player chose to do changed ANYTHING. The same people always die, the same people always live, the same people always suffer, the same people always prosper. There are NO consequences to ANY actions.

                      This is partly because of Season 2 and wanting to use these characters again in the future. But a motive doesn’t make it okay. In the end it does hurt the game. In the beginning, I agonized over my decisions. Do I leave the house now or wait until night? Hardest decision I made ALL game. Because then I reloaded to show my roomate the game, she picked the other decision and NOTHING CHANGED.

                      By episode 3 there was no agony over my choices. Who cares if I choose to rob people or not? Kenny is gonna rob them! Who cares if I choose to save people or not? They’ll die when the plot wants them and live when it doesn’t. It doesn’t matter. You are a passive observer in this story. It’s a GOOD story, which is why I kept playing the game. But you have no agency in it.

              • krellen says:

                You choices don’t change the skeleton of the story – they change the clothes it wears. Which perfectly fits being “tailored” to your choices.

                • X2Eliah says:

                  I think the point is that very often exactly that: “the choices don’t alter the story, only the appearance/masking of it” is used as a negative thing / derision of a game, and here suddenly it’s deemed to be a good thing. There’s just no consistency in the use of this factoid.

                  • krellen says:

                    If the only reason you experience a story is to find out how it ends, you really need to stop experiencing stories. It’s about the journey, not the destination, and the choices you make DO change that, even if you end up in the same place regardless.

                    • Deadpool says:

                      Seriously, try replaying the game making the exact opposite decisions you made before and see how different the journey is.

                      Hell here’s two completely different Episode 5 playthroughs. See if you can spot all the differences:

                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLZBk3UE70o

                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1w7_wMcmRuA

                      This is the final episode, the biggest event and look at how many of your actions have consequences…

                    • krellen says:

                      If you really think the significant implication differences caused by Ben being alive/there and being dead/not there isn’t at all significant, we’re operating on assumptions of storytelling far too different to enable any constructive communication.

                      The difference between Kenny dying trying to redeem himself for being a complete asshole to Ben and Kenny dying to correct the mistake of bumping into someone is huge. While Kenny still ends up dead, one is a far nobler death than the other.

                    • Deadpool says:

                      So the biggest, most poignant change you see, from the final episode of the game (ie the one that DOESN’T have to set up the next episode) was WHY Kenny dies. Not even a fundamental change in Kenny himself, just the why?

                      You seriously don’t see a problem with that being true? Even ignoring the fact Telltale just straight up lied about it, don’t you think your choices should have a little more meaning beyond that? The exact same even happens, this one has some background, this other one is just a placeholder cuz we needed SOME reason for that event to happen. That’s what your choices boil down to and you’re okay with saying “My choices matter.”?

                    • krellen says:

                      Yes, because I don’t have unrealistic expectations that a programmed computer game is going to be able to match the free-form flexibility of a human storyteller. My choices DO matter in regards to character interactions, relationships, and motivations. That’s MORE than enough for me.

                      No where did I see a BioWare-like claim for “your choices matter”, either. I saw “the story is tailored to the way you play”, and THAT IN FACT HAPPENS. Did you really expect to be able to alter the outcome of the story? Did they ever claim you would be able to (like BioWare did?)

                      And for the record: Kenny IS different depending on how he dies. One way he dies because he’s realised that family is more than blood, and the other way he dies is because he’s just trying to fix a stupid mistake.

                    • Deadpool says:

                      This is an interview with the director and writer of episode 4. The director says this, but the writer (and, in fact, the lead writer of the whole series) is right next to him and never corrects him. There ARE spoilers, obviously.

                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvFvL3nqbMQ&t=10m43s

                      “Their [People who picked for Lee to go alone] experience through episode five is gonna be dramatically different. And like, they’re gonna get what they wanted right? They wanna be alone, they wanna deal with everything alone, and they will.”

                      Emphasis added by me.

                      But ignoring that, I’m not asking EVERY choice to matter, or the differences to be these huge, world changing things. But it would be nice if some of them mattered AT ALL, even in minor ways. Put girl out of her misery or let her die and distract Zombies? Is it out of the realm of possibility or technologically impossible that a pointless QTE involving a Zombie attack could be IGNORED because of this decision? Seriously?

                      And how is Kenny really DIFFERENT? How does the fact that he HASN’T realized that family is more than blood affect him in ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM? Does it change any of the decisions he makes? Does it inform on any of his movements?

                      I don’t want it to match the free form of life, I want SOME of the choices to have ACTUAL consequences beyond cosmetic differences. Because, you see, without consequences there IS no choice.

                      Here’s the thing, I didn’t tell them to make a game like it. I didn’t tell them to start every episode by saying “This game is ABOUT CHOICES” and then provide us with NONE. Hell, I didn’t even say it’s a bad game for it.

                      What I AM saying is that this is a game about choices without any real choices. What I am saying is that it’s HARD to worry about the safety of any character when you know they all have plot armor. I’m saying it’s hard to be emotionally invested in deciding between Scylla or Charybdis when you KNOW the game will pick whichever one it wants REGARDLESS of what you say.

                      The technology is there. Games have done action/reaction WAY better than this before. Maybe the writing wasn’t as good, or the black/white choices were too clear, etc… But we’ve SEEN games give consequences to choice before. Why do people keep pretending like it’s technologically impossible?

                      More importantly, why do people defend it?

                    • krellen says:

                      I am not conceding the point, but I am not continuing this because it is fruitless and I have better things to do.

                    • Even says:

                      @Deadpool “But ignoring that, I’m not asking EVERY choice to matter, or the differences to be these huge, world changing things. But it would be nice if some of them mattered AT ALL, even in minor ways.”

                      But they do matter. Maybe not in the way you’d like, but they do always carry a meaning to them for the characters involved, if not changing the way somebody treats you. I do agree that the story could have been a lot more compelling if they’d made the world more reactionary, but the personal stories of the characters and their interactions are mostly well written and are what kept me hooked. The choices you mentioned involve making moral choices and growing as a person. Just because things go the way they go doesn’t make them any less meaningful. There’s even some nuances in Kenny’s death to be explored if that’s your thing. Most notable would be the difference of how the surviving members will likely remember him.

                      While more player agency (EDIT: and consequence) in general would have been definitely nice to have and not just in the certain places where you’re locked out of making sensible choices, the game works well enough for what it is.

                    • Deadpool says:

                      But I never said the game didn’t work. I said two things in two separate posts then spent the rest defending them.

                      Statement one: Choices make little to no difference to the game.

                      Statement two: This hurts the enjoyment of the game.

                      I even specifically said the game is still enjoyable despite this flaw. I just don’t get why everyone says this game is about choice, why the makers of the game lie about it in interviews, and why people say this game is choice done RIGHT. It isn’t. It’s storytelling done RIGHT.

                    • Shamus says:

                      That’s a pretty good point. The story resonates with us, and we let a lot of the other stuff slide.

                      I don’t want to say more about choice until we get to Episode 5 of the game, which is why I’ve been shy of this debate, even though I think it’s incredibly important.

                      I would encourage people to give Deadpool a break. I don’t think his suggestion that choice could have more payoff is outlandish, or an unreasonable expectation for a player to have.

        • Nicholas says:

          True choice, in the sense of being able to absolutely anything, is of course impossible. In the end, you’re here to save the world and not, for example, settle down and open a unicycle shop that caters exclusively to the upper class, though that would be awesome in many ways.

          What we need is for our choices to have consequences, to feel like they matter – basically we need to be willing to cut content and have players not experience it because of a choice they have made earlier.

          What they lose in length they gain in replay value. But it is increasingly difficult to do in the modern video games industry

          • Eremias says:

            I would have liked to have more common sense options.
            Lilly’s being crazy? Take her gun away. Butcherroom in the barn? Knock Danny out and immediately move against the St.Johns. Need a pipe to pull someone up? Don’t have the weak person do it, etc.
            There were too many places where I felt “There’s a very simple solution to this. Why can’t I pick them? Nonsense, balderdash.”

            • Klay F. says:

              I’m sorry, what? Sure you take Lilly’s gun, we’ll see how sensible you can be when she puts a hole in your head. Knock Danny out? Just how in the hell is this a sensible option? That just has “video game” written all over it. I know its a video game and that the main character can be reasonably expected to survive till the end, but just COME ON. No sane NON-video game protagonist would ever do something so chuffing stupid.

              • Eremias says:

                Those were just examples and simplified to one sentence each. My point is, I am expected to make choices, but I can also foresee a lot of what’s going to happen. And I can do nothing about it, even though often it would make sense for even Lee to do something.

              • Eremias says:

                And no, it has “zombie apocalypse” written all over it. Big difference.

              • Deadpool says:

                Here’s a non videogame choice:

                What if I side with Lily? Agree with her, shoot Doug/Carly and just rather be on her side instead of Kenny’s? Can’t. She is an important lore character so she has to leave on her own and I have to stay with Kenny.

          • Deadpool says:

            Exactly. And this is where the game fails. It gives you some great choices, and some moral dilemmas, but it never gives you any consequences on them. It never makes you feel “Oh man, I’m sure glad I did that!” or “Holy crap, I should have totally done that instead!”

            Even in episode 5, when they DIDN’T have to worry about a branching storyline, they STILL couldn’t be bothered with consequences to any of the choices. Kinda weak.

  4. McNutcase says:

    This is not unexpected, and from what I’ve seen this is a game you guys have been impressed by. I’m looking forward to it.

    And I guess the lack of intermission is because Josh is desperate to not have to play Bad Rats.

  5. baseless research says:

    *the previous version of this comment contained spoilers. They have been removed*

    Having just finished the Walking Dead, I’m not sure I can cope with this season. Knowing what tragic faith awaits character X or Y is going to be heart wrenching.

    Josh, if you let anything happen to Clementine I swear I’ll come down to Navada and hunt you down.
    I’m just kidding. But not really.

    edit: the add for this page is for a zombie survival mmo game. Nicely appropriate, google. Well done.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Ugh,the choices….The game has really made me wince quite a few times.There wasnt a single episode that I managed to finish without at least one “What?God damn no!”

      • Duhad says:

        *Slight spoilers*
        Honestly I am curious to see how they handle some of the more morally horrific parts in Ep.3 and 4. (The ‘who will pull the trigger’ parts in the woods and in the attic) On the one hand, Shamus is a dad and the crew are good people, on the other hand… little lamp light.
        Honestly this should be amazing, hard to watch, but amazing!

