The Walking Dead EP27: Busted!

By Shamus
on Feb 7, 2013
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

I made fun of the whole exchange between Kenny and Ben, but it was actually a much-needed resolution to the tension that had been building up. A lot had happened since Ben’s confession at the end of Episode 4, and it was about time their animosity was updated to reflect current events.

Since I brought it up in this episode, let’s talk about the converging choice at the end…

I lost my train of thought in the middle of the fatalism rant. (Perhaps this is why I shouldn’t try to talk about one part of the game while watching Josh play another.) I dislike the whole, “It’s about fatalism” argument because it feels like the “it’s about cycles” excuse for Mass Effect 3. I could claim that the stupid, tedious tutorial of Homefront is actually all about the lack of autonomy that soldiers face in war. Or whatever. You can literally make that excuse about any dang thing by ascribing authorial intent to brokenness, but it doesn’t make it any less broken.

In the past I’ve praised this game for being clever about how it hides your lack of choice. Before now you were making small choices and it was difficult to see how they converged. But here in Episode 5 the game suddenly becomes clumsy and heavy-handed about it. This was one of the big frustrations with Mass Effect 3 as well: Don’t trumpet a decision as incredibly important and then flagrantly negate that decision. It turns out that the big, important choice at the end of Episode 4 doesn’t matter. One way or another, you’re quickly reunited with everyone. Omid and Christa are always with you, and they always survive. Kenny is always with you, and he always dies. The only variation is if Ben is with you, and that’s tying up a decision you made last episode. Either way, he’s dead by the end.

As Phantosification said in the comments in the previous post:

But I refuse to believe that [Vernon’s group] would then rob (either at gun-point or when they’re not around) the people who helped get them medical supplies. Vernon would not tell Lee that the boat is a dumb idea, and offer to protect Clem, and then steal that same boat while also dooming that same little girl.

That. Is. Stupid. That is a convoluted excuse to make the entire team go to the Marsh House. It completely betrays the established character of Vernon. It was a cheap “solution” to the fact that Telltale Games wanted to bottleneck this game at the last minute, either due to a deadline or recklessness.

Vernon’s group was supposed to be the anti-Crawford. Now here in Episode 5 they run directly against everything we’ve been told about their characters. It feels implausible and arbitrary. It’s not that I believe it’s impossible for the group to make this decision, but the story never properly set up this “twist”. You can’t just have a random betrayal in a story and expect the audience to swallow it. If Princess Leia tried to kill Luke in Return of the Jedi, claiming she’s been with the Empire the whole time, it would feel like stupid nonsense because the writer hadn’t laid the groundwork for that outcome. We gave Mass Effect 3 a ton of crap for this sort of thing, and it was painful to see Telltale making these same mistakes.

The game bent characters (Vern’s group) to act against their established values, and contrived a lot of really random events (the breaking ladder, breaking iron balcony, breaking sign) to shove the story where the author wanted it to go. The writers had a much subtler touch earlier in the series, and I really appreciated it. It’s not that this final chapter ruins the story, but it would have been that much better if the writer hadn’t been cutting so many corners or had planned ahead a bit better.

The next episode of Spoiler Warning will bring the game to an end and we’ll all give our final thoughts.

EDIT: Just after I posted this, I read this comment by Steve C, where he makes a pretty good case that Vernon’s group is actually pretty evil. I’m not ready to claim this was a great twist. I STILL think it was off-message and heavy-handed, but the betrayal isn’t quite the ass-pull I took it for.

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From the Archives:

  1. Din Adn says:

    Just completely OT, having Leia betray everyone to the Empire would be a pretty hilarious twist.

    She could be all like “Actually, this whole ‘rebellion’ shtick was just me making a grab for power against dad. Doesn’t look like it’s working out how I planned. So I’m going to shoot everyone now.”

    • Felblood says:

      Actually, you’re right. It would have been a sweet twist if Leia had secretly known all the stuff that Luke had just learned at the end of Empire.

      It would only work if she would still work with Luke to save Han, and then tried to take Han with her. Betraying the group before rescuing Han would still be in line with everything Shamus says above.

      • Matt Downie says:

        We never did find out what happened between her and Vader in the torture chamber. He could have used the force to identify her as his daughter, then used that information plus his power over her to turn her to the dark side. She allows herself to be rescued and the Death Star to be destroyed, taking credit for it herself (while staying near an escape shuttle just in case the rebels lost the battle of Yavin).
        Now she has power over the rebellion and a contact at the top of the empire. She secretly trains herself in the way of the force (the dark side is easier, so she doesn’t need a Yoda), waiting for an opportunity to sell the rebellion out to Palpatine and take Vader’s place…

    • MrGuy says:

      Remember that, unlike Luke, Leia was raised by someone who knew she was Vader’s daughter. It’s implausible this doesn’t slip at some point.

      She joins the rebellion with blind teenager rage. Oh, daddy built a huge, expensive space station? I’m going to blow it up! How do you like that, huh???

      Then she ices the cake by falling for the bad boy the knows her father would never approve of.

  2. I-Spy says:

    As a side note, I love the entire holdout scene in this part of the episode. It’s so short, but gets the blood pumping. At first it looks like it’s up to you whether or not your defenses fall apart, but soon shows how helpless it is to fight the oncoming horde.

    As the zombies move further in, the group gets backed into that corner and everyone says how many shots they have left, and you can count every last one of them being fired. It does a great job of setting the mood the next scene in the attic, where staying calm (a hard thing to do after a fight like that) fast-tracks you to the exit strategy.

  3. newdarkcloud says:

    Ugh. We finally reached Kenny’s death bell. I’m in completely with you, Shamus. I felt like there was absolutely no reason to kill off Kenny and Ben. That was dumb and unnecessary.

    I also really hate that Kenny didn’t go the common sense thing: Just shoot Ben and head on back up. He JUST chastised Katjaa for throwing away her own life, and now he goes and does the exact same thing. That was irritating.

    And thank you for bringing up the even more bullshit version of Kenny’s death. That’s even DUMBER than this one.

    • Isy says:

      It’s odd – I got a different speech from Kenny in the room before he died. “I could have been a better husband, I could have been a better father.” And he didn’t mention Katjaa at all, it was just implied. I felt like dying here was, in some ways, making peace with what she’d done, and finally understanding it.

      Here it just makes no damn sense, yeah.

