The Walking Dead's Faces of Death: Part 2

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Posted by patrickklepek (4624 posts) -

[Warning: If you have not finished both episodes of The Walking Dead, you should read no further. Unlike yesterday's entry, however, there are no spoilers related to the comic book.]

If you’re a PlayStation 3 owner, Telltale Games has already made The Walking Dead’s third episode, Long Road Ahead, live for you. Everyone is patiently waiting for the next episode today, unless you’re an iOS user, in which case the second episode (a great one, by the way) is just about ready.

By the time everyone's sat down for "dinner," things have started to go really, really wrong.

Giant Bomb’s embarked on a five-part feature series with Telltale about The Walking Dead, talking through the biggest choices placed in front of players throughout each episode. While we’re explicitly focusing on choices that involve the death of a character influenced by the player and Lee, the actual conversation frequently wanders all over the place, as we talk through the various choices.

I’m joined by project leads Sean Vanaman and Jake Rodkin, in addition to writer Mark Darin, who took writing control of the darker, weirder second episode of The Walking Dead, Starved for Help.

I mean, it involves a bunch of damn cannibals, and if you’re not careful, Clementine eats it (them?) right up!

“Initially, my instinct was having a tally of good points and bad points and these things kind of add up and make people feel a certain way,” he said. “That was completely wrong--we had to go back and restructure it. [laughs] It’s just not a point-based structure. We were just trying to go and sway one or the other or anything, [but] it’s just incredibly dynamic and fluid and changing all the time, and it’s gotta reflect that, and not ever make you feel like you’re being pushed away at the same time.”

There’s more death in episode two, and I’m told episode three is even darker. Who knows what tragic events are in store for episode four, Around Every Corner, which was written by none other than our friend Gary Whitta.

And with that, let’s continue.

GB: While episode one has its own holy shit moments, I definitely think I was in a league of players that was not expecting the leg chopping off at the beginning of episode two.

Vanaman: Really?! I see that leg chop and go “Oh, yeah, yeah.” [laughs]

GB: It’s funny, because I was watching the clips of people playing, and it seems like there’s two things that happen, which results in the stat of 85% chopping off and 15% leaving him to die. You approach that scene, see you have the ability to chop off his leg, and you say “Hell yeah!” and you start chopping away. Or you’re like me, where you tried every other opportunity, and then all of a sudden you just run out of time, which I think is great, especially since the game doesn’t display that. So many other choices in the game have a timer, so you know what you’re working against.

Darin: Yup. [group laughter] We went back and forth for a little while, as to whether we should have an indicator on the screen or not that says you’re closing in. But I think people already had the mindset that there’s a leg, and I’m just gonna go ahead and chop it. I think a timer on the screen would have pushed it even further in that direction. But we wanted people to have that experience, and see who were the people who were going to not want to do that, and how far are they going to take it before they get to the point where they think they’re gonna chop that leg off. It’s fascinating to kind of get into people’s heads by looking at the stats, and see who’s doing that and who’s just going right for the leg. “This is a video game, I know what I need to do, I’m chopping that fucking leg off.”

Rodkin: The best playthroughs are the ones where they’ll get two chops in, and then run out of time.

GB: That’s what happened to me.

Rodkin: “I’m gonna try to wrench open the trap...fuck it, I gotta get that leg off.” And the guy just screams, and then Kenny pulls you off. You leave the guy in the woods with his leg halfway gone.

Vanaman: Ugh. [laughs]

One chop? C'mon. Two chops? Stretching it. Three chops? Sure. Four chops? You're crazy.

GB: That was absolutely my playthrough, and my wife was screaming at me “Just mash the button, get the leg off.” Because she knows we must be running out of time, and then, yeah, we got two chops in, but didn’t get the third chop.

Rodkin: Good! I feel like so many things do come down to the details a little bit. I’m pretty sure, and correct me slash don’t include this if I’m wrong, but I think on the leg chop, when the scene first opens up, your reticule is right over the guy’s leg.

Darin: Yeah.

Rodkin: So the the very first thing you see is [whistle] that [scene] opens up and there’s an axe icon.

GB: [laughs]

Rodkin: I think if we had just moved that three inches off, so that it would be equidistant for you to swing it over to the chain and the trap or to the guys leg, and we had to let the player discover for themselves “Oh, I can chop off the guy’s leg, I bet that stat would have swung more equally.” And that’s totally down to a little bit of tuning that I don’t think we had a chance to do on that scene.

GB: How did you decide on three chops?

Vanaman: It’s an adventure game, so you have three of everything. Um.

GB: Miyamoto’s rule of three applies even to chopping off legs.

Vanaman: I’m trying to think. When it comes to Lee’s brother, that’s like four or five chops, right? We can only do four or three chops! [laughs]

Rodkin: In our QA [quality assurance] area, we’ve got a lot of one-legged guys now. We found that it takes three swings, on average, for a guy to use sort of strength and chopping agility slash ability to fully chop a leg.

Vanaman: Yeah, that’s a good point. [pause]

You know, I don’t really know. It’s one of those things where one chop, okay, it feels too much like a band-aid. It’s two chops, and you’re like “Okay, it feels almost supernatural to get through that much.” Then, you go to four chops, and you’re like “Okay, that just goes gratuitous.” Then, you go “Okay, three chops.”

Rodkin: When Nick [Herman, lead cinematic artist] was first putting the team together, he had all these horrible pitches for things like you chop the leg all the way off, and then the guy tries to pull his leg out, but then just this one [piece] is still connected and you go in there and just nick the last little piece off.

Vanaman: Oh, god, I remember that part, yeah.

Rodkin: That didn’t ship.

Vanaman: Did we have obj_bonefragment? I think we do.

Rodkin: I think there is a version where there’s just a little half [piece]. I don’t think we actually shipped with that.

Darin: Remember when the leg was moving and you had to hit it right on the spot? You could hack his leg up and not actually cut through because you weren’t getting it lined up. [laughs] We tried a few things.

Rodkin: Yeah, I dunno. Legs!

GB: The scene after that is with Jolene, and that one has a similar stat flip, where you’ve got only 13% shooting Jolene, and the other 87% tried to put it off and Danny just straight up shoots her. That did seem like a scene that, by design, if you were going to be the person who shot Jolene, you were taking this character down a path that was very intentional. Otherwise, it seemed like the game was sort of guiding you to this moment where, if Danny shoots her, you get the first indication that maybe something is up with these people that you’ve aligned yourself with.

Darin: That was the point where that is supposed to flip the table. During that scene, when Danny shoots Jolene--I still would have liked to do more [to get it] down the middle. There were some things, some ideas that I had for doing that, but we couldn’t make a path for a couple reasons. I still think the scene ended up really good. That stuff with Danny, the table kind of flipping on his character, happens throughout that whole scene, even if you didn’t have him shoot her. I still think it would have ended the same way, with you coming out of that scene, feeling like there’s something not right with these guys.

Vanaman: Because if you shoot her, Danny is like “Woo!”

GB: He even says “Nice shot!”