        • SKD says:

          Who ever gave you the impression that the crew are “good people”?

          Did you not been watch the slaughter of the innocents on Feros?

          Okay, so maybe Josh and the fans are the only real EVUL bastards.

          • anaphysik says:

            Okay, I know I’m the king of jokey strike tag use, but could we please avoid it in these first few threads? Like, I was certain those were joke ones, but if they’d turned out to be real spoilers then I’d’ve been pissed. At least until the first few eps of new season, let’s keep spoiler tags just for spoilers, so people can start and finish their Walking Dead playthroughs without missing jokety-times in the comments.

        • krellen says:

          To be perfectly honest, I don’t think being father has that much bearing on what choice you make. Actually, it might make it easier, knowing what choice YOU would want made in the same position.

          • Duhad says:

            Possibly true but, shooting a child in the head was much harder for me because I work with children on a daily bases then it was for my friend, who dose not. I still did it, because I could not let a father live with having done that to his own kid, but it hurt, even in the context of a game. If I was a father my self, I am not sure I could have gone truth with it.

  6. Sean Riley says:

    “Telltale Games has done it, and the result is basically a new genre of videogame. Yes, on the surface it’s mechanically similar to Sam & Max or the Strongbad adventure games. But making it a serious, drama-based story with gut-wrenching choices creates a very different experience.”

    I disagree with that first sentence: There’s nothing in TWD that is not essentially the same game David Cage was trying to make with Farenheit and Heavy Rain. That they have done it exponentially better (albeit with way too many damn bugs) does not mean it is revolutionary. It’s a great leap forward in a genre David Cage pioneered.

    (And I detest David Cage, but credit where credit is due.)

    • uniqueuser says:

      The typical “scan the screen with your mouse cursor looking for objects to use/combine by exhausting all possible permutations in order to advance” adventure game, but now with quick-time events!

      Truly revolutionary…

      “It’s a great leap forward in a genre David Cage pioneered.”

      The movie-masquerading-as-game genre was around long before he came onto the scene.

      • Falcon02 says:

        The typical “scan the screen with your mouse cursor looking for objects to use/combine by exhausting all possible permutations in order to advance” adventure game, but now with quick-time events!,

        I agree it still has the element of searching the screen for any and all items you could use, but I think the implementation in Walking Dead is an improvement over most other Adventure games. A large part of that has to deal with a more serious tone. You actually use a Shovel to dig a hole, not a sea shell that traded a clown a stick of gum for.

        Another part is by doing away with the classic Inventory system the game manages your interaction options for you. It gives you a list of a few options on how to interact with an object, dependent on what the object is, and what you have in your inventory. There are still the “I don’t think that will work” options, but it’s a lot more logical and intuitive.

    • Shamus says:

      Fair enough. Those games were SO goofy that they didn’t leap to mind when thinking of examples, but I think you’re right. Those were the first.

    • Jjkaybomb says:

      I’d also claim that this shares the same core mechanics with some of the better relationship and dating sims. The ones that AREN’T pandery and wierd, but actually focus on character depth and exploration.

      EDIT (examples):
      Analouge, A Hate Story: Limited characters, but lots of ambiguity in mortality, and a depth of history you’re free to explore.

      Magical Diary: Okay, kind’ve pandery. But there’s well-rounded and understandable characters with pasts and aditudes that you have to deal and interact with.

    • LunaticFringe says:

      You fool, every time you give David Cage credit for something even remotely good he becomes stronger!

      Also, The Last Express is similar in concept to Cage’s work and that’s a point-and-click from 1997 (it’s also awesome and has real-world time progression in it, something I haven’t seen in a game since).

    • PAK says:

      Facade arguably pioneered the genre also (at least in graphical games). Granted, a failed experiment, but ambitious, and from several years ago. And of course if we broaden our definitions from videogames to computer games, modern IF has had a ton of experiments in this genre, going back at least as far as Galatea in 2000.

      Off-topic-ish, since LunaticFringe mentioned the greatest graphical adventure game ever made, The Last Express, may I suggest that SW consider looking at it at some point? I know adventures are usually anathema to Shamus, but anyone interested in narrative treatment in videogames MUST play TLE at some point, and GOG has it for cheap.

      • justanote says:

        I’m not sure how something that comes after, like, twenty years of the already existing visual novel genre can be considered to pioneer it.

        Just because mainstream gamers haven’t noticed a niche market doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

        • PAK says:

          I shouldn’t have used the word “pioneer,” because I can’t claim knowledge of every game and every genre, so you are right about that. Of course, essentially we are in agreement about the larger point. I was trying to lightly criticize the “invented a new genre of videogame” comment in the original article, and you rightly point out that my own counterexample was itself pretty late to the party.

  7. Eremias says:

    This will be interesting. I bought the game a couple weeks back, haven’t played yet, because…
    I read the comics to a certain point and SPOILERYSPOILERSPOILER they kind of make me wonder if there’s a point to getting engaged with the characters of the game since the premise of “The Walking Dead” is that that title also refers to the survivors, as in “everybody’s fucked, no matter how good their situation may seem to be at the moment”.
    Welp, guess I’ll start playing now.

    • Even says:

      Sadly, it will happen. They seem so hard set to keep to theme and keep killing off characters that only started to get some development. They could have pulled so much more emotion out of some of the character deaths if they’d just bothered to let them grow on you a little more.Doug/Carley and Chuck come to mind the most.

      • Eremias says:

        I’ve played it now and I think they handled my initial concern rather well.
        Until the ending, which only showed me Clem seeing two figures on the horizon. They could have been Christa and that other guy, whom I told to look after her and vice versa, but there was no reason for the game not to confirm this to me. I was left thinking “Wait, is Clem gonna have to shoot some bandits now?”. That was needless. A single calling out of Clem’s name by either voiceactor would have been enough. No strain on the budget either.

  8. SleepingDragon says:

    Ah, it’ll be the first season for me when I haven’t played through the game. I plan to get a new PC after more than 5 years of dutiful service from this one so I’m cutting on expenses and this particular title isn’t really at the top of my gaming priority list even during a sale. That said if I get into the game maybe I’ll stop watching till I can eventually grab it.

  9. Christhegamer says:

    That post has made me commit and buy the game, I hope it is as good as you say. I seriously need something to help me forget the pain and suffering that was caused by Mass Effect 3…

  10. fenix says:

    It’ll be nice to have a short and sweet season of Spoiler Warning before tackling Skyrim :p

    • Zagzag says:

      I certainly hope that’s what’s coming. I’ve been waiting long enough!

      Seriously though, this series could well come out nearly as long as the ME3 one, give that there’s not much variation in how long The Walking Dead takes to play, and a fast run of ME3 can go quite quickly. I’d have to check exactly how long the last season was though…

  11. Lalaland says:

    Glad I bought this in the Steam sale then! I’ve played the first episode and it is damned good, so good I just might go play another episode now…. I can’t wait to see a SW playthrough as the choices so far have felt pretty ‘six of one half, dozen of the other’ so seeing other paths will be fascinating.

    I’m strongly tempted to take this home over Christmas and see if I can persuade my family to do a Let’s Play. It’s probably the only game whose script and voice acting might support ‘watching’ and as choices are mostly narrative they could play too. Especially as there are no repetitive action elements I think this just might work (it plays very well on my HTPC too). Anyone else tried to introduce a non-gamer friend to this series?

    EDIT:
    I know I’m probably asking for the impossible but is there any chance the Spoiler Warning crew could limit spoilers to the episode being played? If there’s just too much good stuff that can’t be discussed without referencing later episodes I reckon I’ll hold off on the series until I get myself to the end.

    • Rutskarn says:

      To your last point: yes, we will.

      • Chris says:

        Unless you’re absolutely pedantic about it, anyways. We’re making a point of avoiding “X Character Dies!” or “The plot twist that happens with Y is really stupid.”

        But we have already given mention to a few things – things that will be called back to later, seeds that are being planted for a subsequent payoff, that sort of thing. Nothing that says “DARTH VADER IS LUKE’S FATHER” but more along the lines of “Listen to how Obi Wan describes Luke’s father’s death – this becomes important later.”

        I bring this up only because I’ve found people tend to have two different “spoiler” levels – don’t reveal to me major twists/plot points/character deaths/meaningful content from future episodes, and “I don’t want to hear a single word related to what’s going to happen in any capacity ever, even if it’s minor or tangential.” We’re sticking to the former, but not the latter, so your spoiler mileage my vary.

        • Lalaland says:

          I guess I’ll be watching from episode 1 then! Small hints that come in the context of ‘Look at what they’re doing here there will be payoff’ are not what I regard as spoilers, ‘X eats Y with BBQ sauce in Ep. 5’ is what I regard as a ‘true’ spoiler.

          Still I reckon I’ll be burning the midnight oil to ensure I get to the end soon anyway, I’m already intrigued as to how things might be different in the SW crew play of ep 1 & 2 from what I’ve done.

        • I find that watching the spoiler Warning crew play a game to be a journey in and of itself, and I know that watching you guys play is not the same as if I was playing the game.

        • Zagzag says:

          Thanks for confirming this, althought the way it’s looking I’ll have finished it before we even get any episodes…

  12. Steve-O says:

    I’m excited for this new season of SW. Mass Effect 3 was, through no fault of your own, dire. The game dragged for too long and didn’t change it up enough. I have made most of my friends buy Walking Dead the game and no-one has regretted it to date. I love it! Luckily it makes the right changes from games like “Fahrenheit” to allow it to be FUN. Fahrenheit is a chore… I should know… I’m in the middle of a Let’s Play of it and it’s crap!

  13. zob says:

    I don’t think this game is suitable for a regular SW season. Couple of special episodes maybe.

  14. krellen says:

    Crap, now I have to stop playing (and writing) XCOM so I can play this instead. I was really hoping you were doing Spec Ops next, since I’ve already played that.

    I suppose my giant content buffer will be useful after all.

  15. Phantos says:

    Damn it, now I really need to get Episode 5 already. I am literally 20 Microsoft Points away from playing it right now. Can’t afford it on Steam either.

    Which means I’ll probably have to wait a while before watching the next season, so it’s not spoiled for me. Nerts.