    • Steve C says:

      I would have preferred a random rocks fall, everyone dies death for Kenny over the one where he throws his life away. “Rocks fall” death is what they used on Ben. Though it would have been better if he slipped and fell since he’s, you know, Ben. I don’t like rocks fall deaths but that’s real life. People die unexpectedly and suddenly from crap that takes everyone by surprise.

      A more poetic way would have been role reversal. IE If Kenny screwed up which dooms Ben unintentionally. Then he would’ve had at least a flimsy excuse to do a last stand. Still would have rung false though because there are other things for him to do. Clem still needs saving. Plus Kenny is abandoning Lee who’s just as dead and could also use Kenny’s help when the inevitable happens.
      Lame end for Kenny.

      • Thomas says:

        I felt the game misunderstood me here. I wanted Clementine to survive but I cared about other people to. I was aiming to get other people through this almost as much as I wanted to see Clementine survive and here it seemed like they were assuming that as long as the girl survived it was okay.

        But I put up with Ben’s trouble, I dragged him up the belltower, watched him find his confidence and stand up for himself. I got Kenny through everything, I pulled him through the difficult times and he’d just confirmed that he was going to keep on fighting and keep on living despite everything that had happened.

        And then they both got killed off because it was the end of the game and… reasons? Their deaths felt meaningless, without context in the wider story or theme. They died because somehow it was inconvenient for them to be alive at this juncture. And so the game destroyed my founding motivation for playing it, which is part of why I’m not even going to watch the ending again

      • Zombie says:

        Doesn’t Kenny go across right before Ben? I mean, that’s not much of an argument, but if that’s the case then it kinda is Kenny’s fault Ben died.

    • Zukhramm says:

      YES! I’m so glad I dropped now, because if I had seen that scene when playing the game I’m sure it would have totally ruined it.

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      I think Kenny is committing suicide here, he’s just doing it in a moderately acceptable way to himself. Fans of ROME can think of this like when Brutus commits suicide late in the first season.

      This whole sequence, from the argument to death, is Kenny’s getting to do everything he screwed up right. He quasi-adopts Ben in those last moments, so he gets to kill his mortally injured son, defend his family against zombies, and then see them again. He says it himself in episode 3: there’s no way he can live after what happened to Shawn. Here he gets to make ammends.

      The problem with this sendoff is that it only makes sense if you’ve done certain things previously.

      While I’m actually OK with the way the story converges -since the convergence is actually pretty good rather than based on a stupid god hologram -this is the real problem with the game. The convergence makes more or less sense depending on how you played the game earlier.

  4. Spencer Petersen says:

    The death of Kenny and Ben has some variations. If you refuse to abandon him and say that Katjaa would not have wanted it this way, he says “Either I save the kid, or I get to see her again” and that really is the emotional sendoff that made me forgive him for any problems we had.

    Also, if you had any ammo left from the shootout and you give him the gun, you hear 2 shots, and in that case Kenny is almost certainly dead.

    Finally, I am disappointed that you missed the powerful ‘stache easter egg.

  5. Chris says:

    Since we’re nearing the end of the series anyways, I figured I should link this. Don’t be scared off by the video’s title! It’s far less pretentious than it sounds, and it’s really framing the whole thing as a metaphor for redemption rather than literal purgatory. But even if you disagree with both redemption and purgatory readings, it highlights some REALLY interesting framing devices we never really discussed on the show. Especially the breaking/handcuff/kill-zombie-cop stuff and the fact that you pass the station wagon you steal from in the intro.

    • kanodin says:

      I view purgatory theories much like Shamus views the fatalism rationale, i.e. you can apply it to damn near anything and it’s a useless theme. Random examples pulled directly out ma ass:

      Simpsons: The simpsons are all souls working their way to heaven. Note the opening of the show which begins in the clouds before moving down to bart with his endless writing on a chalkboard, a punishment for his bad behavior symbolizing the labor of self improvement needed to ascend. Where bart works his father homer however slacks off and never accomplishes anything, and this is why most of the episodes are about homer trying some random new profession and backsliding back into turpitude almost immediately. Lisa is a soul unaware of it’s ownfailings, she is prideful and entirely self assured and so never realizes she must make progress and may be trapped in purgatory longer even than lazy homer. Marge is a Beatrice figure trying to guide them all.

      Fallout 3: Fallout 3 makes no sense as a cohesive universe, it’s full of logical inconsistencies and morality is starkly black and white. This is intentional as it is really purgatory and the vault dweller in doing the repetitive jobs asked of him through the wasteland is purifying his soul before it can leave this blighted land for heaven. The giant illogical purifier at the end is really the purification of the vault hunter himself, and he dies at the end because he is ascending not because of magic radiation.

      Civilization: Civilization is purgatory for everyone who ever desired power or control or violence. Civilization gives them that power but makes making war with it entirely unsatisfying and encourages growth towards peace and the good of mankind instead. The endless desire for one more turn is really the souls dissatisfaction with “victory” achieved with impure methods and will only be satiated when one wins a diplomatic victory as gandhi without ever declaring war or using any techs that hurt your people.

      I can do this all day.

      • Chris says:

        Yeah, and that’s why I dismissed the video at first, too. But it’s really not so much about literally purgatory and more about how the game reflects upon Lee’s redemption, simply framed as a metaphorical purgatory to prove Lee’s worth based on the video maker’s own perspective. I still think there’s some symbolic resonance that the video points out that we don’t ever do that’s worth noting, even if you don’t buy into the generic purgatory reading. I mean, the guy himself points out that it’s sort of a pretentious, tired way of reading things.

        • kanodin says:

          Ok I gave him a second chance and you’re right, he does eventually move off standard purgatory theorizing and onto interesting points about lee and his relationship with clementine, my mistake. You’d think I’d know better after you offered a disclaimer to begin with.

          In regards to the idea of Clementine redeeming Lee, that’s a really good point that I don’t think I’ve ever seen brought up anywhere. I speculate that it’s easy for someone controlling Lee to never even realize Lee would require such a redemption, especially with the slow reveal of his backstory. Best part? People’s response of reining in their behavior whenever Clementine is that redemption in action.

          • Zukhramm says:

            But Lee doesn’t require such a redemption. The whole backstory is brought up just a few times at the start to fuel a conflict with Larry and then just dropped. Such a reading would be much more interesting if the game at did something with it.

      • I-Spy says:

        Oh, oh! Let me try!