Vanaman: You’re like “What?!? Whoa, creepy.”

Rodkin: Did you end up shooting her? What’d you do?

GB: No, I just kept having the conversation with her, and let it go. Those tend to be my favorite moments in the series, and it happens twice in episode two, almost back-to-back. I like the timer because it creates a sense of tension, but I like it even more when that timer is happening in the background, and once the scene is finished, you realize how that mechanic worked. I think that’s driven more because I play enough games to understand what mechanics are. I imagine, especially to a player that doesn’t--like my wife, for example--it's a revelation. She doesn’t think about games in that way, so the surprise to her unimaginably bigger.

Vanaman: Yeah, and we implement that on-screen timer bar in situations where it’s reasonable to think that Lee would be able to intuit how much time he has left before something happens. When Danny just ices Jolene, that’s a surprise to the player and it’s a surprise to Lee, so we feel like it would be inappropriate to message to the player how much time is left until something bad happens. That’s the implementation strategy on that one.

Rodkin: If you can perceive that there’s an endgame coming if you don’t act, we put a timer on it.

Vanaman: It’s the difference between me throwing you a football and you know almost how long you have before you have to get underneath it versus throwing it at the back of your head. [laughs]

GB: There’s plenty of surprising moments in both episodes, but the only time I literally shouted “what the fuck” was with Larry. I chose to try and save him. The split there was actually 75/25 in favor of saving him. It’s specifically the way the camera is set up. You’re over him, and then the salt block just fucking shatters his face. Whereas when I watched the way the scene plays out the other way, where you chose to restrain Lilly, you know what’s coming, you know the salt block is coming over, but if you try to save him, that whole sequence is completely out of nowhere. It gives that element of surprise when you think there’s a chance.

Vanaman: It’s so funny. Whenever we kill a character, there’s a lot of talk of “Do we want to put a split here? Do we want to split the content here and bring this character forward?” That happens a lot. We have that talk every single time someone does. Again, with Larry, I felt like I didn’t know how much more interesting story there was to tell with Larry, but it was surely going to be interesting to this woman who’s in your crew if she thinks you helped murder her dad or not. That just felt like “Okay, that is the most interesting thing, so let’s make sure we get out of the scene with that.” Therefore, old Larry’s gotta go. [laughs]

If you chose to try and save Larry and saw the salt lick drop coming, you're a damn psychic.

GB: He felt like a bit more of a one-dimensional character. He felt like a story tool to push Lee in certain directions.

Vanaman: I thought that’s what I was writing. I really thought I was writing, and then tossing it over to Mark for episode two, and I think Mark put a lot more interesting stuff into Larry in episode two, but I thought I was writing a really one-dimensional character that I knew was going to be this tool in episode two, but there’s so many people in the forums [saying] “I didn’t think Larry was actually that bad of a guy, he’s just an a-hole, and he knew [Lee] was a murderer, so Larry seems decent. Larry just seems like a guy looking out for his daughter, and isn’t going to put up with any shit.”

Rodkin: It was surprising and kind of awesome to read. Like you, I came across a few two or three paragraph long diatribes before we were like “I know Larry is presented as the asshole in this story, but that’s who I’d fucking be in a second, if I was with these fuckers.” [laughs]

Vanaman: I dig that.

Darin: I also think it’s really interesting, watching the playthroughs of people, and they just start off episode two saying “I hate that guy. As soon as I fucking get a chance, I’m gonna kill that guy, I’m gonna kill him.” And then they get to that point and “I can’t kill him! I gotta save him! I gotta do it!” I don’t know why that is, exactly, but I like it.

GB: The conversation just ahead of that with Lilly, where you pull her aside, was important. The dialogue option I chose, at least, was “How do you put up with that asshole?” She goes through this whole little bit about “Well, he’s an asshole, but he’s my dad, and he’s just protecting me.” That is the emotional setup for what probably shifts how the player acts. I still think you would have seen a split where most people, given the choice, are not going to kill this dude, even though he’s a virtual character, but it’s specifically because of that scene that you get Lilly’s perspective on why he’s acting that way. I don’t think you get things spelled out as plainly as you do in that very short conversation, and I think that tilts it. At least it did for me.

Vanaman: That’s awesome. I’m kind of lamenting that it’s over. [laughs] Their relationship was something that was really interesting in general, but especially that opening argument with them in the drug store, I was really happy with the way that turned out. It was put together by a cinematic artist named Graham Ross, and it’s just awesome. I always wanted it to come out that Lilly was this hard ass, but if Larry told her to shut up, she was just going to shrink. I wanted the players to not actually make Larry the villain, but I wanted the way he talked to his daughter and has moments that sort of hint at proooobably some abuse there at some point--probably not a cool dude to grow up with, who-knows-where-the-mom-went sort of thing. She’s still his dad, and I’m glad that came out in episode two.

Rodkin: She’s still his dad.

Vanaman: I’m a little out in the woods. [laughs]

Darin: It was really important for me to put that all throughout episode two. [It] was to give you little glimpses of Larry’s humanity. That one dialogue that you picked really put everything on the table, but you could get through that without picking that, and still see glimpses. There’s little psychological things, like when you’re talking to Mark, and he asks about Larry and you get your dialogue options, you see an option where Lee has the option to say “He’s just looking out for his daughter.” You might not pick that, but it still sticks in your brain, and it still gives you a piece of Larry that you might not have communicated, but it still sticks with you psychologically, and that carries over about Larry’s character. So I wanted to have that stuff layered in, as well.

Vanaman: We use dialogue like that a lot. These are the sorts of things we could say, so they matter, even if you don’t pick them. Implanting them like that is always really important, and so what happens all the time is they’ll think they have learned something from a dialogue choice, and [say] “Well, I picked that.” No, you didn’t, you picked this other thing. “Well, I knew that other thing, too!” [laughs]

Rodkin: When you have the opportunity to kill Danny in the barn with a pitchfork, those stats are overwhelmingly in favor of people of people were just like “Fuck that guy” and stabbed him with a pitchfork. Then, when they get to the next brother out in the yard, the one that you can punch and then throw into a fence, next to no one threw him into an electric fence. Looking at forums, the response was “Oh, I stabbed the shit out of that guy with a pitchfork, and then Clementine was right there, and I saw here see me kill someone, and that made me think twice about doing it to the second guy, I just couldn’t do it.”

GB: You have Lee, who seems to have an aversion to succumbing to this world where you have to kill everyone and fuck everyone else. But those moments, after what those characters have gone through, you want to fuck these guys over. You want to kill them. The atmosphere--the music is pounding, it’s raining outside--it’s a setup for “You shouldn’t feel bad if you want to take these guys out.” For the player to walk away from that feels like an important emotional shift in the story, since it’s a moment where everything becomes very real for the characters and the player. If you choose to go down this path, it’s a wholly different path than if you chose to, say, not kill them. In that case, it’s the harder choice to make.

Vanaman: Yeah. Thanks for pointing that out, actually. That was something we talked about a lot. If you put a crosshair on the screen, somebody’s going to pull the trigger, you know? Games are built around these set-piece moments often times, especially linear third-person action games where it’s like “Yeah, I iced that guy!”