    • Chris says:

      We’re trying to avoid spoiling future episodes as we go, only talking about the episode at hand and what has already happened. At the rate we’re going we’re at about 1/2 to 2/3 an episode per week, so that should give you at least 6 weeks or so to pick the last one up and play it.

  16. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Ive already said multiple times that this would be a perfect follow up game for me3.The stark contrast between the failings in me3 and walking dead will provide excellent discussions.Im glad you guys chose it for the next season.

    • Klay F. says:

      Yeah, if I didn’t know better, I’d say the people at Telltale played ME3, went “WTF IS THIS SHIT?” then made the Walking Dead, and said “THIS is how you do it you morons.”

  17. Phrozenflame500 says:

    YES.

    Atleast now you’re doing a genuinely interesting game which can actually be discussed in a matter that is not entirely negative.

  18. Jokerman says:

    Im gonna have to skip this one until i have played them….which i keep planning to do.

  19. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Ok,lets start betting on who the Josh will be with in end game.I say he will end up alone.

    • Duhad says:

      *SPOILER WARNING FOR EPISODE 5 OF THE WALKING DEAD GAME!!!*
      I Personally liked Kenny alto and in the end I brought everyone except for Ben, to placate him, but Josh I can definitely see ‘dropping’ Ben and ditching Kenny. On the other hand, Omid is a history buff like Josh so I would not be surprised if he takes the couple with him.

      • Kavonde says:

        Omid and Christa only come with if you reveal the bite; otherwise, they figure Lee can handle things on his own. Given Josh’s Chaotic Stupid playstyle, I doubt he’ll come clean. I also can’t imagine Josh being buddy-buddy with Kenny, so he’s out. And I’m really curious how the discussion about Ben will pan out; I believe, very strongly, that killing him at the earliest possible opportunity was the only rational response to his constant, unceasing incompetence, cowardice, poor judgement, and emotional immaturity. And I will be happy to write an essay explaining that view, when we get to the episode in question.

        Hey, a comment entirely in spoiler tags. Neat, huh?

        • Deadpool says:

          I always find it amusing people claiming Ben should die for being worthless after the game spends the whole episode condemning Crawford for doing the same thing and trying to protect the six year old girl…

          • Klay F. says:

            This may be a wild stab in the dark here, but I’m guessing that was the entire point of that Ben arc.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Except when it comes to protecting a child the ben pussied out.Its one thing to not be pulling your weight and completely another to leave a child to be eaten.Even if said child ends up being one with the highest body(live people) count in the end.

            • Deadpool says:

              My point is that players are willing to bend over backwards for Clementine in every possible way to ensure she can survive the apocalypse but no one does that for Ben…

              Granted, the game doesn’t give you that option, but the point remains. At base, they are both a useless drag on resources and time. Lee spends a lot of time and effort on Clementine (and some of it pays off) but zero on Ben.

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                The clementine is far from useless.She bludgeoned a zombie to …err,death?Anyway,she bludgeoned a zombie with a baseball bat.That is badass.

                And you do quite a bit for the ben as well.I stood up for him for christs sake,and even tried to protect him from the kenny,even though he was responsible for the carleys death.I really was pissed off at him,but I still protected him for the sake of the group.He just made too many mistakes,so I felt no remorse when I let him fall and die.

                • Klay F. says:

                  I’m pretty sure blaming Ben for Carly’s death is blatantly wrong. It would only be true if Lilly was an animal who wasn’t responsible for her actions. Sure, you can blame Duck’s death on Ben, but no others. You can only hold Ben responsible for his actions, not other peoples’ REactions. This is the great thing about being a human being.

                  • Daemian Lucifer says:

                    True,in such a complex event you cannot blame just one person.But,while ultimately most of the blame is on lilly,ben still has his share of guilt.

                    • Kavonde says:

                      There are three major differences between Clem and Ben:

                      1) Clem is a six-year-old girl. Ben is an eighteen-year-old high school senior. Despite her age, Clem displays great maturity, level-headedness, and a willingness to learn how to best help the group. Despite his age, Ben displays emotional immaturity, reacts badly to confrontation and danger, and flat-out ignores advice and instructions about how he can help the group.

                      2) It may not be pragmatic, but I love Clem. I’m not going to claim to be some Vulcan, here; in a disaster scenario, I’d absolutely give preference to the people I care about. Lee cares about Clem, and he’s going to protect her. Lee may or may not like Ben, but he’s got no such connection.

                      3) Clem, despite occasionally getting herself into trouble, never endangered anyone but herself and Lee. Ben, as an indirect result of his actions and choices, contributed to the deaths of five to seven people, depending on how things shake out. (Carley/Doug, Katyaa, Duck, Chuck, Brie, Molly, and Kenny.) I’m not placing all of the blame squarely on him, but as a hypothetical, consider how different things might have been from Episode 3 onward if he’d just told someone about his deal with the bandits.

                      Comparing the morality of protecting Clem vs. abandoning Ben is, in my mind, like comparing apples to rotten, moldy oranges.

                    • Daemian Lucifer says:

                      Is it just me,or is everyone seeing half of those spoilers?There seems to be a weird bug that if you put more than two paragraphs in strike tags,those in the middle will be only colored orange,but not hidden behind the orange bars.

                    • Kavonde says:

                      Yeah, I had to go back and put strike tags on each paragraph. Weird!

                    • Deadpool says:

                      I always find it odd that Ben gets blamed for Duck’s death.

                      Bandits were attacking. Ben’s plan stopped the bandits from attacking. Lee ruins his plan, the bandits attack, and the Zombies do too, Duck gets bitten.

                      Ben is not to blame for the attack. The attack was coming with or without Ben. All Ben did was delay the attack, NOT cause it.

                      Carley’s death and Duck being bitten is nowhere near Ben’s fault, and Kenny screaming about it won’t change it.

                      And yes, Ben is older, but he is still young, immature and alone. Clem has Lee to keep her level and to teach her how to survive and make her strong. Ben has NONE OF THAT. He has people trying to kill him because he can’t pull his weight right everyone has a big “ohnoes Crawford is so evil!!” party.

                      Also, was Duck useful? Hell, what did Katjaa do? Why are we so mad at Ben for killing them when we’re okay with killing Ben? Could it be you just don’t LIKE him so you have no problem leaving him to die? What does that say about you?

                    • Daemian Lucifer says:

                      Bandits stopped attacking because we were armed.But maybe ben was preventing another attack.Maybe not.That is irrelevant.What is relevant is that him not telling anyone about it led to lee finding the stash and bandits attacking.If he told anyone,maybe we wouldve accepted the deal,or maybe we wouldve fought,but we would at least expect the attack.

                      As for the usefulness,those people maybe werent as useful,but they werent endangering others either.Ben did.Multiple times.And its not like some of us werent still protecting him until the end.And we didnt just let him fall,we tried saving him,but he hindered our efforts even then.We just didnt try that extra hard to save him despite himself.

                    • Deadpool says:

                      I’m not so sure. Kenny killed Larry, which is what sent Lily off the deep end and broke off any semblance of peace among our little group. Hell, even before that, he’s the one that screams “hello!” to a walker in episode 1. Clementine likes to wander aimlessly when she really shouldn’t.

                      And what did Ben really do that risked anyone’s life? He made one big blunder on episode 4, everything else has just been a little questionable.

                      Making a deal with the Bandits probably saved more lives than it hurt. Bought us enough time to fix the RV…

                    • Kavonde says:

                      Kenny killed Larry, which was the main cause of Lilly’s growing paranoia and persecution complex. However, this wasn’t helped when Ben started stealing meds to give to the bandits and not telling her. It was a seriously dumb decision, and it contributed to Doug/Carley’s death, as did his refusal–understandable though it was–to admit his part in the attack.

                      As I’ve said, I don’t put all of the blame for everything bad that happened from Episode 3 onwards on Ben’s shoulders, but he did have a hand in almost everything that went wrong from then on. Telling the group about the bandits and their hostile intentions would have kept them on guard and ready for a potential assault; considering that Lee killed like five of those dudes with a handgun, I think it’s safe to assume that the good guys could have made a good show of it had they not been caught by surprise. In the confusion, Duck was bitten. Could it have happened regardless? Absolutely. But the specific set of circumstances in which the bite occurred were at least partially sparked by Ben’s actions.

                      As for the comprehensive List of Times Ben Endangered the Group:

                      1) Didn’t tell anyone about the bandit deal, indirectly contributing to Lilly’s growing paranoia, Duck’s bite, and Doug/Carley’s murder.
                      2) Abandoned Clementine to a group of zombies, leading Chuck to sacrifice himself to save her.
                      3) When tasked with keeping an eye on Clem while Lee and Kenny went to the river, he let her run off after Lee by herself.
                      4) When tasked with keeping an eye on Clem again, he decided to sit around and watch Kenny get drunk instead.
                      5) When tasked with obtaining something with which to open a door, he not only decided that a hatchet holding a pair of gore-smeared glass doors shut was the ideal tool, but expressed confusion and surprise when told this was a poor idea. If Clem is not present, this may lead to Molly’s death.
                      6) After asking Lee for his advice on confessing his involvement with the bandits to Kenny–“Ben, no offense… but are you out of your motherfucking mind?“–he decided to disregard that advice and confess in the middle of the zombie attack he caused, stalling efforts to open the door and leading to Brie’s death.
                      7) Rather than following the rest of the group out of the tower, he decided to stand around covering his ears due to the noise of the church bell. This resulted in him being grabbed by an inexplicably-hanging zombie, potentially putting Lee in danger if he chose to save him.
                      8) After managing not to get anyone killed throughout Episode 5, he–through no fault of his own–falls and is impaled on a balcony. Kenny (probably) dies horribly after using his last bullet to prevent Ben from turning. Again, this wasn’t even remotely Ben’s fault, but it’s amusing that he died as he lived–getting other people killed.

                      I honestly don’t hate Ben as a person. I don’t particularly like him, either, but I’d find Kenny’s personality far more abrasive in a normal scenario. However, there is a pattern to his behavior, one of cowardice and terrible judgement, that make him not just a burden but an active liability to survival in a disaster scenario. You mentioned Duck and Katyaa, and what they contributed to the group. Not much, I’ll admit. But neither did they detract from it. We never lost anyone more useful because of their decisions or responses to danger. With Ben, we did.