        Deus Ex: HR is actually a purgatory for the central character: Adam Jensen, who really died after the prologue. The story is one of redemption where Adam must fight the underground organizations that represent the lies that obscure Humanity’s vision of absolute truth. Accomplishing this, he finds inner peace, represented by his ex.

    • Shamus says:

      That’s an excellent video.

      I also appreciate how it was offered as a personal interpretation and didn’t try to insist that this was what the writers intended. This was a problem that Indoctrination Theory had. So instead of discussing meanings and symbolism, everyone squabbled over Authorial Intent.

      For the record: I totally missed the framing devices.

    • I disagree that use of terms, parallels, applications, etc. concerning things religious/theological automatically equals pretentiousness, but yeah, that was a fascinating video!

    • Steve C says:

      Wow that made rethink my opinion about the game. Good find Chris.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      Very interesting interpretation of the events in Walking Dead.

    • Eremias says:

      Of course it also highlights why TWD is not a good game. Its use of game mechanics for story purposes is entirely negative, as in:
      “You can’t do anything! That’s the point!”
      As far as games as a medium of art go, that’s not impressive at all.

    • Zukhramm says:

      What exactly is “Lee never left the crash site” supposed to mean? He obviously did physically, so, metaphorically? I just don’t get what that’s supposed to say.

      The main thing I ask of any kind of interpretation is “Does it make the game more interesting of looked at that way?”, and in this case I don’t think it does.

      • Zombie says:

        Having not seen the video, I’m going to guess he means it literally, as in Lee died, and now he’s going through a redemptive process.

      • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

        It’s a very interesting way to think about the game -it just may not be the “correct” one. I don’t think it is obvious to see the game as the story of a man delivering a girl to new parents. It is far more obvious to interpret Omid and Christa as the replacement for Lee who is the replacement for Clem’s parents. In this telling, Omid and Christa are the replacement for Clem’s parents directly -and Lee is simply guiding her to the new home. I would add to the analysis that this makes the appearance of Clem’s parents at the end far more meaningful. Lee is ushering Clem away from her parents and sending her to her new parents -thus acting not in the role of hero, but in the role of Ferryman.

        This is a new and non-obvious way to think about the game, entirely aside from whether the entire story is happening in Lee’s head on the cusp of death.

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      I have never heard that accent before. Anyone know what it is?

  6. Isy says:

    I disagree that they never brought up fatalism, Shamus, I think the characters outright state it twice. The first is in episode one, where Lee straight up says “You think you have a choice, but when you look back on it, you really don’t.” The second was in Crawford, where someone answers what happened with “What always happens. The dead win.”

    That being said, I too thought they were really going to diverge here more than they actually did. In my actual playthrough I had Ben and his death felt natural because… well… Ben’s cursed. But I didn’t expect to find out Kenny dies either way, and he dies over a walkie talkie the other way.

    • Thomas says:

      Fatalism is the games title. The zombies aren’t the ones who are The Walking Dead.

      It leaves me in an uneasy place, I accept the fatalism is the most important thing that makes this a Walking Dead adaptation and the lack of choice is an important part of that. But I’ve got no reason to accept or consume fatalism. The game needed to make the argument about why you continue even if you’re all doomed and the best we get is that little scene with Kenny and the suiciders.

      • Deadpool says:

        I would have to disagree. I think a story that has sprawling, choice driven story, where the plot can go down 100 WILDLY different ways but they ALL end with your dying SOMEHOW would push fatalism harder than a straight up narrative…

        I think “you die no matter what you do” is a stronger message when you can do more than one thing.

        • “Fatalism” has always felt like an empty excuse to me. Like when someone falls down a flight of stairs, and then says: “Uh… I MEANT to do that!”.

          Especially from game developers who just didn’t want to have to playtest more than one outcome.

          • Thomas says:

            But that really isn’t the case here, because when you listen to the dev interviews (and this was way before Ep 5) they’re already talking about fatalism as a theme then. ‘The Walking Dead’ thing was cited by a couple as their favourite thing about the franchise and one of the things they really wanted to get across.

            And as we’ve complained, they’ve gone out of their way to do it, there were multiple instances (including most of chapter 5) where they actually wrote in extra scenes so that people would die off pointlessly. It’s more work to kill off Ben here then it is to keep him alive because you split from the party in pretty much the very next scene

      • Isy says:

        Well, I think fatalism is a theme, and a big theme, but not the only theme. I’d characterize the game’s theme to be fatalism vs. hope, since most the big decisions center on variations of the two:

        Do you hold true to yourself and accept your fate with dignity, or do you keep on fighting until the end despite pain you cause yourself and others?

        In that same vein, do you hold true to yourself and to your morality, or do you do whatever you must to save yourself and those you love?

        I think the game wasn’t just about fatalism, but keeping hope in the face of fatalism. Despite the fact Lee has no control over anyone’s fate, he keeps trying. On the other hand, I agree that Kenny’s death here feels clunky. It didn’t feel clunky to me, because I’d gotten a different speech from Kenny, and his death felt like a resolution to it. Katjaa had been trying to hold true to herself, while Kenny was always willing to compromise himself to keep his family safe. Staying with Ben felt like him understanding and coming to terms with her decision. But him dying after his speech in the SW playthrough… makes no sense, and him dying without Ben also makes no sense (and is stupid). Without that resolution with Ben, it would have been better if he’d continued on, just as his usual douchy self.

        Ben… I already accepted most his screw ups were due to writer spite, so it didn’t surprise me they went and killed him out of spite. That kid was cursed by the same whatever that made the zombies.

        • Thomas says:

          That’s the theme I would have wanted, but the game didn’t really convince me it was there. Maybe the difference is that I would be real life fatalistic if it wasn’t for circumstances (I keep having to remind myself it’s not), so I probably require a more convincing argument for hope. I’d set my sights on preserving as many of the party of possible and generally keeping people alive and comfortable, and that only really worked out for Clem, who it was sort of hard written for. (If Clem had died I’d have immediately removed the game from myself, but as it was I thought about it a bit before rejecting it)

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Man I would love to see someone fire a gun gangsta style when someone is near them,and then just punch them in the nose.Why hasnt at least one parody done this by now?