GB: If you put a button prompt on there, people are, by nature, inclined to press the button. If you were to put the situation down on a piece of paper and say “Do you want to kill this guy or not?” they might circle no.

Vanaman: I think some of that stuff came into Lee’s backstory stuff. I think people always say “When’s the shoe gonna drop on his backstory?” That’s coming up, obviously. We didn’t leave that behind totally. But, for me, when we were talking about “Who is this guy? What baggage does he bring to the table when you start playing the game?” I really wanted him to bring an aversion in to having killed before, feeling really bad about it, and spending some time with that to see a) if players would empathize [and] b) if players would adopt that baggage as their own and c) give Lee something to do very physically and emotionally, in idle, before the player is put through a choice where he’s going to kill somebody or not. I’m glad. I feel that’s working a little bit. It feels like it’s another wrinkle of consideration if you’re the player. If you’re an empty shell, sometimes you’re in that sort of gameplay [mindset], where it’s “I’m not making this guy do that, I’m making this shell that I’ve got [do that].”

GB: It’s not just the agency of the player themselves, but it’s also your agency over this character, who has his own backstory. There’s this really interesting tension between what the player thinks is important, but then, at least for some players like myself, not wanting to violate who you think this character is and what they would do, even if your own motivations as a player come into conflict.

Vanaman: Yeah. I think it’s interesting. It’s interesting, the gameplay story of “I met this guy, via the game, and then I sheparded him, and thus me, through a story, really trying to achieve both redemption and, also, corner off a section of morals that worked for me and the character.” On the flip side, it’s saying “I brought Lee to this place that was inside of him and it made him do all these things.” Bad ways is not necessarily the way I’d look at it. You may construe things that some people, like Kenny for instance, feels are not bad or good but necessary. That’s the thing. What is necessary is the bigger question for us when we’re creating situations for Lee. When people come out of their playthroughs, it’s fascinating both ways, and I’m happy about that.

Rodkin: And then there’s the silent Lee, who just stands around and does nothing. [laughs] Who picks the ellipses every single time, it’s the weirdest thing.

Vanaman: Yeah, whatever. That’s really hard to support.

GB: If you can separate yourself at all, how do you think you would have acted, as the player, put into these situations?

Vanaman: You’re the first person to ask that, so congratulations. [laughs] I’ve just been waiting for somebody to ask! I don’t know who I would save with Doug and Carley--it’d be close. It’s easier for me with episode two because I was a little further away. I would have chopped the leg for sure, definitely, and I would have tried to save Larry. It would be really hard to not kill those brothers. It would have been really hard not to kill those brothers. I think I would have killed them. They’re bad people in this fucking world. [laughs]

Rodkin: It’s tough. I definitely would have chopped that leg off, I think. There’s no way I wouldn’t have tried, but when everyone’s eating dinner, and Larry starts giving me shit, I would have definitely have told him to eat the fucking food. [laughs] Did you do that? That’s my favorite thing.

It's up to you whether Clementine and everyone else manages to dig into the pile of human meat.

GB: No, no. I was busy yelling at Clementine.

Rodkin: There’s one, small path you can go down where you sort of get Larry’s ire up, and he starts [yelling] “You fucking fuck” whatever, and you can just look at him and say “Eat up, Larry.” And he just starts eating the plate of food.

Vanaman: It’s the one time where it pushes the racism aspect of him the most, and he really creeps up on it, and Lee can be just like “You know, dude, eat up. Fuck it.” [laughs]

GB: I gotta go try and find that clip. That sounds awesome.

Rodkin: He’s not happy with you in the meat locker, but I probably still wouldn’t kill him. I still...I got my revenge by making him eat human meat. That’s enough for me.

Marin: I really don’t know for any of these. It’s... [pause, laughs] I know who I am.

GB: Would anyone have picked to save Doug?

Rodkin: Fuck yes.

Vanaman: Hell yeah.

Rodkin: I’d personally save Doug, but that’s because, if I were in Lee’s place. But if I were me, I would save Doug, because I’ve known Doug for, like, 15 years. That’s not a valid [question]!

GB: Oh, I forgot that. Not fair.

Rodkin: Doug is based off of Telltale’s old web designer, who’s also--he does work for us on Idle Thumbs. He does our backend stuff. He’s a dude who’s real. Making that choice is skewed. [laughs] So everyone should save Doug because he’s a nice guy. The people who did save Doug are in the minority, but many of them are very vocal about the support of their choice for saving Doug.

Vanaman: They’re like a family of brothers.

Rodkin: There’s a “Save Doug!” crew.

GB: That was in one of the YouTube videos that I pulled up. In the description, that person wrote this really long “pros” list for Doug, and how you shouldn’t let the fact that she’s a women make it that you have to save her. “Put that out of your mind. Doug is much more resourceful. Just because she’s got a gun? Everybody’s got a gun.” It was really funny how impassioned he was, so Doug definitely has his fans out there.

Rodkin: That was actually Doug’s YouTube playthrough. [group laughs]

Staff
#1 Posted by patrickklepek (4624 posts) -

[Warning: If you have not finished both episodes of The Walking Dead, you should read no further. Unlike yesterday's entry, however, there are no spoilers related to the comic book.]

If you’re a PlayStation 3 owner, Telltale Games has already made The Walking Dead’s third episode, Long Road Ahead, live for you. Everyone is patiently waiting for the next episode today, unless you’re an iOS user, in which case the second episode (a great one, by the way) is just about ready.

By the time everyone's sat down for "dinner," things have started to go really, really wrong.

Giant Bomb’s embarked on a five-part feature series with Telltale about The Walking Dead, talking through the biggest choices placed in front of players throughout each episode. While we’re explicitly focusing on choices that involve the death of a character influenced by the player and Lee, the actual conversation frequently wanders all over the place, as we talk through the various choices.

I’m joined by project leads Sean Vanaman and Jake Rodkin, in addition to writer Mark Darin, who took writing control of the darker, weirder second episode of The Walking Dead, Starved for Help.

I mean, it involves a bunch of damn cannibals, and if you’re not careful, Clementine eats it (them?) right up!

“Initially, my instinct was having a tally of good points and bad points and these things kind of add up and make people feel a certain way,” he said. “That was completely wrong--we had to go back and restructure it. [laughs] It’s just not a point-based structure. We were just trying to go and sway one or the other or anything, [but] it’s just incredibly dynamic and fluid and changing all the time, and it’s gotta reflect that, and not ever make you feel like you’re being pushed away at the same time.”

There’s more death in episode two, and I’m told episode three is even darker. Who knows what tragic events are in store for episode four, Around Every Corner, which was written by none other than our friend Gary Whitta.

And with that, let’s continue.

GB: While episode one has its own holy shit moments, I definitely think I was in a league of players that was not expecting the leg chopping off at the beginning of episode two.