                      Like I said at the top: Ben doesn’t deserve 100% of the blame for anything that happened (aside, arguably, from Chuck’s death). But he contributed to so many disasters and tragedies that it’s clear that his continued existence presented a clear and present danger, however well-intentioned, to the group. Sorry, kid, tough break and all, but the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

                    • Deadpool says:

                      The group always knew about the bandits. They were wondering why the attacks seemed to have stopped, but they knew they were out there. Had look outs and everything.

                      He may have been an inept babysitter, but Clementine has a way of getting around regardless of whether you want her to or not, so kinda silly.

                      Getting the machete out of the door was STUPID. But is being a stupid, young boy really ACTIVELY detrimental to the group?

                      As for the rest of them not being a drag… I dunno. Duck got Hershell’s son and Katjaa killed as surely as Ben got anyone else killed.

                      The reason Duck and Clementine don’t make large blunders is because we don’t trust them with anything to begin with. We expect them to screw up and we just ask them to sit there and not die and when they do something beyond that, we are super proud of them. We ask Ben to do things beyond his capability and then kill him for failing.

                      Imagine if we treated him the way we treat Clementine. We care for him, and protect him, and help him deal with his issues, help his fight or flight instinct, train him to shoot and steel his resolve so he can deal with the Walkers better. Do you think he’d be more or less useful to the team?

              • Fleaman says:

                I don’t know if this affects everyone, but from IE at least any spoilered paragraphs after the first just turn orange and the text is visible. Excuse me while I do some science.

                Paragraph with open strike tag.

                Paragraph with closed strike tag. Expecting this to be orange.

                Paragraph with no strike tags after a closing strike tag.

                Paragraph with complete strike tags.

                A second paragraph with complete strike tags.

                EDIT: Yup, looks like spoilers work right if you make sure to enclose each paragraph in strike tags without paragraph breaks.

          • Kavonde says:

            Well, yeah. Maybe, in the end, Crawford wasn’t entirely wrong. Killing kids, the sick, and the elderly? Yeah, that’s way too extreme. But cutting loose people who are not just a drag on resources, but a constant and recurring threat (albeit through incompetence rather than malice) to those around him? Seems entirely rational to me.

            • Deadpool says:

              Duck wasn’t useful to the team, and people get mad at Ben for getting HIM killed…

            • Cupcaeks says:

              Rational? Entirely. Humane? Questionable. That’s what I love about this game. Do you do what’s best for survival, or do you try to cling to some semblance of humanity? Different people will draw different lines.

              I personally chose to save Ben. Letting him die just because he’s a drain on the group may not be as extreme as what Crawford does, but it is the same thing in principle. My sense of humanity (and Clementine) won out that day. I viewed Ben as a scared, incompetent kid that had good intentions (as Deadpool pointed out, his actions probably bought us enough time to fix the RV), and that was enough for me to not condemn him to death, no matter how much he was asking for it.

              Interestingly though, I chose to leave Lilly behind, even though she, too, had good intentions. I simply could not justify taking a life (I had Carly with me) when there was so much uncertainty about what had just happened. In my eyes, her paranoia had eroded her sense of humanity, and I saw that as a bigger threat than Ben’s incompetence. If she’s willing to kill on a whim, what else is she willing to do in the name of survival, and more importantly, who’s going to be the next focus of her paranoia? Endangering people through incompetence is one thing, but willfully endangering people out of self interest is something else entirely, and something I couldn’t get on board with.

              • Duhad says:

                You just hit the nail on the head for me. When it comes down to it you are making the chose between letting some poor, dumb kid drop to his death because he tried to do the right thing and screwed it up condemning him death for his mistakes.
                Its the same reason why I did not give my gun to the girl in Ep.1 and why I could not kill the saint Johns in Ep.2, because its in the worst of times we have to try are level best to help others and give people a chance. Maybe they don’t deserve it and I am sure as hell not bring anyone who is willing to just murder one of my friends on a suspension, in a tiny RV with a couple of children, but if we, as a civilized species are going to make it thou the end of the world we are going to have to do better. I am a bit of an idealist in that way… and thats why I would never survive the zombie apocalypse!

                • Klay F. says:

                  I actually played as a character that took the long view of humankind’s survival into consideration when making my decisions. By which I mean, if humanity has any chance of living through this, then every life must be considered precious. Young, old, sane, sociopathic, caring, ruthless, cannibal..it doesn’t matter in the slightest. Even if they hate my guts, unless the only way to ensure my own survival for the next few minutes is to kill, or unless the person is literally about to turn, then in my mind, they don’t deserve to die, because every death sets the human race back a significant amount. This was actually really hard for me, because there were some of them I really wanted to kill.

                • Greg says:

                  Personally I felt different after each, but I stand by those decisions. I, too, left Lilly by the side of the road, both because she was clearly losing it and because she had just killed an incredibly useful character (who I happened to like). And I never looked back, or played a different playthrough to see what happens if I keep her on, because keeping her at that point is stupid in my mind. It might be Kenny and/or Ben’s fault that she’s become a threat, but that doesn’t change the fact that she is demonstrably a threat.

                  With Ben, my first playthrough I let him drop. I had encouraged him and tried to teach him up until then, but confessing to Kenny DURING A ZOMBIE ATTACK and unblocking a door without asking were just such stupid moves (after earlier leaving Clementine to die, which made me almost want an option to shoot him out of hand) that I could not justify risking Lee’s life to save his. He’s screwed up in the past w/o guidance. He’s screwed up now with guidance. He’s had a hand, through ignorance or cowardice, in almost every death since his introduction. If he’s recognized that fact and wants to die himself? If he won’t even try to help me save him? I’m not going to save him from himself.

                  This one I did feel somewhat bad about, but essentially only because of Clementine clearly being disillusioned with Lee because of it. But, while I don’t think she’s stupid for valuing Ben as a friend and as a person, she is an eight (nine?) year old whose morality is informed by her upbringing pre-apocalypse and slower in adapting to it than others. You can’t lose all of your “humanity”, but neither can you retain all of it, either, which is why I stand completely behind such decisions as stealing the Volkswagen’s food and not shooting the woman being torn apart by zombies.

                  Still, I did go back and save Ben in another playthrough, because I can see the argument that every living body is worth at least trying to save, although I think I still lean more towards “let him fall”. I wasn’t going to kill Ben myself (again, except possibly for leaving Clementine to die) in the same way that I wasn’t going to kill Lilly myself, but getting them away from me and other people who they could hurt should, I think, take precedence over the sanctity of their lives.

              • krellen says:

                I, too, left Lilly behind, but there was no thought as to why. I liked Carley, I thought she was one of the best characters, and I made an entirely emotional decision to leave Lilly by the side of the road after the killing.

                I later regretted doing so (even after replaying to see how little difference it really made), and told the kidnapper thus. Lee made some bad choices, but he regretted them, which is why he remained human until the end.

  20. Artur CalDazar says:

    I guess I should try and play the Walking Dead then.

    That or mostly miss another season.

  21. Cody says:

    I’m going to have to power through the broken save system aren’t I?

  22. AbruptDemise says:

    Huh, I guess I should have expected this to happen so soon.

    I’m hoping that the first few episodes don’t have spoilers for Episode 5 of the game, it’ll be another week before I can start playing it.

  23. Irridium says:

    First time you’re doing a game I haven’t played. This should be interesting.

    I’d play Walking Dead, but… meh. Don’t really care. I think it’s great it’s doing so well, buuuuut I just can’t bring myself to care enough to buy it. Part Zombie Fatigue, part I don’t really know anything about the series or care that much.

    So yeah, this’ll be an interesting experience.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      I knew nothing of the series myself,and Im not much of a zombie fan,but its a telltale game,so I got the first episode.And I loved it.And I still know nothing about the rest of the works.

    • X2Eliah says:

      Agreed on all acounts. I have no interest in playing the Walking Dead games because 1. Zombies, 2. Point-and-clicks are not my kind of thing, 3. bloody zombies; but a SW season of it might be very interesting to see.

    • Amnestic says:

      I’m with you on that. I dunno what it is precisely, but I don’t really have any inclination to play it. *shrug* Still will probably enjoy this SW season o’course.

  24. swenson says:

    So, question time: if I’ve never seen the Walking Dead (yes, yes, I know I should), will I still be able to follow the story? I know nothing more about the Walking Dead other than it has zombies in it, but I would still like to be able to watch these episodes without being completely confused by what was going on.

    Then again, I started watching the Fallout: New Vegas episodes halfway through the DLC and enjoyed them thoroughly despite having not even the faintest clue about who everyone was, what Josh was doing (although, to be fair, I think everyone’s confused about this one), or what was happening.

  25. LunaticFringe says:

    “There’s also a TV series based on the same material, which I hated because it’s way too much a soap opera of idiots and jackasses.” …Shamus, have I ever told you that I love you? I’ve had plenty of arguments with friends over the quality of the series (and its annoying belief that being an asshole somehow means you deserve to survive longer in the zombie apocalypse). In fact, it’s one of the main reasons I’ve stayed away from the games, fearing that they might have some connection.

    But I guess since Spoiler Warning is doing it I’ll have to play it. I’ve heard enough praise, and after this Mass Effect 3 season I need something dialogue heavy and fun.

    • Jace911 says:

      The Walking Dead is one of those rare gems where zombies aren’t really the focus of the story so much as the backdrop. The focus is all on the characters and what they do to each other when thrust into a world overrun by the undead.

      The game and the tv series have completely different characters and are completely separate plots, save for a few cameos which are explained adequately. You can easily follow one without the other; in fact, I actually prefer the game to the show.

    • The show is a mixed bag for me most of the time. I think stupidity and high emotions are forgivable in a place where zombies could kill you at any moment and Carl won’t get in the damn house.

      Season two was a slog, for sure, but it had its moments. The biggest thing that bugged me about the show was the fake vistas. They were pretty seamless, but they still screamed THESE GUYS ARE STANDING IN FRONT OF A GREEN SCREEN, NOT THE SUNSET THEY’RE PRETENDING TO ADMIRE!

      Still, it’s a far more compelling show than NBC’s Revolution.

  26. Torsten says:

    This is going to be interesting. I haven’t bought the game yet because the TV serie didn’t raise much interest in me and I haven’t read the comic. Also I’m still not through Sam & Max games, and zombie games have just never really been my thing. Still, the game has looked interesting.