  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Oh man,PCs and breaking through walls.Ugh.I tried to have one group trapped in a cave once,and make them go the other way.So I designed the entrance to collapse when they enter,and had it covered with a few meters of dirt and rocks.What did they do?They decided to dig their way out.With no tools and no supplies.I tried sending some enemies to flush them out,but they decided to fight them,and then continue the work.I had to send an invulnerable golem at them in order to dislodge them.And they were still considering losing the statue and then returning back to dig.

    It was an eye opener though,and it taught me how to better stick them on the rails(loot is the best incentive,especially if its a magical item.That and stealing their shit).

  9. Nidokoenig says:

    The idea of Kenny as Zombieman intrigues me, though given everything we’ve seen I don’t think he’d be as pathetic as Rutskarn said. Perfect stealth, the ability to rip someone’s intestines out in a single swipe, the brains to find a riot helmet to somewhat mitigate his secondary weakness, and zombies ignoring him, or even following him around like a necromancer’s pet herd, protecting him so he can loot or find a boat in relative peace. He would be an unstoppable force of nature.

  10. BeardedDork says:

    Every single person I’ve ever talked to who has been shot has said that they never felt the bullet. They first noticed either the warmth or the wetness of the blood, just like Josh said.

  11. Deadpool says:

    Well this seems like as good a time as any to talk about the whole choice thing. Since game is essentially over, I’ll be spoiling the whole damned thing.

    Choice is, essentially, the only meaningful way the player has to interact with the game. As the game progresses the puzzles get simpler and less common. Dialogue options is pretty much the only interaction you have.

    In the same token, look at your fail states. The game ends when Lee dies. Period. There are no fail states that don’t involve Lee’s death. Clem dies in a few of the fail states, but the game continues right up until Lee also dies.

    You see, the game’s story is pretty much all about making you care about Clementine. Whether you take the game’s theme as about fatalism, or redemption or all of the above it’s ALWAYS about your relationship with Clem. The whole story is to make the player care for Clem. It forces the player into some sort of “extreme parenting simulator.”

    The PROBLEM is that, with your choices not mattering, it makes accomplishing this IMPOSSIBLE. The player cannot care for Clem because the player cannot abandon Clem. The player cannot save Clem because the player cannot endanger Clem. the player cannot guide Clem into growing up to be a resourceful and capable woman in this world because the player can’t FAIL AT IT.

    Therein lies the ultimate flaw in this game: The mechanics don’t match the story. It’s a common issue (hell, last year alone had a handful of triple A titles with the same issue) in the industry, but one that damages the game nonethless.

    Looking at the fail states, the player’s entire job in this game is to keep Lee alive long enough for him to die from the Zombie bite. That is it. That’s the entirety of the player agency in this game. It’s not to pick a side between the Lily/Kenny power struggle, it’s not to save anyone’s life, it’s not to care, protect and prepare Clementine for adulthood.

    This relegates the game into little more than an animated short series that requires you to push “play” several times per episode.

    It’s kind of a shame. “Extreme parenting” would have made an awesome game. As it stands with have a really strong, emotional story shoved into the skeleton of a game. I’m actually remiss to call this game of the year because I am remiss to call this a GAME at all…

    Here’s hoping Telltale does not commit the same mistake in Season 2. But, call me a cynic, but I bet the will…

    • drkeiscool says:

      “The PROBLEM is that, with your choices not mattering, it makes accomplishing this IMPOSSIBLE. The player cannot care for Clem because the player cannot abandon Clem. The player cannot save Clem because the player cannot endanger Clem. the player cannot guide Clem into growing up to be a resourceful and capable woman in this world because the player can’t FAIL AT IT.”

      And I would argue that this criticism is invalid due to the fact that I cared about Clem.

      If the ultimate flaw of the game is the gameplay and story segregation, then I’d say it’s a pretty good game.

      • Deadpool says:

        The story made you care ABOUT Clem.

        The game didn’t let you care FOR Clem.

        And the TV trope described isn’t really the problem… Nor does it make the Walking Dead BAD…

        • kanodin says:

          I pretty much agree with you, but what about all the choices where you can fail at extreme parenting more or less? There are a number of decisions you can make that Clementine will hate, and as I recall you don’t have to be nice in justifying them either. I’m wondering if someone just completely refused the games message and took all those would they still count as succeeding?

          • Deadpool says:

            Clem will always save Molly if she’s at Crawford, she will always save Lee from the Stranger, she will always cry when Lee passes…

            She will always love Lee exactly as much regardless of player choice.

            Note that LEE does teach her how to shoot (player doesn’t, because he can’t fail at it), and build a rapport with her, and become a father figure for her, etc… The problem is that all of this are LEE’s actions and not the PLAYER’s. The player has no choice in the matter. While playing this game, you are as effective at being Clem’s parent as you are at killing bad guys while watching Die Hard.

            • Thomas says:

              This is one of the disappointments. I didn’t so much want Clem to be better or worse off depending on what you did for her, but I wanted to be different depending on how you’d chosen to bring her up. It would have given weight to what you were doing.

              I thought it would have made for a nice multiple ending, rather than vastly differing outcomes, just have the way she handles the last situation be a clear reflection of what you’d done for her in the game. Specifically, I think the player _shouldn’t_ have been allowed to make the last choice, but Clem should have made, based on what happened to Duck, what happened to the kid and what you’ve spoken to her about through the game.

    • Abnaxis says:

      ((Note that I haven’t watched the video yet. I’m a bit behind, but this idea has been stewing for about two weeks now.))

      The biggest problem everyone has with the Walking dead is the lack of consequence. Lee gets bitten no matter what, Ben dies no matter what, both Doug and Carley die in the same scene, etc. etc. As the criticism goes, this means the is weight to the choices made since they make no difference, and engagement drops. However, I would say that 90% of the criticism is rooted in a one simple disconnect between the audience and TWD–namely, TWD is not a game (1).

      It’s not a game, and everyone wants it to be one so much. Everyone wants to test themselves against the post apocalyptic universe, to wring their hands as they decide who lives and who dies, and really fight to overcome the obstacles set before them. They want it because that’s what a game is supposed to be–a set of rules designed to engage its participants. In this case engagement is measured by how focused you are on the task at hand, carefully guiding yourself toward a purpose while remaining within the confines of the rules laid out by the game.

      Conversely, TWD is…well there’s no word for it, so let’s call it an interactive movie. Engagement works different in movies than it does in games. Particularly, in character-driven movies (like TWD), the goal is to make the audience empathize with some or all of the cast. You want everyone to feel sad when Lee axes his brother, you want them to feel happy when Duck volunteers to be Robin, you want them to feel scared when Lee jumps from the belltower, you want them to be pissed when Larry punches Lee, and you want them to get squicked when they find a certain undead head in a handbag.