Vanaman: Really?! I see that leg chop and go “Oh, yeah, yeah.” [laughs]

GB: It’s funny, because I was watching the clips of people playing, and it seems like there’s two things that happen, which results in the stat of 85% chopping off and 15% leaving him to die. You approach that scene, see you have the ability to chop off his leg, and you say “Hell yeah!” and you start chopping away. Or you’re like me, where you tried every other opportunity, and then all of a sudden you just run out of time, which I think is great, especially since the game doesn’t display that. So many other choices in the game have a timer, so you know what you’re working against.

Darin: Yup. [group laughter] We went back and forth for a little while, as to whether we should have an indicator on the screen or not that says you’re closing in. But I think people already had the mindset that there’s a leg, and I’m just gonna go ahead and chop it. I think a timer on the screen would have pushed it even further in that direction. But we wanted people to have that experience, and see who were the people who were going to not want to do that, and how far are they going to take it before they get to the point where they think they’re gonna chop that leg off. It’s fascinating to kind of get into people’s heads by looking at the stats, and see who’s doing that and who’s just going right for the leg. “This is a video game, I know what I need to do, I’m chopping that fucking leg off.”

Rodkin: The best playthroughs are the ones where they’ll get two chops in, and then run out of time.

GB: That’s what happened to me.

Rodkin: “I’m gonna try to wrench open the trap...fuck it, I gotta get that leg off.” And the guy just screams, and then Kenny pulls you off. You leave the guy in the woods with his leg halfway gone.

Vanaman: Ugh. [laughs]

One chop? C'mon. Two chops? Stretching it. Three chops? Sure. Four chops? You're crazy.

GB: That was absolutely my playthrough, and my wife was screaming at me “Just mash the button, get the leg off.” Because she knows we must be running out of time, and then, yeah, we got two chops in, but didn’t get the third chop.

Rodkin: Good! I feel like so many things do come down to the details a little bit. I’m pretty sure, and correct me slash don’t include this if I’m wrong, but I think on the leg chop, when the scene first opens up, your reticule is right over the guy’s leg.

Darin: Yeah.

Rodkin: So the the very first thing you see is [whistle] that [scene] opens up and there’s an axe icon.

GB: [laughs]

Rodkin: I think if we had just moved that three inches off, so that it would be equidistant for you to swing it over to the chain and the trap or to the guys leg, and we had to let the player discover for themselves “Oh, I can chop off the guy’s leg, I bet that stat would have swung more equally.” And that’s totally down to a little bit of tuning that I don’t think we had a chance to do on that scene.

GB: How did you decide on three chops?

Vanaman: It’s an adventure game, so you have three of everything. Um.

GB: Miyamoto’s rule of three applies even to chopping off legs.

Vanaman: I’m trying to think. When it comes to Lee’s brother, that’s like four or five chops, right? We can only do four or three chops! [laughs]

Rodkin: In our QA [quality assurance] area, we’ve got a lot of one-legged guys now. We found that it takes three swings, on average, for a guy to use sort of strength and chopping agility slash ability to fully chop a leg.

Vanaman: Yeah, that’s a good point. [pause]

You know, I don’t really know. It’s one of those things where one chop, okay, it feels too much like a band-aid. It’s two chops, and you’re like “Okay, it feels almost supernatural to get through that much.” Then, you go to four chops, and you’re like “Okay, that just goes gratuitous.” Then, you go “Okay, three chops.”

Rodkin: When Nick [Herman, lead cinematic artist] was first putting the team together, he had all these horrible pitches for things like you chop the leg all the way off, and then the guy tries to pull his leg out, but then just this one [piece] is still connected and you go in there and just nick the last little piece off.

Vanaman: Oh, god, I remember that part, yeah.

Rodkin: That didn’t ship.

Vanaman: Did we have obj_bonefragment? I think we do.

Rodkin: I think there is a version where there’s just a little half [piece]. I don’t think we actually shipped with that.

Darin: Remember when the leg was moving and you had to hit it right on the spot? You could hack his leg up and not actually cut through because you weren’t getting it lined up. [laughs] We tried a few things.

Rodkin: Yeah, I dunno. Legs!

GB: The scene after that is with Jolene, and that one has a similar stat flip, where you’ve got only 13% shooting Jolene, and the other 87% tried to put it off and Danny just straight up shoots her. That did seem like a scene that, by design, if you were going to be the person who shot Jolene, you were taking this character down a path that was very intentional. Otherwise, it seemed like the game was sort of guiding you to this moment where, if Danny shoots her, you get the first indication that maybe something is up with these people that you’ve aligned yourself with.

Darin: That was the point where that is supposed to flip the table. During that scene, when Danny shoots Jolene--I still would have liked to do more [to get it] down the middle. There were some things, some ideas that I had for doing that, but we couldn’t make a path for a couple reasons. I still think the scene ended up really good. That stuff with Danny, the table kind of flipping on his character, happens throughout that whole scene, even if you didn’t have him shoot her. I still think it would have ended the same way, with you coming out of that scene, feeling like there’s something not right with these guys.

Vanaman: Because if you shoot her, Danny is like “Woo!”

GB: He even says “Nice shot!”

Vanaman: You’re like “What?!? Whoa, creepy.”

Rodkin: Did you end up shooting her? What’d you do?

GB: No, I just kept having the conversation with her, and let it go. Those tend to be my favorite moments in the series, and it happens twice in episode two, almost back-to-back. I like the timer because it creates a sense of tension, but I like it even more when that timer is happening in the background, and once the scene is finished, you realize how that mechanic worked. I think that’s driven more because I play enough games to understand what mechanics are. I imagine, especially to a player that doesn’t--like my wife, for example--it's a revelation. She doesn’t think about games in that way, so the surprise to her unimaginably bigger.

Vanaman: Yeah, and we implement that on-screen timer bar in situations where it’s reasonable to think that Lee would be able to intuit how much time he has left before something happens. When Danny just ices Jolene, that’s a surprise to the player and it’s a surprise to Lee, so we feel like it would be inappropriate to message to the player how much time is left until something bad happens. That’s the implementation strategy on that one.

Rodkin: If you can perceive that there’s an endgame coming if you don’t act, we put a timer on it.

Vanaman: It’s the difference between me throwing you a football and you know almost how long you have before you have to get underneath it versus throwing it at the back of your head. [laughs]

GB: There’s plenty of surprising moments in both episodes, but the only time I literally shouted “what the fuck” was with Larry. I chose to try and save him. The split there was actually 75/25 in favor of saving him. It’s specifically the way the camera is set up. You’re over him, and then the salt block just fucking shatters his face. Whereas when I watched the way the scene plays out the other way, where you chose to restrain Lilly, you know what’s coming, you know the salt block is coming over, but if you try to save him, that whole sequence is completely out of nowhere. It gives that element of surprise when you think there’s a chance.

Vanaman: It’s so funny. Whenever we kill a character, there’s a lot of talk of “Do we want to put a split here? Do we want to split the content here and bring this character forward?” That happens a lot. We have that talk every single time someone does. Again, with Larry, I felt like I didn’t know how much more interesting story there was to tell with Larry, but it was surely going to be interesting to this woman who’s in your crew if she thinks you helped murder her dad or not. That just felt like “Okay, that is the most interesting thing, so let’s make sure we get out of the scene with that.” Therefore, old Larry’s gotta go. [laughs]

If you chose to try and save Larry and saw the salt lick drop coming, you're a damn psychic.