  27. Jace911 says:

    Oh shit, already? I still haven’t finished part four and five yet!

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

  28. Soylent Dave says:

    For people put off by The Walking Dead game either because they aren’t familiar with the source material, or they have zombie fatigue, or they aren’t thrilled by point-and-click – I’d highly recommend giving it a go.

    The story is fantastically executed, the zombies are used properly (as backdrop, which is all zombies ever really should be), and the characterisation is superb.

    It’s truly an excellent game. Or maybe just a brilliant story masquerading as a game.

    (I don’t normally shill for games like this, but I’m both surprised and genuinely impressed by TellTale’s TWD, and I think they deserve recognition for the good work they’ve done with it – and I do honestly think it has more mass appeal than people might think at first glance)

    • Cupcaeks says:

      As someone who had no familiarity with The Walking Dead series and who also has zombie fatigue, I totally agree with you.

      The focus on the characters makes the story seem very grounded, and for lack of a better word, human. And using the zombies mainly as a background element has the added effect of making scenes where they are featured all the more powerful. Very tastefully done all around.

      Also, if you’re put off by the DIAS mechanics of adventure games past, rest assured that TellTale has managed to create puzzles and challenges that actually make sense. Most of the time, thinking “How would I do this if I were in that situation?” will get you to the solution. In short, real-world logic wins over classic-adventure-game “logic”, so none of the typical frustrations associated with the genre are present.

      • Fleaman says:

        I keep hearing praise for the human element thing, and I just don’t get it. In practice, it always seems to mean “characters act with real human emotions, like cattiness and tripping”.

        Combine this with a pre-existing case of zombie fatigue. I agree with Soylent Dave that zombies should be in the background, but I don’t agree that the human “disaster survivor” story is stronger for their presence. My zombie fatigue stems from zombies always getting a pity pass to world domination and an easy apocalypse (how did the army lose to zombies? NOBODY KNOOOOWS), when I view them as an engineering problem that isn’t really that tough to come up with a solution for (a good start is to stop tripping, and maybe be less of a bitch sometimes).

        So that said, I liked the first episode of the Walking Dead TV series. There were a lot of moments when I thought “Okay, here’s where Horror Show Stupid is gonna happen”. Like when Deputy Guy goes off after the zombie torso, and I was thinking “Now’s when she grabs his ankles suddenly, jumpout scare-style. Or he trips. Something.” But the moment passed and all was well, and the moment was rendered tasteful and poignant.

        Most refreshing. Stopped watching later, obviously, after the drama ball got rolling in episode three.

        But then I take a peek at a Let’s Play of Walking Dead, Episode 1. What happens? Tripping. Tripping. Tripping.

        I can just hear parallel-me playing it. “Lee, pick up the shotgun. Don’t ignore me, Lee. My advice is amazing.”

        “Very well, we’ll have to settle for unlocking your handcuffs. No, not like that. Not like that, Lee. Make an effort.”

        “Obviously the cop will attack you now, I just said the cop will attack you, stop being surprised. Now get the shotgun. Now load it. Load it. Load the shotg, no don’t drop it, please. Pick it up, Lee. Load the shotgun. Please load it. Yes. Yes, good job, Lee. I’m really proud of you.”

        “NOW SHOOT YOUR SELF.”

        • Cupcaeks says:

          When I talk about the human element, I mean that these characters are fleshed out: they have their own desires and motivations that drive them, even if they might initially come off as flat, archetypal genre stereotypes. Nobody comes off as a “plot” character, everyone’s presence is justified by their backgrounds, not solely to create soapy drama.

          The strength of having conversation as the main gameplay mechanic is that you can discover these desires and motivations if you so choose, or you can tell them to eat the shit if you don’t sympathize or just outright dislike them, and the characters will remember these actions, reacting and behaving accordingly in the future. This is very much a game about group dynamics and relationships being put to the test, and whether they hold or break mostly depends on how you play.

          As for the Horror Show Stupid moments, yeah, there are a few, but I found them to be tastefully done. They made for tension, rather than frustration with stupidity. Your mileage may vary though, I personally had no problems with the opening sequence. I thought Lee’s reactions were very natural, given that he doesn’t know he’s about to be the star of his own zombie movie, but if you’re really that zombie-fatigued, then I could see how that could be grating.

        • Soylent Dave says:

          In defence of Lee fumbling around at the beginning of the game, he has just been in a car crash, which is a legitimate reason to have crappy co-ordination (and be a bit wobbly on his feet).

          It’s also something which notably doesn’t stay with him throughout the series, which points towards it being a deliberate choice on Telltale’s part, rather than a happy accident.

          I’ll agree that in a lot of zombie stories / films, the reason zombies have taken over the world is often ‘because they have’; The Walking Dead universe slides by this slightly by having the same ‘rules’ as Romero; everyone who dies rises as a zombie, so it’s not as simple as containing the disease – which makes apocalyptic scenarios and mass outbreaks a bit more likely.

          Then again, I always like stories that don’t tell us exactly what is going on in the rest of the world – and the Walking Dead is quite good at this – for all the characters (and we) know the zombies could have been contained and dealt with just outside Georgia, and the rest of the world is carrying on as normal.

          • Fleaman says:

            Hmm. Yeah, I guess I should give Lee some slack, since he should really probably be going to a hospital right now anyway, and certainly not operating any firearms or heavy machinery…

            I guess I was being too hard on the first three minutes of the game. I remembered that the Let’s Play I was watching was by Myndflame, and I was watching it because I was expecting him to be shit at it. So I guess the impression of massive failure I got was really an aggregate of two separate failures, one of whom just walked away from a car crash, and the other of whom is a berk.

    • ehlijen says:

      I disagree with zombies never deserving to be more than a backdrop.

      If all you want is a backdrop, you’ve already decided to reduce whoever you put into that role to less than their potential. Orks, Madmax fetish looters, zombies…they all become interchangeable because you really only want one trait of theirs: it’s ok to kill them because they’re undeniably evil. Who are they? What do they want? Doesn’t matter anymore.

      When used well, zombies are more than that. The are the manifestation of death; something that will get you no matter how fast you run, how hard you fight. Tripping is common in zombie movies because it showcases that running from death is just not possible. You can gain respites, but you’ll never escape, eventually you’re too tired.
      The fear of dying in your sleep, the way that thinking of those who died can remind you of your own mortality…all that is part of the horror of running away from your zombified friend and tripping because you just can’t keep going forever.

      Zombies can very much be a good focus of a story. They need to be used well though, just like any other tool.

      Most stories tend to use them badly and too much, agreed. But that doesn’t mean they have no potential.

  29. I got the Walking Dead for 12.50 in the Steam sale this past week and played it over the course of 2 days. It. Was. Amazing. I can’t wait to see what you guys do with it!

  30. Johan says:

    Hmmm, Walking Dead was one of those that I skipped over without second thought because I’m just sick to death of Zombies

  31. Alex F says:

    Well I guess I’m sitting out these first two weeks. Between you guys and Yahtzee, I decided to get The Walking Dead, but when I saw that they were going to do a disc with all the episodes on it, I decided to wait till then to pick up. Less suspense that way. Oh well, can’t win ’em all.

  32. StashAugustine says:

    Oh no, I’m still in the middle of Fallout 2, and Planescape, and my third Alpha Protocol and fourth Deus Ex, and…

  33. Septyn says:

    “What if you took the choice and conversation wheel gameplay of (say) Dragon Age or Mass Effect, and made that into a game all by itself? No shooter combat. No classes. No equipment. You just talk and make decisions. The whole time.”
    Sounds like you’d be playing a game based on a Kevin Smith movie.

  34. Wedge says:

    Picked this up when it was on sale on Steam awhile back, so I guess now’s a good time to start playing it :P

    I have one question: IIRC, one of the main reasons you guys haven’t done Alpha Protocol is the time limit on dialogue choices. TWD has the same system–how are you guys planning on dealing with that? If it works out, would you be willing to do Alpha Protocol in a future season?

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      The walking dead is much more lenient with it than alpha protocol.There are very few places where you need to pick your choice really quickly.In alpha protocol,you have to do it ll the time.

      • aldowyn says:

        Yeah, definitely no time in AP to discuss options, so they’d either have to trust Josh (heh), discuss them beforehand, or just stick to one style (suave, professional, etc. etc.)

        You’d definitely have to compromise on discussion, which just doesn’t make sense for something like Spoiler Warning.

        • Simon Buchan says:

          “Trust” Josh to do the most entertaining thing for the audience is probably the best possible thing anyway (Sorry Shamus, but your scream of fury whenever Josh does something stupidly evil is why I come to Spoiler Warning (not really (actually, yes really))). If the crew is less worried about the exact conversation they’re having right now they’re freed up to talk about who he’s talking too and you get that magical moment where they’re halfway through a thoughtful tangent when something insane happens and they all go speechless :). I would love to see Alpha Protocol Joshed. Smash that guys face! Murder that child! Do *everything* wrong! And still come out on top, somehow!

  35. Kavonde says:

    I can’t wait until the discussion moves towards the end of Episode 4. I have very, very strong feelings about the morality of a choice involving a particular character, and I honestly can’t believe that my view was vastly less popular than the alternative. I’m curious to find out where the crew comes down on the issue. (I’m pretty sure Josh’ll be with me, though that’s not entirely comforting.)

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Do you mean the decision to bring the clementine with you?

      • Doctor Broccoli says:

        Personally, I left her in the house. This was apparently an unpopular choice, and I still don’t get why. I mean, Crawford is a dangerous place and I was under the impression that breaking in there was supposed to be a stealthy kind of thing. Heck, I still don’t understand why we needed so many people in there in the first place. If it were just me and Kenny in there we would be able to move stealthier and it would be way easier to blend in (an option that would be rendered impossible if Clementine were there).
        So yeah, I left her and anyone who took her is dumb and a bad father.

        • Deadpool says:

          In game reasons:

          Both choices are dangerous. In one, however, you can control the danger. In the other, it is entirely out of your hands. Most people choose control.

          Metagame: If you’re in control, then you know the game will give you a chance to mitigate any danger.