      The problem with consequential choices are that they are both expensive and limited in the palette of emotions they can evoke. The only real chords you can strike with choice-based gameplay are doubt (over whether you made the right choice) and satisfaction/dissatisfaction (when you see the results). Film crit HULK criticized Les Miserables for using hand-cam close-ups for every scene, because it undermined the performance of the actors were trying to evoke because the director wanted every single scene to be “intimate.” Having every choice (potentially) “matter” would yield a similar result–no matter what connection you want people to make to Lee, they will always be meta-analyzing everything he potentially says and wondering if they made the right choice, rather than feeling the emotion the story is trying to evoke.

      Whether this was the authors’ intent or not, I think TWD is better for not making you doubt everything all the time, but rather focusing on building the connection between Lee and the player. It focuses on being a movie, rather than a game(2).

      (1) I have a justification for saying this, but this post is long enough already. However, to be clear: I am not denigrating TWD for not being a game. Seeing as I spent $20 for five episodes of TWD while 6 episodes of Star Wars runs $80 new on Amazon, I’d say I came out ahead.

      (2) To be fair to critics, TWD bills itself as a game. It was created by a game company, sold through gaming channels, and the “your choices matter” is an explicit billboard saying in big bold letters, “THIS IS A GAME.” People are understandably miffed by this bait-and-switch (3).

      (3) At the same time, I don’t see how they could do it any other way. TWD is a movie that uses interactive media to enhance the connection between the audience and the protagonists. In order to succeed, it consequentially has to have and audience that is capable of interacting with it. The only way TWD could have ever sold copies is if the creators first convinced everyone that it’s a game

      • Abnaxis says:

        ((Note that I haven’t watched the video yet. I’m a bit behind, but this idea has been stewing for about two weeks now.))

        The biggest problem everyone has with the Walking dead is the lack of consequence. Lee gets bitten no matter what, Ben dies no matter what, both Doug and Carley die in the same scene, etc. etc. As the criticism goes, this means the is weight to the choices made since they make no difference, and engagement drops. However, I would say that 90% of the criticism is rooted in a one simple disconnect between the audience and TWD–namely, TWD is not a game (1).

        It’s not a game, and everyone wants it to be one so much. Everyone wants to test themselves against the post apocalyptic universe, to wring their hands as they decide who lives and who dies, and really fight to overcome the obstacles set before them. They want it because that’s what a game is supposed to be–a set of rules designed to engage its participants. In this case engagement is measured by how focused you are on the task at hand, carefully guiding yourself toward a purpose while remaining within the confines of the rules laid out by the game.

        Conversely, TWD is…well there’s no word for it, so let’s call it an interactive movie. Engagement works different in movies than it does in games. Particularly, in character-driven movies (like TWD), the goal is to make the audience empathize with some or all of the cast. You want everyone to feel sad when Lee axes his brother, you want them to feel happy when Duck volunteers to be Robin, you want them to feel scared when Lee jumps from the belltower, you want them to be pissed when Larry punches Lee, and you want them to get squicked when they find a certain undead head in a handbag.

        The problem with consequential choices are that they are both expensive and limited in the palette of emotions they can evoke. The only real chords you can strike with choice-based gameplay are doubt (over whether you made the right choice) and satisfaction/dissatisfaction (when you see the results). Film crit HULK criticized Les Miserables for using hand-cam close-ups for every scene, because it undermined the performance of the actors because the director wanted every single scene to be “intimate.” Having every choice (potentially) “matter” would yield a similar result–no matter what connection you want people to make to Lee, they will always be meta-analyzing everything he potentially says and wondering if they made the right choice, rather than feeling the emotion the story is trying to evoke.

        Whether this was the authors’ intent or not, I think TWD is better for not making you doubt everything all the time, but rather focusing on building the connection between Lee and the player. It focuses on being a movie, rather than a game(2).

        (1) I have a justification for saying this, but this post is long enough already. However, to be clear: I am not denigrating TWD for not being a game. Seeing as I spent $20 for five episodes of TWD while 6 episodes of Star Wars runs $80 new on Amazon, I’d say I came out ahead.

        (2) To be fair to critics, TWD bills itself as a game. It was created by a game company, sold through gaming channels, and the “your choices matter” is an explicit billboard saying in big bold letters, “THIS IS A GAME.” People are understandably miffed by this bait-and-switch (3).

        (3) At the same time, I don’t see how they could do it any other way. TWD is a movie that uses interactive media to enhance the connection between the audience and the protagonists. In order to succeed, it consequentially has to have and audience that is capable of interacting with it. The only way TWD could have ever sold copies is if the creators first convinced everyone that it’s a game

      • Abnaxis says:

        Your forum keeps being weird to me. The blue box should be an edit, not a reply (and I have no edit box anymore to delete)

      • Deadpool says:

        I agree it’s not a game. I just think it would be much better if it WERE a game…

        • newdarkcloud says:

          Even if it’s just a interactive movie, that is a set of rules players interact with, thus making it a game.

          • Abnaxis says:

            That definition is much, much too broad. To whit, buying my insurance policy, paying my taxes, driving my car to work, and creating a document in Microsoft Word are all examples of times that I am interacting with a system of rules, yet I am not gaming.

            The best way I can think of for adequately narrowing down that definition is to say that games are a set of rules that players interact with that hold some intrinsic value independent of any other higher purpose. I only interact with the rules insurance companies lay out because I want to have financial security for a minimum price; I only interact with traffic laws because I want to travel from point A to point B safely and without fines; I only interact with the rules for taxes because I don’t want to be audited; and I only follow the rules Word lays out because I want to create a document to share with others. These sets of interactive rules only matter to me insofar as I have to put up with them in order to do something else.

            On the other end of the spectrum, TF2 is a system where interacting with the rules is the whole point. It is a virtual system of rules laid out to let one set of players compete with another, and it serves no other purpose beyond that. Minecraft is a set of rules players interact with that defines virtual worlds with virtual physics and materials players can use to express themselves within the confines of its systems. The Sims a set of rules governing the health and psychology of little virtual people, which player can develop, try to please, or make miserable as their whims dictate. In all of these cases, players are interacting with the rules purely because they desire a set of rules to interact with–they have intrinsic value in and of themselves, outside of any higher purpose (in fact, they don’t even have any higher purpose they only exist to be interacted with).