GB: He felt like a bit more of a one-dimensional character. He felt like a story tool to push Lee in certain directions.

Vanaman: I thought that’s what I was writing. I really thought I was writing, and then tossing it over to Mark for episode two, and I think Mark put a lot more interesting stuff into Larry in episode two, but I thought I was writing a really one-dimensional character that I knew was going to be this tool in episode two, but there’s so many people in the forums [saying] “I didn’t think Larry was actually that bad of a guy, he’s just an a-hole, and he knew [Lee] was a murderer, so Larry seems decent. Larry just seems like a guy looking out for his daughter, and isn’t going to put up with any shit.”

Rodkin: It was surprising and kind of awesome to read. Like you, I came across a few two or three paragraph long diatribes before we were like “I know Larry is presented as the asshole in this story, but that’s who I’d fucking be in a second, if I was with these fuckers.” [laughs]

Vanaman: I dig that.

Darin: I also think it’s really interesting, watching the playthroughs of people, and they just start off episode two saying “I hate that guy. As soon as I fucking get a chance, I’m gonna kill that guy, I’m gonna kill him.” And then they get to that point and “I can’t kill him! I gotta save him! I gotta do it!” I don’t know why that is, exactly, but I like it.

GB: The conversation just ahead of that with Lilly, where you pull her aside, was important. The dialogue option I chose, at least, was “How do you put up with that asshole?” She goes through this whole little bit about “Well, he’s an asshole, but he’s my dad, and he’s just protecting me.” That is the emotional setup for what probably shifts how the player acts. I still think you would have seen a split where most people, given the choice, are not going to kill this dude, even though he’s a virtual character, but it’s specifically because of that scene that you get Lilly’s perspective on why he’s acting that way. I don’t think you get things spelled out as plainly as you do in that very short conversation, and I think that tilts it. At least it did for me.

Vanaman: That’s awesome. I’m kind of lamenting that it’s over. [laughs] Their relationship was something that was really interesting in general, but especially that opening argument with them in the drug store, I was really happy with the way that turned out. It was put together by a cinematic artist named Graham Ross, and it’s just awesome. I always wanted it to come out that Lilly was this hard ass, but if Larry told her to shut up, she was just going to shrink. I wanted the players to not actually make Larry the villain, but I wanted the way he talked to his daughter and has moments that sort of hint at proooobably some abuse there at some point--probably not a cool dude to grow up with, who-knows-where-the-mom-went sort of thing. She’s still his dad, and I’m glad that came out in episode two.

Rodkin: She’s still his dad.

Vanaman: I’m a little out in the woods. [laughs]

Darin: It was really important for me to put that all throughout episode two. [It] was to give you little glimpses of Larry’s humanity. That one dialogue that you picked really put everything on the table, but you could get through that without picking that, and still see glimpses. There’s little psychological things, like when you’re talking to Mark, and he asks about Larry and you get your dialogue options, you see an option where Lee has the option to say “He’s just looking out for his daughter.” You might not pick that, but it still sticks in your brain, and it still gives you a piece of Larry that you might not have communicated, but it still sticks with you psychologically, and that carries over about Larry’s character. So I wanted to have that stuff layered in, as well.

Vanaman: We use dialogue like that a lot. These are the sorts of things we could say, so they matter, even if you don’t pick them. Implanting them like that is always really important, and so what happens all the time is they’ll think they have learned something from a dialogue choice, and [say] “Well, I picked that.” No, you didn’t, you picked this other thing. “Well, I knew that other thing, too!” [laughs]

Rodkin: When you have the opportunity to kill Danny in the barn with a pitchfork, those stats are overwhelmingly in favor of people of people were just like “Fuck that guy” and stabbed him with a pitchfork. Then, when they get to the next brother out in the yard, the one that you can punch and then throw into a fence, next to no one threw him into an electric fence. Looking at forums, the response was “Oh, I stabbed the shit out of that guy with a pitchfork, and then Clementine was right there, and I saw here see me kill someone, and that made me think twice about doing it to the second guy, I just couldn’t do it.”

GB: You have Lee, who seems to have an aversion to succumbing to this world where you have to kill everyone and fuck everyone else. But those moments, after what those characters have gone through, you want to fuck these guys over. You want to kill them. The atmosphere--the music is pounding, it’s raining outside--it’s a setup for “You shouldn’t feel bad if you want to take these guys out.” For the player to walk away from that feels like an important emotional shift in the story, since it’s a moment where everything becomes very real for the characters and the player. If you choose to go down this path, it’s a wholly different path than if you chose to, say, not kill them. In that case, it’s the harder choice to make.

Vanaman: Yeah. Thanks for pointing that out, actually. That was something we talked about a lot. If you put a crosshair on the screen, somebody’s going to pull the trigger, you know? Games are built around these set-piece moments often times, especially linear third-person action games where it’s like “Yeah, I iced that guy!”

GB: If you put a button prompt on there, people are, by nature, inclined to press the button. If you were to put the situation down on a piece of paper and say “Do you want to kill this guy or not?” they might circle no.

Vanaman: I think some of that stuff came into Lee’s backstory stuff. I think people always say “When’s the shoe gonna drop on his backstory?” That’s coming up, obviously. We didn’t leave that behind totally. But, for me, when we were talking about “Who is this guy? What baggage does he bring to the table when you start playing the game?” I really wanted him to bring an aversion in to having killed before, feeling really bad about it, and spending some time with that to see a) if players would empathize [and] b) if players would adopt that baggage as their own and c) give Lee something to do very physically and emotionally, in idle, before the player is put through a choice where he’s going to kill somebody or not. I’m glad. I feel that’s working a little bit. It feels like it’s another wrinkle of consideration if you’re the player. If you’re an empty shell, sometimes you’re in that sort of gameplay [mindset], where it’s “I’m not making this guy do that, I’m making this shell that I’ve got [do that].”

GB: It’s not just the agency of the player themselves, but it’s also your agency over this character, who has his own backstory. There’s this really interesting tension between what the player thinks is important, but then, at least for some players like myself, not wanting to violate who you think this character is and what they would do, even if your own motivations as a player come into conflict.

Vanaman: Yeah. I think it’s interesting. It’s interesting, the gameplay story of “I met this guy, via the game, and then I sheparded him, and thus me, through a story, really trying to achieve both redemption and, also, corner off a section of morals that worked for me and the character.” On the flip side, it’s saying “I brought Lee to this place that was inside of him and it made him do all these things.” Bad ways is not necessarily the way I’d look at it. You may construe things that some people, like Kenny for instance, feels are not bad or good but necessary. That’s the thing. What is necessary is the bigger question for us when we’re creating situations for Lee. When people come out of their playthroughs, it’s fascinating both ways, and I’m happy about that.