          To be fair, the controlling choice does give you one of the coolest scenes in game…

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          When I went with the kenny to search for a boat,I left her in a house with 2 healthy adults,and one crippled,and she still sneaked out to follow me.So yeah,these guys werent paying that much attention to her,so how can I trust them with it again when I am still alive?Better let me keep an eye on her,even if it is this dangerous place.

          Furthermore,this time there would be just 1 adult left in the house,and it would be the crippled one.Again,better have her in the dangerous place with me where I can personally care for her.

          Not to mention that she proved to be way more resourceful and strong than the adults,even myself.I was hesitant to throw that cooler back in episode 2,but she snuffed out both her kidnapper and me in episode 5.She is one hell of a fighter that one.

          • Doctor Broccoli says:

            Yeah, I guess the whole “there’s only one adult in the house and he’s a cripple”-thing does make it quite dangerous. But if it were up to me I’d only take 2-3 people (including me) into Crawford. That would leave a number of responsible adults (oh alright, it would leave Christa) to take care of Omid, Clem and Ben. In fact, I was expecting the game to give me the option to select a team to go into Crawford. The fact that the game felt it necessary that EVERYONE should go took me by surprise.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              To be fair,there were quite a few things we planed to plunder from there.But I admit,having both the christa and the ben with us was a bit too much.

              • Kavonde says:

                Well, I was actually talking about letting Ben fall, but there’s a whole thread about that above, so let’s talk about this instead!

                I took Clem with. As Daemian said, I didn’t feel comfortable leaving her alone with a single, crippled adult. Moreover, an adult who was sick with infection and at risk of death, at which point he would cease to be a crippled adult and would instead become a healthy, functional walker.

                Ideally, it would have been nice to get to leave people behind… but who would you actually trust with Clem? Ben proved incompetent at babysitting her twice in that episode. Kenny might well decide to polish off that second bottle of whiskey. Christa would probably be a good choice, assuming she didn’t spend all of her time taking care of Omid. Molly might have gotten bored and flaked out, assuming she was even willing to stay behind. Chuck would have been a good choice, if, y’know, Ben hadn’t gotten him killed. Doctor guy had to come with to identify meds. And Brie seemed nice enough, except for the part where she was stridently advocating for Lee to receive a bullet in the brainpan.

                Nah. At least by bringing Clem along, I could keep an eye on her, as well as know she’d be with several competent, armed adults. And also Ben, but I didn’t say it was a perfect choice.

      • Eremias says:

        I did it cuz she had plot protection. Seriously. I knew bringing her into danger zones would never actually endanger her, and she would appreciate the trust in her abilities. With the writers killing characters left and right, there was no way she would die. (Conversely, I got that Lee wouldn’t live, either, no matter what I did. So yeah, two arms, baby!)
        Don’t look at me like that, it was late in the game!

  36. TMTVL says:

    Ah, the Walking Dead. The game I can’t buy because of my attempts at buying every single good game GOG has to offer.

    Ah well, if the season gets me interested, I might end up buying the game anyway… Though then I’ll have to finish getting everything on my Steam wishlist. *Sigh* I need more money.

  37. Grudgeal says:

    This sounds remarkably much like the concept of the Visual Novel, a type of game popular in Japan.

    Only, since it has animation, much more technologically advanced, and I can only hope better written than the average Visual Novel (most of whom tend to be rather low-budget pornography).

    • Chris says:

      It’s similar to all those things – it’s part visual novel, part interactive fiction, part adventure game, and part David Cage “goofy action sequence” game. I don’t know if I’d go so far to say it invents a new genre, but it certainly blends existing mechanics in a way that plays to each of their strengths – the visual novel bits feel like you do shape your relationships to most of these characters (or at least can respond accordingly when you like/hate them), the interactive story bits feel like sufficiently meaningful choices to most, the adventure game puzzles are straightforward puzzles without requiring insane item combinations, the goofy action stuff provides sufficient tension and excitement in a game without real shooting or bashing. I don’t think it does any one of these things as well as the best example of each, but it does all of them well enough that the result is quite enjoyable.

      • I was going to echo what Grudgeal pointed out.
        I reminded me of Japanese anime games (and yes I’ve played my fair share of Hentai indeed), story/quality varying from really bad, to potentially gut-wrenching, dark and thoughtful.
        It’s a shame that most of them are mostly just 2D, and that the Hentai sub-genre is so dominant (“in the west”), as far as I understand the market in Japan is huge and Hentai (or Eroge) is a niche.

        So if The Walking Dead brings a high production value 3D rendered interactive story that is good. Then I hope that season Two by Telltale is just as popular, and that this indirectly helps to rejuvenate the traditional adventure genre. (Monkey Island etc.) There are far to few of these relaxing games these days, and too much of twitchy hyper shooters.

        Also, games like this are way cheaper to make than the shooters. Imagine a game like this but with the marketing budget of say Battlefield etc. It would sell insanely well as even anti action (lost of gals in that crowd too) would like it.

        Then again, the big studios are never smart it seems.

    • Spammy says:

      I have a friend who is an avid player of Visual Novels, and he would take issue with you about the generalization that visual novel = porn, as visual novels include more games like Phoenix Wright than porn games, and he’s said to me that several dialog-heavy RPGs he’s played have seemed like visual novels with RPG battles added on rather than the other way around. So you might want to pick up a Phoenix Wright game or any of the other critically acclaimed DS visual novels(Hotel Dusk, 999, more I’m probably forgetting), or if you’re a PC gamer, check Analogue: A Hate Story on Steam for what an idea of most visual novels are actually like. And largely visual novels are just interactive fiction with more visual emphasis, judging by what makes Digital: A Love Story interactive fiction and what makes Analogue: A Hate Story a visual novel.

      And it has begun to amuse me that The Walking Dead, Dear Esther(Heck, probably everything from The Chinese Room), and The Stanley Parable are really disguised visual novels presented with modelling and animation rather than still art.

      And honestly, having not even beaten Analogue yet, I really want to say… Bring on the visual novels. Please. There’s got to be a ton of good writers you could hire to work on these, and they’d be nowhere near as expensive as a big AAA release.

  38. Shinan says:

    I finished this game yesterday after a weekend of gaming and I just have to say that. Yes. It was amazing. Even without the ability to remap keys (I had heard so much good that I went and BOUGHT a gamepad just so I would be able to play this game, left-handed as I am).

    I don’t think I’ve ever in a game hesitated so much to pull a trigger yet in the end still had to do it. Games don’t tend to do that. Usually in games I tend to want to kill off people and just laugh about it (because the people I kill are morons anyway), but in this game the characterizations really work and I wanted everyone to live happily ever after!

  39. Ygor says:

    Damn, already? Guess it’s nigh time for me to finish it then.

  40. Amnestic says:

    Hmm. Shall this be the first Spoiler Warning without me having played the game ahead of time? I think it might!

    Looking forward to a more positive season, needless to say.

  41. fish food carl says:

    I love The Walking Dead (both the game and the comic), and I will watch the season just to hear what you have to say on it, but I have concerns about how well it will “work” for Spoiler Warning.

    Comedy aside for one second, it’s a heavily dialogue-based game, with the only “visual” input to what is going on being subtitles.

    To me, this is fine. I know every line of dialogue, and watching the SW crew make and analyse the choices will be fascinating (the best part of this game was comparing notes, episode by episode, with a friend, discussing the choices and characters. I seriously recommend the game).

    However, to anyone who is unfamiliar with the game it’s either you talking over the dialogue, disrupting their ability to understand what is going on from conversation to conversation (without Josh saying “Basically, what just happened was…”) or silently watching the plot unfold, which is dull for everyone involved.

    Good luck to you, though. I hope you manage to make it work, because this game really deserves attention and discussion. I pray that Season 2 is as good as Season 1.

    • Chris says:

      One cool thing that seems to help with this – the captions are color coded, which makes figuring out who is saying what way easier. You miss some of the nuance of the delivery with us talking over it, but the who/what/where/when/why/how can be picked up easily enough. The excellent facial animations and responses (and cinematography!) also help.

      • McNutcase says:

        I just hope they’re colour-coded in a way that doesn’t hose those of us with colourblindness. Accessibility is one of my hobby-horses, being as I’m hearing-impaired and colour-blind…

        • Cupcaeks says:

          Hmmm, about the colour-blind thing, I guess it would depend on the extant of your colour-blindness. I’m red-green colour-blind and I had no problems with the subtitles. They used colour combinations that didn’t “clash”, so to speak, but it may be different for you depending on your condition.

          I also just realized I’ve been unconsciously spelling color with a ‘u’ this entire post despite customarily going without. Weird.

          • McNutcase says:

            I can’t tell shades of yellow apart, can’t tell shades of purple apart, and low-saturation use of either of them is iffy at best; I can’t always tell them apart if the saturation is too low. It’s one of the rarer forms, which is why it’s hugely surprising to me that it’s the ONLY form that’s helped by Team Fortress 2’s “colour blind assist mode” (which puts a jarate sprite over the heads of victims). That makes me suspect someone at Valve has eyes that are messed up in one of the ways mine are.

      • Eremias says:

        That they do, until they decided to color-code an asshole with red. That just turned the tide for me against that character.
        The part where his first words pretty much translate to “Let’s kill a kid!” didn’t help either. But as I said somewhere above, I warmed to him as he died.
        God, that sounded terrible, I’m sorry. I’m an awful human being in video games.

        • BeardedDork says:

          I was a little disappointed by the use of red text for a character who is obviously an asshole. Such a cheap transparent psychological trick. Honestly it would be more forgivable if the writing was worse, but I already don’t like this guy.

  42. Z-Ri says:

    And I just went on a shotgun buying spree on steam; pretty much picked up everything except the walking dead and then vowed to not buy anything else till half way through December. The games store page is in another tab right now singing its siren melody to my credit card.

    I’d probably have already cracked by now if I wasn’t having so much fun with Ravaged.

  43. MelTorefas says:

    But Shamus, you are missing the point! It is a soap opera of jackasses and morons, where the jackasses and morons intermittently get eaten by zombies! *Every* soap opera should have that feature!

    Except when the only characters being eaten are ones I actually liked. And by the end of season 2 they made me hate everyone in the series. And the ending scene of season 2, which was supposed to be dramatic I think, made me laugh out loud.

    Hmm.

