The Gist - Why The Walking Dead Is So Good At Storytelling

Video games have a lot to show for their epic stories and The Walking Dead is one of the greats. We break down what makes it so fantastic.

Discussion

67 comments
scarred_fox
scarred_fox

fan of the tell tale games and love what they've on TWD.

D0BR0
D0BR0

this is a great video because I had noticed that this game got good reviews. but I just thought a bunch of biased losers who wanted to just hype up the already too popular walking dead show.  it shows me that the game is actually alot different than a standard crap movie video game.


but the show on the other hand, pittered out for me a long time ago. don't get me wrong, seasons 1 and 2 were great.  I liked the prison beginning.  then I just got annoyed and really didn't like the direction it took with the governor.  I also became very annoyed with rick.  I gave up on it after about 4 episodes into the prison season.  Merrill is my favorite character and I will have to watch this season to completion one day.


I think the series just ran out of steam. the shock value of the zombie apocalypse just ran out and became very boring for me.  good show though, better than most...

bojan_sokol
bojan_sokol

Im big fan of TWD. Love it. Both seasons are great and I hope more will come.

Dakotaen
Dakotaen

Season 1 of Telltale's The Walking Dead was brilliant. Really, it was one of my favorite gaming experiences ever. Then season 2 came around, and it has pretty much been one long disappointment for me. The episodes are half as long as they used to be, the cutscenes feel longer and as such it feels like there's even less actual gameplay. Decisions never felt less important, and the characters feel kind of bland. The story is good, sure. Great even! But in my oppinion it doesn't even come close to that of the first season.

As an aside, The Wolf Among Us, another of Telltale's games in this genre, had an amazing, long first episode, then took a steep nosedive as well. It's like Telltale has taken on too much work without being willing to hire the needed workforce, either out of greed or lacking knowledge of how to do things correctly. Now I'm just hoping for the third season to be able to salvage this series.

gajbutler
gajbutler

They suck, just adventure games without any gameplay or challenge. 

youre_a_sheep
youre_a_sheep

The Walking Dead reminds me of one of those amusement park car rides where the cars are on a rail and kids spin the steering wheel, merely pretending to have control over where they're going.  The moment I was old enough to know better it stopped being fun.  On my second playthrough as I realized at most I was merely choosing the order people die, I was over it.  Also, the controls on the console version are abysmal.

Renoo27
Renoo27

5:49. Totally agree. Just when you think you've seen the most evil a character can be, someone like this comes along. 

Aleksanian
Aleksanian

I admit storytelling skills are pretty good here...but at the expense of gameplay unfortunately. The game is way too easy and offers no challenges at all in terms of puzzles. The last good challenging game I played from Telltale was Back to the future and Tales of Monkey Island. Their new games are just too easy and offer no challenges. Might as well just watch the story on youtube.

itay169
itay169

I one of those who did not like the linearity and the lack of real consequences of the walking dead, and I don't think you need to defend it. Perphes if the choice making was a minor gameplay element and the game had stronger gameplay machenics then who could have forgiven it, but when choice making is so frequent and obviously the main gameplay system then it can't go unnoticed.


I understand that making this kind of game can be very though and requires to make completely diffrent scenes and dialoques and many cross stories, but that is the kind of challenges we expect from the company to face when making this kinf of game. sadly, telltale chose the lazy approach and that's too bad, esspecially when there are so few games which make the the chice making element right.


It the walking dead would have really meaningfull consequences for it's choices then it would be really special and unique and would have diserved it's high hype and popularity, but in it's current from it's just another average plus game from telltale and nothing more



Verenti
Verenti

Jess, watch your intonation. You can't just repeat the same emphasis for all your sentences. It makes you sound unengaged.

For me, the most engaging story line with the characters I feel the most for has to be Dragon Age 2. Hawke's story made me not only interested in the arcs of my favourite characters but, also made me, as Hawke, have an emotional character arc. My Hawke was a bit of a bad ass. She was ruthless and effective, but not malevolent. She didn't take anything from anyone. Especially not dear old uncle Gaelen. But as the game dragged on, I felt myself drawn closer to Gaelen and I didn't have the heart to return the abuse he threw my way. He didn't change, the system didn't force me to choose to be nice to him, and I didn't decide to be either. It was just a completely organic occurance. When I stood at the other end, I looked back and noticed how my character had grown over the events of the story. I realised that this development wasn't something the writers wrote. This was my own private story. That's how well that game was written, that it allowed me to so vividly stand in Hawke's shoes that I felt her triumphs and pains very personally.

simsumre
simsumre

Step 1: Place little girl in zombie world to pull emotional strings like TWD/TLOU.