Rodkin: And then there’s the silent Lee, who just stands around and does nothing. [laughs] Who picks the ellipses every single time, it’s the weirdest thing.

Vanaman: Yeah, whatever. That’s really hard to support.

GB: If you can separate yourself at all, how do you think you would have acted, as the player, put into these situations?

Vanaman: You’re the first person to ask that, so congratulations. [laughs] I’ve just been waiting for somebody to ask! I don’t know who I would save with Doug and Carley--it’d be close. It’s easier for me with episode two because I was a little further away. I would have chopped the leg for sure, definitely, and I would have tried to save Larry. It would be really hard to not kill those brothers. It would have been really hard not to kill those brothers. I think I would have killed them. They’re bad people in this fucking world. [laughs]

Rodkin: It’s tough. I definitely would have chopped that leg off, I think. There’s no way I wouldn’t have tried, but when everyone’s eating dinner, and Larry starts giving me shit, I would have definitely have told him to eat the fucking food. [laughs] Did you do that? That’s my favorite thing.

It's up to you whether Clementine and everyone else manages to dig into the pile of human meat.

GB: No, no. I was busy yelling at Clementine.

Rodkin: There’s one, small path you can go down where you sort of get Larry’s ire up, and he starts [yelling] “You fucking fuck” whatever, and you can just look at him and say “Eat up, Larry.” And he just starts eating the plate of food.

Vanaman: It’s the one time where it pushes the racism aspect of him the most, and he really creeps up on it, and Lee can be just like “You know, dude, eat up. Fuck it.” [laughs]

GB: I gotta go try and find that clip. That sounds awesome.

Rodkin: He’s not happy with you in the meat locker, but I probably still wouldn’t kill him. I still...I got my revenge by making him eat human meat. That’s enough for me.

Marin: I really don’t know for any of these. It’s... [pause, laughs] I know who I am.

GB: Would anyone have picked to save Doug?

Rodkin: Fuck yes.

Vanaman: Hell yeah.

Rodkin: I’d personally save Doug, but that’s because, if I were in Lee’s place. But if I were me, I would save Doug, because I’ve known Doug for, like, 15 years. That’s not a valid [question]!

GB: Oh, I forgot that. Not fair.

Rodkin: Doug is based off of Telltale’s old web designer, who’s also--he does work for us on Idle Thumbs. He does our backend stuff. He’s a dude who’s real. Making that choice is skewed. [laughs] So everyone should save Doug because he’s a nice guy. The people who did save Doug are in the minority, but many of them are very vocal about the support of their choice for saving Doug.

Vanaman: They’re like a family of brothers.

Rodkin: There’s a “Save Doug!” crew.

GB: That was in one of the YouTube videos that I pulled up. In the description, that person wrote this really long “pros” list for Doug, and how you shouldn’t let the fact that she’s a women make it that you have to save her. “Put that out of your mind. Doug is much more resourceful. Just because she’s got a gun? Everybody’s got a gun.” It was really funny how impassioned he was, so Doug definitely has his fans out there.

Rodkin: That was actually Doug’s YouTube playthrough. [group laughs]

Staff
#2 Posted by crusader8463 (14422 posts) -

I saw the twist of EP2 coming a mile away, but it was still a fun ending. Driving me nuts waiting here all day for EP3 to come out. UPDATE ALREADY!

#3 Posted by BeachThunder (11950 posts) -

Clementine ate it for me - how fast do you have to walk back there in order to stop her? =/

#4 Posted by Tom1243 (52 posts) -

The twist was obvious but the choices and story getting there were amazing! Made me feel actually bad for doing something at a couple of points.

#5 Posted by dbene (40 posts) -

Walking Dead is good stuff

#6 Edited by Djratchet (669 posts) -

@crusader8463 said:

I saw the twist of EP2 coming a mile away, but it was still a fun ending. Driving me nuts waiting here all day for EP3 to come out. UPDATE ALREADY!

When I started to see the seams unravel (Jolene, missing survivors, extended absence of Mark, them not allowing me to go see Mark) I started to put it together, and I put it in the back of my mind thinking, nah, that's a bit too obvious..... And would they go there?

And then I found Mark.

#7 Posted by CableCarrier (58 posts) -

"Save Doug!" 4 lyf

#8 Posted by The_Ruiner (1060 posts) -

They really gave Larry some great moments in Ep. 2. He was still an asshole but you started to see his humanity in spots. When he's trying to hit on the mother or the "charm coming out of my ass" line. He started to feel like J. Jonah Jameson.

#9 Posted by Sgtpierceface (624 posts) -

Wait, was that really the real Doug's playthrough?

#10 Posted by rahulricky (226 posts) -

I think my favourite moment of Episode 2 wasn't the deaths but having to pick who gets food and who doesn't, such a nerve wracking decision.

#11 Posted by Nemuel (51 posts) -

I saved Doug aswell, he just seemed more usefull than the reporter. Also would have let Duck die if i could in chapter one, this is a zombie apocalypse, you have to be usefull or you have to go !

Online
#12 Posted by CodeHero (134 posts) -

I was 100% for kiling Larry, and I'm glad I did. In ep1 he punches you in the face and tries to leave you behind to die. If someone did that to me, and his life was later in my hands... ya he is gonna die.

#13 Edited by cap123 (2477 posts) -

My favourite of the two i've played so far, couldn't believe it when Clementine walked in on me killing the brother. I didn't think, it truly was just agression taking over and I normally play games in a very 'what best benefits me' and 'getting the good ending' kind of way.

Breakthrough storytelling in games, never been so involved in a game's story.

edit: and of course i didn't kill the second brother, i felt so guilty. Yet i still took the stuff from the car, i want her to stay innocent but she's still got to survive.

#14 Posted by golguin (3932 posts) -

I feel that so many people had the same reaction with Larry. I was one of the many that literally though "I'm going to kill him the first chance I get" and ended up trying to save him. The reaction with the first brother also seemed pretty popular with the triumph of killing turning into the shame of knowing Clem saw it all.

I'm still trying to process what happened in Episode 3.

#15 Posted by Phatmac (5726 posts) -

Fuck that guy's leg.

#16 Posted by MonkeysDad (61 posts) -

Oh, that salt lick drop... *shudder*, I may have actually shouted "Holy Shit!".

#17 Posted by Maajin (1065 posts) -

@Nemuel said:

I saved Doug aswell, he just seemed more usefull than the reporter. Also would have let Duck die if i could in chapter one, this is a zombie apocalypse, you have to be usefull or you have to go !

So would you abandon Clementine as well if you could?

#18 Posted by Dallas_Raines (2161 posts) -

@BeachThunder said:

Clementine ate it for me - how fast do you have to walk back there in order to stop her? =/

You have to pick the 'Clementine, NO!" option.

#19 Posted by KirePDX (69 posts) -

I killed Danny at first, thinking that it was justified for his past actions and to save myself, and possible future survivors, from anything he may do again. However, once I saw Clementine's reaction, I...restarted from checkpoint.