  44. I hope somebody tells (pun intended) Telltale Games that Spoiler Warning will be doing a playthrough of their season 1. (I’m sure the devs working on Season 2 might find it “interesting” to watch a series about their series (ooh how meta)).

    Also, with any luck (un-luck?) the spoiler Warning crew may get on the devs nerves enough that in season 2 of The Walking Dead players will stumble over a couch with a TV and a console in-front of it and in the couch 4 corpses with game controllers (and one in a really weird outfit with a fedora) http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/images/sw_special.jpg

    Which is a hint for you who are fans of both Telltale’s Walking Dead and of Spoiler Warning to make it happen, now go you Spoiled Deaders.

    Does Telltale have a forum for The Walking Dead? If so that is a great place to start spreading the word!

    Edit:
    “Character 1 (enters the living room): Gah!
    Character 2 (from the hallway): What is it?
    Character 1: a bunch of corpses on a couch playing a video game it seems.
    Character 2 (entering living room): why is that one wearing a pink fedora?
    Character 1: No idea, but it’s creeping me out.
    Character 2: Let’s check if the kitchen still has some food.
    (both head to the kitchen)”
    And at no point is there a need to actually show the couch (yay no models/art needed, just a character-character conversation with the hallway behind them (they are just merely looking into the living room on their way to the kitchen)
    Then again a brief closeup at the appropriate time in the conversation would probably scare quite a few folks that are unaware.
    Imagine seeing a close up of “Cutfbert” in the fedora with a dried up husk of a face with a nasty grin. *laughs*

    • Chris says:

      I don’t know how charitable they’d be to a team of four nobodies (however well intentioned) criticizing just about every decision they’ve probably agonized over under deadline and budget pressure after putting in crunch. That, and I don’t know whether they’d take kindly to a webseries effectively posting the entirety of their narrative-based game’s story online. Plus, if you’re looking for meaningful criticism of what’s happening in the game it’s probably best we don’t get in bed too far with developers regardless of whether we think their game is a horrible trainwreck or the bee’s knees.

      Additionally, drawing attention to ourselves and waving down the developers could backfire pretty easily. At our best we’re offering criticism that might be hard to hear without hurt feelings, and at our worst we’re just outright eviscerating a game (and in Mass Effect 3’s case, beating a dead horse). And with YouTube’s draconian IP policies it would not be hard to nuke this season from the map if TellTale wished to do so. I don’t think they would necessarily, and again most of our commentary has been positive. But why invite that risk?

      • aldowyn says:

        On one small point: You mentioned putting the entire narrative based content. 1: The choices are the big draw, I think, not the actual narrative. 2: Just LOOK at the comments. At least half a dozen people have bought the game because of the series starting.

        • X2Eliah says:

          The choices would be nothing without the narrative. If you literally just took the choices out of the game – just the choices, without any narrative – you would get a rather short questionnaire of identical “do you pick choice 1 or choice 2?” lines without any information of what the choices are, why they matter, what’s the context, what they influence, etc. etc.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Man,that is meta.Spoiler warning season 9:episode 1:Walking dead season 1:episode 1:Yahtzee 5(how obscure is that?)

  45. Abnaxis says:

    I really wish you guys would wait a bit. TWD is on my list of “things I plan to buy with Christmas money.”

    Normally, when I haven’t played a game you guys plan on doing a SW on, I have no one else to blame but myself, but this time…I mean, that last episode hasn’t even been out more than a week. The problem with Spoiler Warning is…well it’s full of spoilers, so I can’t watch unless I’ve played already.

    Neither can I really participate in the discussion. I’ve missed some of the best discussions here because I fell behind the SW team…

  46. Wraith says:

    MASSIVE SPOILER WARNING FOR ALL EPISODES IN GENERAL

    While in the end, many of your choices DO NOT matter, that’s kind of the point of the setting. What makes it so bearable compared to ME3 is the fact that the TWD universe’s central theme has always been one of nihilism. Everyone’s going to die eventually in that new world, especially reinforced by the fact that everyone turns into a zombie when they die as per the classic Romero rules. TBH I view this game as more an examination of the player, utilizing the trope of What You Are In The Dark in force. People have mentioned before that the entirety of Episode 4 focused on Crawford’s utilitarian, social darwinist philosophy, yet so many players dropped Ben at the drop of a hat for the same reasons. On the lighter side, more players (IIRC) attempted to save Larry in Episode 2 – if I wasn’t metagaming, that would always be MY choice. And then there’s that one choice that can entirely change the tone of the final episode’s encounter with The Stranger – if anyone who’s finished the game knows what I’m talking about…

    • X2Eliah says:

      Mmmmmno, actually it’s all about cycles.

    • Dude says:

      I think that giving the game a pass for not having your choices matter all that much, and shitting on ME3 for the same, is a fair bit of bias. I don’t think nihilism has much to do with it, because you can apply nihilism to any game, even Mass Effect, and give it a pass that way.

      It works in TWD, I think, because those choices are very different than most of ME3. If your game is great, if your choices are important, mostly logical, if they’re meaningful, even rendered inconsequential in the end, people will give their inconsequential nature a pass.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        Oh, but the choices matter! They may not end up in going to a different town but they were never about that. It was never a game where you had a choice in the narrative. You don’t have agency in the apocalypse in a group. At best you can sway a choice here and there but mostly you aren’t being Captain Space Savior, changing the galaxy.

        The choices in these games are not about deciding the story. It’s about deciding and defining who you are. It was never about preventing this or that from happening. It was about choosing how to deal with the crap the game throws in your head and how others react to the person you are.

        • Eremias says:

          I don’t think this really works, though. My experience was like this:
          I desperately laboured over each and every single one of my decisions, because I THOUGHT they had consequences. The “X will remember that” messages reinforced that. But then Carley died, I reloaded a couple of times to see if I did something wrong and sure enough, I didn’t. It just didn’t matter. I took a HUGE step back from the game after that, because, as you said, I was never involved in the first place. I pretty much honey-badgered the rest of the game. My point is, I think it would have worked better otherwise.

          • Eremias says:

            With that said, I propose the following conundrum:
            If my actions have no effect at all/ only a negligible effect on the world, why would it matter what sort of a person I am?

            If I’m a brain in a vat, I can be whomever I like or don’t like. It doesn’t matter, unless I were put into a body. What I want doesn’t even matter, because I cannot work towards it.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            I certainly see your point, and to an extent I can agree.

            However I liked that a lot of stuff was out of my hands. Much as in life I don’t always have agency, the game took it away at the right times (for me).

            The event you mention rang all the more true to me precisely because I couldn’t prevent it. It was a sharp reminder that I’m not Captain Space Hero, mover of governments, destroyer of armies. I’m some guy caught in a bad place and shit just happened.

            I recently played Spec Ops and I think that may inform some of my TWD experiences. I’m currently reviewing some of my previously opinions on agency and determinism in games. TWD played well into that I guess, so I may be over thinking stuff.

      • Wraith says:

        Nihilism was never a major theme in the Mass Effect series, just as much as “Organics vs. Synthetics” was never the biggest theme in the series period. It was barely a minor theme. ME1 and ME2, for all the latter’s faults, always had you making difficult choices and making tough sacrifices, but in the end you COULD succeed. In ME3, no matter what you did, you could only die or fail in some way, significant or insignificant, and whatever the Extended Cut says is retarded.

        TWD is based on the comic series. In the comic series and even the TV series, nihilism has always been a primary, if not THE primary, theme. *MAJOR COMIC SPOILER WARNING* The group toils to clear out the prison and make it a home for themselves, but in the end it is overrun and destroyed by the Governor, and so many people on both sides die. Much ado is made about Lori and her baby, but despite this seeming new hope in new life, both mother and child are killed, senselessly. Glenn makes a family of his own with Maggie and Sophia, but in the end, even he dies, brutally, in front of that family. As much as Rick tries to cling to the morality of older times, he and his son become more and more changed as more terrible things happen to them. In the end, no matter what is tried, or how much the characters try, it all comes out to nothing. It is reflected in the game as well, and I APPRECIATED that. It was artistic in a way ME3 and its pile of bullshit never was. *MAJOR GAME SPOILER WARNING* No matter who you save in Episode 1, they die in Episode 3 and you can’t change that. No matter how buddy-buddy you get with the various characters you meet, in the end, none of it matters because they all die or get separated. No matter how much Clementine hopes her parents are okay, or how much you encourage her to look for them, they are dead in the end. And then, of course, there’s the ending… Call it leniency or bias if you want, but my personal recognition of artistic expression is what separates my opinion of ME3 and TWD.

        • Deadpool says:

          The problem is that you can have the nihilism while still having your choices MATTER.

          Saving Carly over Doug could have had some important repercussions while STILL having them die on episode 3. The reason their death is significant is that they are completely interchangeable in episode 2 and 3. The problem isn’t that they die anyways, the problem is that they do nothing while alive.

          • Wulfgar says:

            apart from different conversations Doug build alarm system in motel, and used laser to blind guy on farm. this is story element that changed. yes, the game is still on one rail but this is the way it must be. devs cannot make too much content that players will miss due to their choices. i hope this way of story telling will evolve and are decisions will impact game in larger extent

  47. Chargone says:

    based Entirely on reading the article and then skimming the comments, it sounds like it’s a genre shifted dating-sim. purely dialog ‘pick what you want to say’ gameplay? check. actually affecting the plot significantly/multiple endings depending on what you did?

    oh, you mean it doesn’t do that?

    so… it’s Worse than these things that have been around for Years (are we up to decades yet?)

    only add zombies and 3D CGI animated sequences instead of (usually) some variation on the generic high-school theme and mostly still, anime-style artwork.

    now, i could be Completely wrong, but… that’s what it sounds like.

  48. RTBones says:

    The good – I am another one that picked up TWD during Steam’s weekend sale. It will be fun to make this slog right alongside the SW crew.

    The neither-good-nor-bad – I also picked up Max Payne 3, Dishonored, and DX:HR Missing Link DLC, amongst other things.

    The wonders-never-cease – XCOM is awesome. I picked it up on a previous Steam sale, and it is addicting, if you like those sorts of games.

    The bad – I hate steam. I love steam. I hate to love steam. More precisely, I suspect, my bank account hates me to love steam. Sigh.
    Alea jacta est.

    The ugly – I (now) have a lot to play, and not enough time to play a lot.