            In the same way that traffic laws are designed solely in order to facilitate travel, the dialog trees in TWD only exist to reduce the separation between Lee and the audience and make TWD into a better story. In fact, virtually all of the gameplay has little intrinsic value on its own, but instead is almost wholly subservient to the story. That means TWD isn’t a game.

            • newdarkcloud says:

              Even by that definition, I’d still consider TWD a game. Though the choices themselves have little value, the act of choosing held great value to many players during their time with the game. I understand if you feel disappointed, I do too, but those choice still have value.

              • Abnaxis says:

                I don’t feel disappointed. Let me stress again: I like the way TWD was done. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I don’t want my choices to have any more consequence than they did, and I’m giving my justification for why.

                My justification is that the dialogue system isn’t a game. Think about trying to pull that system out of TWD, packaging it, and playing it absent any story context, like a game:

                GAME: “You see a child zombie ahead, do you

                –A) Shoot it?
                –B) Let someone else shoot it?
                –C) Leave it.”

                PLAYER: “B”

                GAME: “Your friend kills the child”
                ___________________________

                That interaction not compelling as an interactive system in and of itself. However, when taken within the context of the story, those two choices take on a whole different meaning.

                When Duck is dying, you get to decide whether Lee or Kenny (or neither) kills him. What you decide to do makes virtually no difference in how the program proceeds. However, in making your choice, you get to decide what kind of person Lee is. Is he a protector, ready to kill the Duck himself to save Kenny the pain? Is he a stoicist, forcing Kenny to do the deed himself? Does he avoid killing Duck because he can’t take the pain, doesn’t want to waste a bullet, or still has hope that the world will recover?

                That’s all for you to decide. Whatever you are feeling, you can try to express that through Lee, thereby forging a stronger connection between you and the story’s protagonist. The “gameplay” isn’t worthless, per se, but it serves no function if you try to separate it from the story. That means TWD isn’t a game.

      • Isy says:

        By that logic, no point and click adventure game is a game. Just because The Walking Dead’s puzzles are “use shovel on grave” doesn’t mean you don’t have to “solve” it. In fact, adventures games usually have even less control over what happens in the plot.

        That being said, I’d call The Walking Dead closer to a visual novel… which I still think is a game.

        But it’s interesting because we have points where you can fail. It results in Lee being dead. For example, if you say the wrong thing to Mrs. St. John, she shoots you in the face. We don’t consider these choices at all, despite the fact they clearly are. Why? Because it’s a total dead end, so we ignore them.

        I’m not saying TWD couldn’t be much better written in many aspects, but I’m leery of what people seem to want. Kenny is the character that changes the most depending on how you respond to him, and he’s also the character with the most potential clunky scenes because of that. I’ve played KOTOR and Dragon Age, and if Clementine was reduced to a bunch of “you did this, and got +1 with Clementine!” it would ruin the entire experience. Those dialogues never felt like actually trying to build a rapport with a character, but instead doing a little dialogue jig to say whatever made them happy. I was way more invested in Clementine than anyone from any of those games.

        I also feel like, sometimes, “I wish there were consequences for this action” is code for “I wish people who didn’t pick my choice got punished for that.”

        • Abnaxis says:

          I’m curious about why you think I’m saying TWD isn’t a game, because I didn’t actually give my logic for it. Specifically, I think in order for something to be considered a “game,” the gameplay has to have at least some intrinsic appeal outside of the context of some higher purpose. The gameplay in TWD would be absolutely terrible if it was implemented without story context. In fact, I would go so far to say the gameplay in TWD only exists to serve to the story.

          That’s why I think TWD isn’t a game. Note that the above isn’t true of most point ‘n’ click adventures (or the Sims, or Cops and Robbers, or most other “game” activities that get left out when people try to define games).

          Also, I’m not sure you have a fair characterization of what people want. My impression from discussing this with others is that people wanted to feel like they had agency in how events unfolded. Whether their own results wound up better or worse, they wanted to feel like they were contributing their part in helping characters survive and develop, but feel like they were denied that. Also, I’m not sure there’s that much difference between “you got +1 to Clementine” (like Dragon Age) and “Duck thinks you’re awesome” (like TWD), other than maybe a level of abstraction on top of all the equations the software is tracking.

          The point about fail-states is interesting. It’s almost like characterizing TWD as a strict pass/fail dialog tree game where you either dodge all the dialogue landmines or you die, kind of like platformers where you either have a perfect run or die. Still, the vast majority of the game has no fail-state, with the exceptions being the places where the writers want to evoke a feeling of tension (stand off with St. Johns included) so I would still say this is an example of gameplay elements only mattering in context with the story.

          • Isy says:

            I appreciate that people want to feel like they had more agency – and also that they feel what happened in episode 5 was clunky and ham-handed and unnecessary. I certainly agree with the latter. As for the former, my argument is more… I think there would be consequences to what people are asking for that aren’t being considered.

            Let’s bring up fail-states again. I’ve seen people state they’re disappointed that some choices (trying to save Larry, for one) didn’t result in a game over. But once that happens, we no longer consider that a viable choice. I mean, the game is telling you it’s not a viable choice, because now you’re dead. If you want to proceed in the game, you have to go back and make another choice. We’re not talking about those people right now, but this is relevant, so bear with me here. Now, let’s imagine that choice with Larry… but you don’t die until three minutes later. So it’s both a dead end, and really annoying.

            On a different note, suppose saving Larry got Kenny immediately eaten. You’d probably reload, right? The game is kind of indicating that wasn’t the right choice either. Now, what if Kenny got eaten three episodes later? Then it’s both a wrong choice and really annoying. Now what if your actions got Clementine killed? That is a really really big fail state.

            What am I getting at? In order to have the agency people are asking for, you have to have a success state and a fail state (I mean, it’s being outright stated, so I assume I’m not misconstruing that argument). You either affect people’s fates in the manner you wanted… or you don’t. If you don’t, the choices you made are as big a dead end as you getting shot in the face for picking the wrong dialogue option. You start over and try again.