I'm disappointed in myself for doing that because it breaks the spirit of the game completely, but I just couldn't let her see Lee do that. It's amazing the impact that their relationship has had on shaping the game for me and driving my actions. If someone threatens her again, she's going to be witness to some bad things happening.

This episode planted a lot of seeds for the split between Kenny and Lee, and I'm worried that Kenny is going to do something that either directly or indirectly threatens her...and that'll be an interesting day.

#20 Posted by bvilleneuve (265 posts) -

@BeachThunder said:

Clementine ate it for me - how fast do you have to walk back there in order to stop her? =/

You have to run back without wasting a second (on a side note, how about that animation and camera movement during the run from Mark back to the dining room? Amazing animation, amazing camera movement, just an incredible sense of quick escalation and terror), and then you have to pick just the right dialogue option. It has to be the one that will get her attention immediately. I played through the dinner scene a couple times to see the different ways it could go, just because I respected the hell out of its construction after being so immersed in it the first time and wanted to take it apart to get a better look, so believe me when I say that the margin of error on getting Clementine to not eat the human meat is disturbingly small.

There are some really funny potential dialogue trees for that dinner scene, though. The best one is to just say nothing throughout the whole thing. They mentioned that that's the hardest to write for, and the funny thing is that it doesn't really change the scene that much, except for one beautiful moment where Andy grabs Clementine's hair, the camera cuts to Lee just standing there silently looking sort of confused, and then cuts right back to Andy looking confused at why Lee isn't saying anything. I definitely had a lot of fun going back through with my younger sister (who I played the second episode with) and looking at the different ways things could go.

We never changed the original playthrough, though. We both decided that that is sacred. If I had to boil it down, I must say that the most impressive thing about the second episode is that, no matter what choices you make, you always feel like you fucked up somewhere along the line. To get everything perfect your first time through and be happy with all of your decisions would take something that I don't have, but all of the choices still feel valid. Instead of feeling like I failed when I pick a choice I wish I hadn't, I feel like the game understands, puts its hand on my back, and ushers me forward.

This was as satisfying as I'd hoped it would be, Patrick. Now I just can't wait to play the third episode tonight, and then read a similar write-up when the Whitta-written one rolls out.

#21 Posted by LarryDavis (1003 posts) -

Y'know, I didn't take the supplies from the car, but not because I was afraid Clementine would be mad at me. I mean, by that point I had killed two guys in front of her and failed to keep her from eating human (I chose the IT'S PEOPLE dialogue, which, while hilarious, was not effective and just made Lee look like a crazy person).

I didn't take it because the lights in the car were still on, which means it hadn't been abandoned for that long. I had a bad feeling that if we took it, that would come back to bite me in the ass later.

Episode 1 was alright, but 2 was so much better it was crazy. Even if the "twist" was so hilariously telegraphed as soon as the creepy people kept talking about dinner. I also kept trying to get Lee to examine the wheelbarrow full of blood and clothes, but he just kept talking about how something smelled. C'mon, Lee. C'mon.

#22 Posted by audioBusting (1550 posts) -

Aw, no talk on the very last decision? I found that to be the hardest decision to make..

#23 Posted by Coafi (1488 posts) -

The thing about Doug is that he doesn't seem to be a really useful character at first, he just deals with electronics. In a world where everything is fucked up and the only instinct that they push at you is your chances of survival. Carley sticks out as the lady with the gun, because in that moment she's the only one with a gun, and with great aim to boot. So, it makes her the more intelligent choice, I don't really think it's because she's a woman. In Ep.2 we see Doug, is a bit more useful than just turning on tvs, when he rigs that alarm system.

It's weird how didn't choose to talk about Mark, who seemed like a really interesting character and got chopped up way too fast, and about the whole situation about stealing the food.

#24 Posted by Y2Ken (1147 posts) -

These have been a great read. I will definitely go through these once they're all out, they seem incredibly well constructed.

#25 Edited by patrickklepek (4624 posts) -

@Coafi said:

The thing about Doug is that he doesn't seem to be a really useful character at first, he just deals with electronics. In a world where everything is fucked up and the only instinct that they push at you is your chances of survival. Carley sticks out as the lady with the gun, because in that moment she's the only one with a gun, and with great aim to boot. So, it makes her the more intelligent choice, I don't really think it's because she's a woman. In Ep.2 we see Doug, is a bit more useful than just turning on tvs, when he rigs that alarm system.

It's weird how didn't choose to talk about Mark, who seemed like a really interesting character and got chopped up way too fast, and about the whole situation about stealing the food.

The angle of these stories is ones involving the death of a character, as we don't have time to talk through EVERY decision. Sometimes, other ones come up, and I'm interested in doing a piece once the series is finished about how the other gut-wrenchers rippled throughout, and why Telltale framed them that way.

Staff
#26 Posted by nasseh (83 posts) -

I also sided with Lily and tried to save Larry, and when Kenny wrecked his whole head I was just repeating the phrase, "What the fuck?" for a solid minute. Fuck Kenny.

#27 Posted by Coafi (1488 posts) -

@patrickklepek said:

@Coafi said:

The thing about Doug is that he doesn't seem to be a really useful character at first, he just deals with electronics. In a world where everything is fucked up and the only instinct that they push at you is your chances of survival. Carley sticks out as the lady with the gun, because in that moment she's the only one with a gun, and with great aim to boot. So, it makes her the more intelligent choice, I don't really think it's because she's a woman. In Ep.2 we see Doug, is a bit more useful than just turning on tvs, when he rigs that alarm system.

It's weird how didn't choose to talk about Mark, who seemed like a really interesting character and got chopped up way too fast, and about the whole situation about stealing the food.

The angle of these stories is ones involving the death of a character, as we don't have time to talk through EVERY decision. Sometimes, other ones come up, and I'm interested in doing a piece once the series is finished about how the other gut-wrenchers rippled throughout, and why Telltale framed them that way.

Thanks for replying, I would be super interested in reading that.

#28 Posted by Sarx (121 posts) -

Went for the leg instantly because I was so immersed in the scene. Danger felt real so I did not think I had time to check the trap and started hacking.

#29 Posted by NickL (2246 posts) -

I saved Doug and for one damn good reason.

THE LADY DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO PUT BATTERIES INTO A RADIO.

SHE IS BEYOND USELESS!

How has everyone ignored that?

#30 Posted by DeathbyYeti (744 posts) -

@NickL said:

I saved Doug and for one damn good reason.

THE LADY DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO PUT BATTERIES INTO A RADIO.

SHE IS BEYOND USELESS!

How has everyone ignored that?

Ive said this before! Carley would be useless as soon as she runs out of ammo. Doug knows electronics and how to reverse engineer things, an example is his curiosity with the fence at the farm

#31 Posted by DaneGod (15 posts) -

I'm one of the people who decided to help kill Larry, not because I hated him and just wanted to kill him because he's an asshole. I thought ok we're in this locked meat freezer with this big guy who just had a heart attack and if we can't revive him soon we're all dead. In any zombie movie I'd be screaming at the T.V. "Just kill him you know what's gonna happen if you dont!".