  49. Anachronist says:

    “No classes. No equipment. You just talk and make decisions. The whole time.”

    This made me wonder, how is that any different than those classic Infocom adventure games, just with better graphics? If the concept isn’t much different, how can this be a new genre?

    • Shamus says:

      The infocom games were about puzzle-solving and item scrounging, with almost nothing in the way of conversation. On top of that, graphical presentation can make for a new genre. I mean, if you like Call of Duty that doesn’t mean you’ll like Robotron, even though both games are about shooting foes.

      But as someone else pointed out, this isn’t the first game of this type. Indigo Prophesy and Heavy Rain both did this sort of gameplay a few years before, and they should probably go in this new genre, which ought not be called an “Adventure Game” but probably will.

      • Anachronist says:

        And vice-versa: I don’t think I’d like Call of Duty, but I spent countless quarters getting darned good playing the Robotron machine in the basement cafeteria of the student center at college, to the point where racking up 2 million points made me the highest scorer on the chart.

        I was thinking “Infocom in an animated 3D-perspective-rendered world” while reading this article. If it goes real-time, eliminating the turn-based play of Infocom games, then I guess that would make enough of a difference to qualify as a new genre. I’d have to see an actual game to appreciate the differences. I hope to see some video captures from you soon.

  50. AJax says:

    Goddamn it, now I have to play through the Walking Dead so I can watch this season properly!

  51. Mailbox says:

    Hooray! ME3 is over. I can finally return to watching Spoiler Warning again. I’ve been keeping up to date, but I have yet to come to a decision as to whether I am going to play the Mass Effect trilogy. So up to now I have avoided the Spoiler Warning Seasons of ME 1, 2 and 3. You know… to avoid spoilers. BUT NOW! You are moving on to Walking Dead, which I definitely am looking forward to enjoying. Since this was announced as the next season or interim season, I was curious about your up to date feelings on doing a season for Skyrim in the future. By now the game has dropped down from mainstream popularity, it has two DLC with a third that may or may not be available for PC at the time you intend to do the season, if at all. I recall an earlier post about the pitfalls that you want to avoid in spoiler warning where episodes drag on and no factual content is talked about in regards with the game. So i wondered if that might have been looked into for Skyrim that would affect your decision. Anyway, Steam is selling stuff so I gotta go. LAter!

  52. shlominus says:

    will this season be a “lets watch”?

    i just started “playing” this and am enjoying it so far, but i am not sure if this will work as a “lets play”, cause there will be very little actual playing involved.

    will you just be picking the story apart? there’s quite some of that to be done, even very early in the story i am already amused by a lot of stuff and the “gameplay” won’t give you much to talk about.

    • Chris says:

      To be frank, we already are pretty minimalistic on our discussions of mechanics as far as games go. Part of that is the nature of a singular, straight shot let’s play. We’re not discussing the full possibility space of the game and comparing and contrasting the scope of all of its systems from end to end, but instead following a single linear playthrough. I.E., the current structure of the show lets us follow Josh’s Vanguard as he makes all of his Cuftbertian decisions, but doesn’t give us much leeway to compare Vanguard mechanics to Soldier mechanics to Engineer mechanics, or to show off how different the game is as a pure renegade vs. pure paragon, or to observe just how irrelevant certain choices can end up being by actually comparing/contrasting them. After our initial salvo of ‘this is how these combat mechanics work,’ we generally end up going off on some of our most wild tangents during combat sequences simply because we’ve run out of things to say about what it means to kill these same guys using these same powers with these same strategies. That’s then compounded by the fact that we really don’t have a strong vocabulary for discussing games but do have a decent means of dissecting and discussing a story.

      As a result the vast majority of our griping is writing related – the transhumanist undercurrents in Deus Ex and whether or not they were successful, the abysmal structural/thematic/plothole problems in Mass Effect 3, the “is it intentionally horrible or is it just horrible” writing of Alan Wake. We can bring those topics up and explore them in detail thanks to having the proper linguistic tools. And it makes sense as the entire season is us moving through the narrative of the game. We may not get a full picture of the game’s mechanics/interactions/possibilities, but we do get to explore the beginning, middle, and end of a story. And naturally I think the result is that the show thrives on narrative focused games.

      It’s why we could never do a season on, say, Quake 3 or Tony Hawk. These are excellent games mechanically, and I’m sure I can sit down and write a small thesis about how they work and what they mean. But they don’t support four guys talking over gameplay footage. At its best it would be sports radio style flavor commentary (“Will he land the combo?! HE DID OH MY GOD THAT’S HILARIOUS!”) and at worst it would be like the darkest parts of the Alan Wake season where Josh focuses on playing while the rest of us talk about what we saw at the movies most recently.

  53. Shamus have you seen this? http://www.sorting-algorithms.com/
    Shell sort looks like a nice all-round sort.

  54. Josh I hope you plan to have story notifications on (i.e. default gameplay settings) as it highlights certain problems.

    For example at one point you get a notification that: “character x will remember this”.
    Only to see that character x will no longer be part of the story at all.

    It’s probably not a easy choice for the devs. But myself I’d probably have set the default to off for story notifications as they can get distracting (for a first play-through anyway).

    The game also suffer from the lack of actual choices. The game is surprisingly railroady (pun intended). But this is a development issue.
    If they whee to allow a really wide range of conversation choices the game would be huge and not cost effective at all to make.

    But sadly the choices are sometimes “wrong” for what I’d have wanted to choose/do in the given situation (or seem logical, at least to me). I.e: You do not control the character or
    their choices, you merely influence him in certain directions.
    Bonus points though for actually making the shown choice text pretty much match what the character is saying. With Shepard you might as well just choose at random sometimes.

    That said the story of the game is darn good. And the artstyle is great. The voice acting spot on. And for the record, if there is a zombie outbreak I’m certainly staying far away from america, that’s for sure. *laughs*

    A few graphical glitches is annoying though. Floating shadow stripes. Some objects clipping through others.

    And for I moment I got a Shepard flashback as the main character made the same crappy derpy “surprised/taken aback” facial expression as Shepard in the cockpit when EDI jokes about the oxygen filters and whatnot.

    Another issue is the quick time events. I hate them, once you die 4-5 times before3 you get it right and the point is lost IMO. I’d rather have alternative solutions than QTEs. If you have to do certain QTEs to progress further in the story, then the QTE should either be removed, or alternative solution to solve the problem should be provided.
    The other issue with QTE is the button tips shown, they vanish way to far. Often I found myself failing not due to timing but because I had no clue which button to press. Other times I failed because for some reason the button sequence was changed.

    Mass Effect series broke new ground with the calm/agressive interrupts and I wish a lot of games would copy that. It allows a aggressive, middle (default action), calm. And fits nicely into the positive/neutral/negative logic that most people are familiar with.

    You can aim and react or interact “live” with things under times pressure, this was a refreshing move away from the horrible QTEs and I wish more games would do this. The only issue though is the cursor should have been auto centered in the middle of the screen. Sometimes not doing something is also an “action” you can take. Refreshing.

    Instead it’s just sort of stuck to wherever you last had it before the camera started moving. This means you’ll see it “drift” to the left or the right. If the character had a lazy eye I might understand, but when a normal person peaks around a corner, their eyes (crosshair) does not wander in the opposite direction.

    Some lipsyncing issues. Also some issues with stuttering. (loading of game assets causing it I assume.) Some animation seem a bit stilted (caused by lack of mocap, or caused due to actually using mocap, hard to tell really)

    Story, atmosphere, setting, voice acting, dialog. These are darn solid.

    Trying hard not to spoil anything here but. I hope the series goes for 3 seasons and that we get to see the girl go from being a kid, to a teenager (season 2) to a young adult (season 3). It would make sense as a arch, and allow that character to change without really changing per se. (and the player choices would influence the character traits she gains)

    I just hope the devs pay close attention to what BioWare did right (and not so right) about the Mass Effect trilogy. BioWare was on the right track but got sorta derailed at some points. Now it’ll be interesting if Telltale manages to stay the course or not.

    Anyway I’ll shut up now. I’ll assume the Spoiler Warning crew has picked up or will pick up on some of these things. The Walking Dead game (season one at least) is not perfect and even sometimes visibly/noticeably flawed or even annoying, but still manages to remain enjoyable.

    Lets just hope Telltale do not grow too fast too quickly as that could ruin what they got going. And once they are doe with The Walking Dead. I heard the guy behind Sons of Anarchy was hoping to see a game based on their series.

    EDIT:
    And would it be so hard to provide a option to turn OFF the dialog choice timeout? OR a pause button once could hit if they feel like more time is needed to make a choice. On at least once occasion the timer ran out before I was actually done reading the text of all 4 options, which is annoying indeed. (and far from realistic behavior obviously)

    • baseless research says:

      I suspect the “carson and peters will remember this” is occasionally used by the developers to troll the players. As in, “C&P will remember this”, then next scene they die. Is it good design, IDK. But I doubt it is unintentional.

      • I wonder if the notification is a random pick.

        character x [will remember | noticed | understood | blah] this.
        And that the notify is tied to the character object somehow, and the character (npc) savestate is carried through the episodes, even if the character is no longer in later episodes for example.

        I do not see why they would troll players like that. There is the rewind feature which is the nicest way I’ve seen checkpoints ever presented before. Another plus for Telltale Games I guess.

        The character dialog/voice/animation/acting should instead reflect character reactions to the player choices. (and come back to haunt the player later possibly)

        I suspect it’s a mechanic quirk. And if it’s not, well then I still consider it a flaw, “the narrator is lying” is a very dangerous thing. And since the notifications can be turned off it seems a bit odd to design that.

        It’s also possible that the particular incident I’m thinking of might have had more (alternative) outcome just after, but it was cut for various reasons.

        A quick fix would be to make sure that such “needless” notifications are not displayed (if the choice that activated the notification does not matter anyway) as it’s rather just distracting and not clever at all, if their intent was to make it look like it’s a design flaw then they are good trolls indeed, but I doubt “Haha, you thought it was a bug?” was their intent.

        It’s nice the have the option there to turn it off, and if folks here have not played it yet I suggest you turn it off as it does ruin the immersion. and though the animation is a tad rough now and again, the dialog and voice acting help carry it and you should be able to judge the character reactions that way instead.

  55. Wulfgar says:

    walking dead? yes!

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