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The Walking Dead shuffles towards the promised end 09 Dec, 2018 / 4 comments

The Walking Dead: The Final Season is getting its penultimate episode, "Broken Toys," next January. Skybound Games released the episode 3 trailer today.

Watch-out for a VO from an old (un)dead friend.

On the one hand, The Walking Dead is, at least, the final Telltale game, as opposed to that bizarre adaptation of Minecraft: Story Mode for Netflix; considering the impact the first season had on the company's trajectory, this is appropriate. (There's a joke here somewhere about it being the final nail in Telltale's coffin.) On the other, considering how The Walking Dead ends everything it touches, we best start making funeral preparations for Skybound Games.

4 Comments

  • Avatar
    Kroms on 10 Dec, 2018, 11:16…
    It sounds like was an evolution, slightly. There's a strategic element inherent in adventure games and it sounds like they expanded on it a bit.

    Too bad. That formula was obviously stale quite quickly after TWD and Life is Strange, mostly because, despite everything, you're hurtling towards a foregone conclusion. At their best, they can be unpredictable and tense; at their worst, they become "Press X for plot to progress."

    Guess we'll never know, now.
  • Avatar
    AlfredJ on 09 Dec, 2018, 21:59…

    Kroms

    AlfredJ

    It was the first time in a long time for me to be so interested in what they were going to do next, gameplay-wise.


    What changed? I haven't played their games since TWD S1.



    Well it's not huge, but I did think it made significant strides forwards. The basic gameplay is the same, with the dialogue choices/relationships being at the centre of it all, but the environments are a lot more open (think more in the line of a modern third person action adventure), with little extra bits like collectibles you can find and use to decorate your sleeping quarters, and the action scenes are more involved (one example: walking around in a forest while zombies are coming from different directions, choosing which zombie to attack at what point (and to either go for a quick knockdown to get away from a group of them, or a full kill that takes longer and leaves you open to attacks), and luring them into traps (Ewok-style tree trunks on ropes that can crush them), all with more direct control rather than just QTE's). The combat system is not as elaborate as, say, the Uncharted games, but those little things do a lot to make the experience feel less on rails. One thing I really disliked about the recent games was how it just pushed you from one dialogue scene to the next, with little to no breathing space inbetween. While it's obviously still a game with a relatively limited budget, compared to the other recent Telltales this opens up the world to you a lot more, and gives you a much better sense of your place in the world.

    It's probably not perfect, but it's the kind of step that Telltale should have taken 1 or 2 games after the first Walking Dead season, instead of just tightening that same experience further and further. I remember playing (part of) that new King's Quest game, which borrowed a lot from Telltale with the choices and episodic structure, but it made me really sad that the big, open environments of that game seemed impossible with what Telltale had become at that point. Given how WD 4 would have been the last game using the old engine, I imagine they would have kept building on it exponentially. For all the (possibly/probably deserved) criticism the new management has gotten since the closure, this game did make me start believing that they were serious about their promises of giving the designers/writers more breathing room to create actually memorable games instead of just endlessly and quickly pumping out episodes and series one after another. But I guess it wasn't meant to be.

    I mean, in the end it's still the Walking Dead, which means that it gives you the same kinds of moral conflicts you've seen in the previous games (and it's just not the kind of fiction I'm personally that interested in), but I do think they did very well, and that it was surprisingly (to me) well written. I don't know if I can recommend the game to anyone - that depends on how tired you are of the Walking Dead formula and on how the final two episodes turn out after all that's happened, but I do know there's a significant difference in quality between this game and, say, Telltale's Game of Thrones or Guardians of the Galaxy series. It felt like they were finally starting to figure it all out and become fun again. One small, promising upswing before the axe fell.
  • Avatar
    Kroms on 09 Dec, 2018, 21:15…

    AlfredJ

    It was the first time in a long time for me to be so interested in what they were going to do next, gameplay-wise.


    What changed? I haven't played their games since TWD S1.
  • Avatar
    AlfredJ on 09 Dec, 2018, 20:09…
    I'm happy the people involved get to finish this one, and good on Skybound for giving them the chance to do so. It's not exactly a profitable venture to do something like this, so they deserve some props for that.

    It's also sad as a player, because this season actually showed some much needed improvements, and it could have been the start of a very interesting new chapter for Telltale. It was the first time in a long time for me to be so interested in what they were going to do next, gameplay-wise.

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