#32 Posted by OneManX (1693 posts) -

I HATED Larry guts... but man.. Fuck Kenny, I would of at least given Lilly a chance to say goodbye, before straight icing him.

#33 Posted by andrewtr (33 posts) -

@NickL:

Didn't think of that, I'm actually really glad that they mention this in the second episode. They address it and she explains that she was in shock or something .

#34 Posted by Terramagi (1159 posts) -

I saved Doug, because who the fuck doesn't know how to use batteries.

Zombie apocalypse comes, anybody can shoot a gun. It's the south, guns aren't hard to come by. Conversely, IT guys don't grow on trees down there.

#35 Posted by VaultDweller13 (99 posts) -

My wanting to pay homage to Soylent Green by shouting "It's people!" didn't work and Clementine ate the human meat.

#36 Posted by aurahack (2271 posts) -

I have a lot I'd like to comment on about my own personal playthroughs and how I reflect on my decisions after reading both these stories so far, but that would be so much text. Instead, I'll just say: thank you to both Patrick and Telltale for this series. This is some of the most captivating stuff I've read in a long time.

#37 Posted by WelshCleats (34 posts) -

Really, really enjoying this feature. So happy to have Patrick back.

#38 Posted by Rsvaret (47 posts) -

@DaneGod: Exactly! I did the same thing.

#39 Posted by GrandHarrier (180 posts) -

After playing Episode 3, this feature is a joke. There isn't any choice in this game at all. You'll all understand when you finish it too. Fuck man. Fuck. I don't think I want to finish the last two episodes.

#40 Posted by emtee (42 posts) -

When I chose to kill Larry, I didn't even think about how he treated me or anyone else in the past. In my mind, we couldn't take the risk of him dying and coming back as a zombie. There was no way in hell I was going to risk my ass, or any of the other survivors on a possibly slim chance that he'd be okay.

#41 Edited by warrenEBB (32 posts) -

this game is so rad. It seems light years ahead of anything else I've played all year. haven't thought so much about my relationship to the game and my role within the character within the game since the first Portal. I hope it ends up there alongside big budget shooters and such, in the year end awards/lists.

(as for my playthrough experience rant: I usually try to play as the best person I can be, figuring i'll go back later and try the meaner options. but i never go back on any of these game. So I decided Lee was a bad man at the start, and have been purposefully picking the opposite of what I'd do in every dialogue. Which has made it wildly fun. Instead of picking "the right thing" as quickly as possible, I'm actively judging each option to see which best supports the character I'm trying to pull off. And I was often suprised to see my mean spirited attempts backfire. Fun to see how the game/characters won't let Lee be as bad as I'm trying to make him. Like I was trying to alienate Duck's dad, but my conflict with Larry somehow made us buddies. and I was trying to starve the kids, but many of the adults refused my offer of food.

... and somehow the Larry death scene just broke my mind. I can't remember what I chose first. But that was the only scene in the game where I've stopped and gone back and tried every other option. even tried not doing anything. that scenario reallllly got under my skin. in the good way. :)

#42 Posted by Carlos1408 (1507 posts) -

This feature is great. I actually purchased the season pass today on Steam (which luckily was 44% off on Steam), and finish both episodes before reading them.

#43 Posted by groundbeef (66 posts) -

Killing off Larry in that scene is like losing your virginity to a prostitute. You want it so bad, but not like this. I couldn't wait to hurt Larry after he sucker punched Lee near the end of episode 1. But i wanted to take him out man to man (or at least shoot him while he was looking), not take advantage after he had a heart attack like a coward (Kenny). Like the Duck/Shawn decision, i found this scene lacked a "rational" option, which would have been to have Kenny on standby with the block until you were sure Larry could not be revived. The zombies in this world are the slow "walker" style, so there would have been plenty time to kill zombie Larry while he tried to get on his feet even if he turned.

#44 Edited by Jolt92 (1552 posts) -

I am really enjoying both the game and this article series. This will probably end up being my GOTY.

@groundbeef said:

Killing off Larry in that scene is like losing your virginity to a prostitute. You want it so bad, but not like this.

Great.

#45 Posted by ultra2extreme (102 posts) -

@NickL said:

I saved Doug and for one damn good reason.

THE LADY DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO PUT BATTERIES INTO A RADIO.

SHE IS BEYOND USELESS!

How has everyone ignored that?

She was a girl. My instinct is always to save girls. Logic has little to do with it, nature has everything to do with it. Its the wrong decision but its the one id have made. Doug shouldnt have needed saving, i dont worry about who would save me only who i could save.

#46 Posted by hostyl1 (20 posts) -

Note: I have *not* played episode 3 so this is not related to anything past eps 1 & 2 and what's in my head.

At some point, I think Lee is going to have to kill Kenny.

A while back, when I was single and childless, a 'Family Man' friend of mine made some, IMO at the time, irrational comment regarding his kids. When I pointed out that he was being irrational, he, surprisingly, agreed but continued to stick by his comment; adding something to the effect of "Parents tend to be irrational regarding their kids". Being now a "Family Man" myself, I now fully understand that concept.

If Kenny is as fleshed out as I think he is, he will do anything for his boy, no matter who it hurts. I initially sided with Kenny as I see a bit of me in him and understand his motives. But I have the feeling that *my* "Lee", who has similar 'parental' tendencies toward Clem, is going to be faced with a Clem v. Kenny/Duck moment. Since I already took Lily's side re: Larry, Kenny's not going to like that much. At some point, that could become a hindrance, and I'll have to off him. Too bad, as getting on his boat seems like a good idea.

Re Ep 2 specifically: Having recently seen Book of Eli the "twist" jumped out at me the moment we hit the farm. If this game really had choice, I would have chosen to follow Lily's advice and just get the dinner "To Go". Funny thing is though, I never went through with breaking into the back room. Again, I pretty much knew what was happening, but I never took all the screws off the lock. Maybe I should revisit that episode and see what was shown there.

#47 Posted by Tim_the_Corsair (3065 posts) -

I convinced myself I was going to kill Larry after what he did in Episode 1...then when I had the chance in Episode 2 I smoked him, though admittedly with a heavier heart than I expected.

I killed both brothers too and have no regrets beyond Clem seeing it.

#48 Posted by TheHT (11292 posts) -

Haha, I gotta run a playthrough as the silent protagonist now. I was always planning on it, but now that I know some of the devs don't like it, I gotta see how everyone reacts in-game.

#49 Posted by dbene (40 posts) -

How could anyone possibly choose Doug over Carley? First off....she knew about Lee being a murderer and didn't tell.....second off she is really hot and seems desperate (her liking of Doug), and thirdly she is the best "gun" in the group in the first two episodes.........I see a comparison between Carly and Andrea on the TV show. The only thing that Doug possibly seemed to have in episode 1 ( I chose Carley ) is some slight technology understanding..

Anyway...just my points.

#50 Edited by dbene (40 posts) -

I see your point concerning Doug.....but one makes the choice at the end of episode 1 and would not KNOW that Doug could reverse engineer stuff like at the fence.

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