            The problem with this is two-fold. Firstly, the game is kind of clunky at tracking what decisions cause what. Watch people’s non-ending confusion over Kenny for that. Secondly, if there is a state in the game where what you wanted to happen actually happens, then the choices you actually made in the game are invalidated anyway. If you didn’t get what you wanted, then you simply made the wrong choice. The game is no longer about you building a rapport with these characters, but instead trying to guess what the developers want from you so that you can get your ideal ending.

            I specifically bring up fail/success agency because a) that’s what people are saying they want and b) we do, as players, have some agency over the other characters. We don’t change what happens to them, but we do change how they are portrayed in the story, and how they act.

            As for Dragon Age vs. TWD character interactions, let’s compare Clementine and Kenny, since they’re from the same game. Kenny reacts to how you treat him in the same manner that a Dragon Age character would… sometimes bizarrely, and as a result, he’s a very love-him-or-hate-him character. Clementine always loves you, no matter what. As a result, almost every player loves her. If it was possible for Clementine to start hating you, I predict two things would happen. Firstly, we’d wind up with Kenny situations where you have no idea what you did wrong, which can really make you angry at that character and the game. Secondly, when the relationship between Lee and Clem turned antagonistic, I would argue that you would quickly lose the rapport you have with her. It’s a bit like how everyone hates anyone involved in escort missions – once a character becomes an annoyance to you, you hate them.

            • Deadpool says:

              There are a few different things going on here…

              The fail states are telling. If the game had several moments when Clem died, and the game ended when Clem died, at least one could argue the game is about saving Clem. Which isn’t perfect, but at least the game would be allowing me to do what the story is telling me to do.

              On the subject of people reloading… THAT IS NOT THE GAME’S JOB. People reload THIS game to get the direction they want, and the choices don’t even matter! If the game went with crappy choices to prevent players from reloading, they have failed.

              What consequences DO is make the choices carry weight. It’s making them ACTUAL choices. It’s making players think and feel the way the characters are thinking and feeling.

              The story leads the players to feel for Lee and relate to him. The choices are meant to expand that feeling. The lack of choice takes the player away. The player can’t say “I helped Clem survive.”, she has to say “LEE helped Clem survive.” It may seem like a minor difference, but it is major in a story focused game like this.

              • Abnaxis says:

                As far as reloading goes, it is most certainly the software designers job to decide just how much they want to encourage reloading. Different saving mechanisms have different effects on player immersion, and there’s no single right answer.

                As far as TWD goes, they designed every episode to be optimally playable in a single sitting, specifically so they didn’t have to interrupt the flow of the story by having it overlong. Given the design goal of maintaining flow, it would make sense to try to keep the player from wanting to reload as much as possible (because no matter what, they can always reload)

                Back to my original point: yes, adding consequences would mean adding weight to your choices (and to be fair, they could have used it to greater effect in certain key sections). However, making the audience believe that every choice will result in a life-or-death outcome would also turn the story into a melodrama, and all these themes people talk about parenting and nihilism and “we are the real monsters” would be obfuscated as players all put on their thinking caps and pull open GameFAQs to perform just the right calculus to get the precise outcome they want.

                I’m not saying there’s anything bad about a game that makes you consider every decision carefully, but that is contrary to the overall design of TWD. The designers aren’t trying to make players meta-analyze every decision so they can feel like they are taking on the zombie apocalypse and winning, the designers are trying to make players empathize with the cast. For the most part, they want players to take off their thinking caps and enjoy the ride.

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Once more,while some of these choices are false choices,yes,most of them arent.Dont forget that lee is just as much the character of the story as anyone else.And if you identify yourself with lee,which youll often do,you become the character in the game as well.So for example lets look at the choice of splitting the group:

    If you decide to get everyone come with you,theyll look at you as their friend,mostly.So you will be someone who is a good diplomat,a glue to this group.

    If you decide to antagonize them all,theyll still come with you.BUT this time you arent their friend,you are someone they hate,you are just another larry to them.They only come with you because they like clementine(who doesnt?),and because they lost hope of salvation,so basically out of necessity.

    Lee is a completely different person in these two situations.And nothing has to be changed before or after the split.All of the characters in the game can act the same,but the reasoning behind their actions will be way apart.Thats not a false choice,thats a meaningful one.

  13. RedSun says:

    Despite its somewhat forced presentation, I find Ben’s death to be kind of perfect. What I mean is, if you let him live he basically loses all sense of self-preservation and pledges, multiple times, that he’s going to redeem himself, that he is going to make himself of use SOMEHOW.

    And then he dies, begging and screaming for help and costing the life of the person he had the most guilt towards. He never does anything to help Clementine and he never gets a chance to do a single useful thing. It’s not even his fault;hell, he dies because everyone else went on the grate before him. It’s everyone else’s weight that does him in, in a manner. His promises are meaningless and his convictions are useless because wanting to be competent doesn’t make you competent, and in real life the remorseful loser doesn’t get a dramatic heroic sacrifice; he just gets dead.

  14. X2-Eliah says:

    So if you tell Ben to go packing at the end of Ep4, does Kenny still die here? And if yes, because of what circumstances?

  15. Steve C says:

    A follow up about Vernon’s group:
    It’s set up for the player to feel sympathy for that group. They’ve been victimized by fate first, and then Crawford. That didn’t work on me though. I hated them from the get-go probably because Vernon shot me in the head many times before I was able to get past that initial meet and greet.

    I had trouble because I did not think that walking towards a guy with the gun was a good idea. Trying to take it seemed stupid to me. I forgot I should have been using movie logic there. IE Where walking up and slowly taking the gun out of the person’s hand defuses the entire situation… something I’ve always thought fake. If I was in Vernon’s place, I absolutely would shoot a stranger that tried to disarm me. And that might be the only scenario where I’d shoot.

    I might never have noticed all that group’s many failings had I never been killed by Vernon. And maybe that means the writing was too good there. Vernon suckers in Lee, but he does such good a job that he suckers in the player too. The audience doesn’t see how opportunistic that group actually is so it rings false when it should ring true.

    • I was killed by Vernon the first time. That didn’t paint my picture of him.

      I think Brie was the only vicious member of that group, and even then I think once they got to know you, that “opportunistic” side no longer applied to you and your group.

      • Steve C says:

        Vernon is irredeemably evil in my eyes. Shooting an unarmed stranger is unforgivable. That goes double for one that’s not acting a threatening manner as Lee was. I could forgive Larry more than I could forgive Vernon.

        I find it interesting that you find Brie to be the only vicious one. Why do you find her more vicious than Vernon?

  16. baseless research says:

    Rutskarn, next time make the walls out of hard steel. And make the only tools available weak ceramic.

    • Bryan says:

      Won’t stop the players from doing the “take 20” thing.

      Or sending in the blink dog.

      …Or, in general, playing “Science, The Module”.

      Sorry, remembering Tomb of Horrors here. :-)

  17. Thomas says:

    It really annoyed me that you run out of ammo here. I’d spent the whole game worried about ammo conservation, even to smacking that poor zombie kids head in with a wrench to save a bullet and it never matters, you always have infinite ammo.

    And suddenly everyone calls out how many bullets they’ve got left and for the first time in the game ammo matters and the party are seen caring about it

  18. Danman says:

    Noticed one of the responses to Christa about “what happened” or something was “Maybe he got away.” I would be interested to see if he said that in a denial way of dealing with grief or perhaps it is a window into the “didn’t see him die” trope.

    • anaphysik says:

      I think I tested it, and it was pretty obviously denial.

      Now if there’d been a “No one could have survived that” option, then picking that would necessitate the return of Kenny ;D

  19. I’m not totally convinced Kenny and Ben HAD to die. I’m not sure that was something that really adds to the moment. Just seemed like an excuse to get out of writing more dialogue, or to eliminate as many variables before the next season.

    I can think of a better way to remove those two characters from season 2 without killing them:

    I’d still have one character slip off of the collapsing rail. But then I’d put in one of those MASH THE A BUTTON QTEs. Maybe it doesn’t work the first time because Lee is weak from the bite, but then the second time he’d have help from the rest of the group.

    If Ben were around, maybe Kenny would help pull him up, to show that he’s on his way to forgiving Ben. If Kenny fell, maybe Ben would help pull him up and show that he actually CAN help out. If Ben died in Episode 4, then there can just be THREE shadowey silhouettes in the distance at the end, instead of two.

    Either way, right before Lee crosses the sign, I’d put in one of those BioWare style “Last Chance To Talk To Your Team” moments. Maybe Ben would decide to go looking for his sister once this is all over. Maybe Kenny would join him, again, to show gratitude/forgiveness. This would free them from having to call the actors back for season 2.

    But more importantly, maybe you’d get to tell the entire group how you really feel, and say your goodbyes.

    That is what The Walking Dead lacked. Any real sense of closure. I can tell they wanted to cut down on dialogue options and put in some forced drama at those parts, but it seems to me like a gentler touch would have worked better(as Shamus put it). This way, it feels like they took the long, hard way around to a less desirable outcome. They did more to get less, instead of doing less to get more.

    All because they were so stubborn about having the last moments be two silhouettes in the distance instead of three or four.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      I also dislike this very much. As Shamus said, the ending group ALWAYS consists of Christa, Omid, and Clementine. There is no variance.

      I understand that this is kinda like how Episode 3 wipes the slate clean for EP 4 and 5, but it bothers me even more here. It’s to help establish the next season. All of the choices made as Lee don’t really matter anymore, so we can move on with the new cast.
      Still, like you say, it could’ve been handled so much better.

    • Thomas says:

      I don’t think they even needed to remove Kenny and Ben as variables for season 2. Do we really believe that Christa and Omid would have stuck with Kenny and Ben if they hadn’t found Clementine and Lee wasn’t present?

      They’d have driven each other crazy if they did. Kenny would go off with Ben and Christa would leave with Omid. If we have the same characters season 2 (I think its a bad idea, unless you control Clem, maybe grown up a bit and then I’m still not sure of OC) then it would take one line of dialogue ‘We went different ways’ *awkward pause, downcast glance

  20. As Phantosification said in the comments in the previous post:

    …I am amazed that someone, anyone, read something that I wrote. Actually read it and considered how it applied to them. I just assume that everything I’ve ever typed is cast into a vacuum, never to be seen again.

    If I haven’t caused everyone to ignore everything I say when it comes to story problems with video games, then I must not be doing it right.

    • krellen says:

      Shamus has stated many times that he reads literally every comment on the site, even ones that come years later on ancient posts.

      Having seen the WordPress interface first-hand now, I see how easy that is.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        And by easy you mean incredibly hard,because there are so many of them,some of which are nothing but spam,politics or religion.

        • anaphysik says:

          Frankly I’m amazed that comment made it past the moderation filters.

          • KremlinLaptop says:

            Now if I knew Shamus had a dedicated team of highly qualified out-of-work monkeys to check the veracity of the comments that get stuck in moderation, I might want to start a game of testing what trips the moderation-limbo triggers. Since I’m pretty sure Shamus only has a highly dedicated self-employed (?) team of Shamus checking the comments, I’ll refrain from starting hi-jinx.

            The filters, from my limited perspective, have always had some very mysterious fuzzy-logic about them.

  21. Bentusi16 says:

    See, I was always under the impression that they were trying to make it seem like Ben had broken his spine in the fall, and that’s the reason he keeps going ‘I’m ok’ and not realizing how bad he was injured. He just can’t feel anything.

    Also yeah, Ben and Kennies death felt really bad. But I knew it was coming as soon as they started getting along.

  22. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    I’m not sure I’m giving the game a pass on fatalism, or if I’m disagreeing that the theme is fatalism, or if I’m just OK with the game being about fatalism -but here is what made the ending work for me:

    While the ending is functionally the same -Lee dies, Clementine runs off to find Omid and Christa, everyone else dies along the way -the meaning of the ending varies based on how you play. Play Lee as an unrepentant murderer and jerk throughout the game, and the Stranger will call Lee out on how it is Lee who is the real monster, and Lee stutters in response. Play Lee as a White Knight, and the Stranger’s accusations ring hollow as Lee sets him straight and explains how the Stranger’s problems were all self-inflicted.

    Even Kenny’s death varies depending on how the game is played -while the actions are the same, the meaning is different. Perhaps Kenny is committing suicide out of grief, or perhaps it is his chance to set things right with the universe, or maybe it’s just a stupid fluke to finally wreck his life.

    It’s like the “rhymes” of Star Wars -the good ones. There’s a great line in From Star War to Jedi which was a making of video – in comparing the duels from Empire and Jedi, Mark Hamil says “The symbols are the same, but the meaning is reversed.” We get the same thing here on different playthroughs.

  23. Cinebeast says:

    Now that Season 2 is out, it’s interesting to come back here and read the speculation about how they set things up.

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