Step 2: ???

Step 3: Profit.

warriors30
warriors30

(Sorry, I didn't watch the video because I'm afraid of spoilers, I haven't played the new episode yet.)

I love the TWD as a whole franchise...the Telltale games, the comics, the AMC show...I just love the characters and the fact that they're the focus here, not the zombies or mindless killing and gore.

The ending of the first season (Telltale game) made me feel like no other game before, it was a very incredible feeling, considering I had just played through another video game, something I do on a regular basis...but it felt much more important than that. 

Telltale is doing a marvelous job with this franchise, and if you only want to play one zombie game in your life, I'd say this is the one. 

dmblum1799
dmblum1799

When you get older - and I'm damn old - you drift toward story games. I was in a hardcore server first guild on EQ and WOW. I couldn't imagine spending the time I did now (I was always healer). 


Story involves great characters and a good plot. Last of Us, Baldurs Gate, Fallout New Vegas are examples. I wish there were more great story games.

dmblum1799
dmblum1799

I'm frustrated. I have the first season on my ipad and played episode 1 of season 2. But I have 250 bucks on itunes but you can't play it unless you have wifi? I live in a small suburb in Korea and it's not easily available!


I do love Clementine. Reminds me of Ellie.,

habeasdata
habeasdata

i played the first walking dead and i'ts a great game and it does cause an emotional response in the player, it makes you hate some character or like anothers. But i agre when they say that it dosent matter wich choice you make, the outcome will be the same, i think tha the player should have more influence in the game ( i am  not saying that you don't have any influence some of the choice you make have some importance).

I dind't played the dlc or the second game and i lost my saves of the firts game. Some of the choices you make in the firs game have a great influence in the second or it doesn't matter?

I didn't buy the game yet for that reason it would annoy me to play the second game with other choices that were not mine.

SaintsRowLA
SaintsRowLA

A game with an epic story?


Maybe the first inFAMOUS.  Obviously Not nearly as epic and choice driven as this, but very memorable and enjoyable with Cole, Kessler, Moya, Cole's girlfriend Trish, Zeek, a few others, and SASHA--the best of all.


Obviously, the Mass Effect series, Dragon Age series come to mind.

The Back to the Future games are somewhat similar, but will put you to sleep. 

Maybe nothing rivals this one yet.

SaintsRowLA
SaintsRowLA

Thank You Jess.  Great Job.


I didn't know much about this game before, but now It's a game I'm sure I'd like very much.

hystavito
hystavito

I have had the game for ages, the first parts anyway, and still haven't played them.  I am curious to experience for myself what everyone has raved about, but then I'm also not really into games where you follow along with the story and only occasionally respond to prompts and such.

The other big thing that bothers me is how everyone says, like this video, that ultimately your decisions don't matter much.  That's what confused me a bit when she talked about consequences, and then later also admitted that a lot of your choices don't matter.  So the consequences are short term but the story overall always ends up the same place?

Pawfalcon
Pawfalcon

Looking forward to what they'll do with Game of Thrones.

jabberwocky84
jabberwocky84

Yeah I was pissed when a character I liked died suddenly too. I had to stop playing for a while, I was too shocked to continue.

VR_Verdugo
VR_Verdugo

Nice one, Jess. I agree the game does a good job at making you feel... feels... towards characters. There is a certain character in season one who I really liked, my favorite I suppose, who can't be saved no matter what you do (I sure did try). I was shocked and angry when it happened.


I've yet to embark on season two.

bizzy-sgs
bizzy-sgs

I don't care what anyone says.TWD is the best game I've ever played and if I had to choose between playing TWD style games with little gameplay for the rest of my life or any other type of game,I would gladly choose TWD.

StarsiderSajun
StarsiderSajun

@D0BR0 The show is fine and all but I feel that it's overrated, except for a few episodes here and there that really got to me. The TellTale game on the other hand is an entirely different matter. It's amazing in it's own right.

StarsiderSajun
StarsiderSajun

@gajbutler It has limited gameplay and limited challenge. Shouldn't say none because that's not true and just makes you look dumb.


As to you not liking it, well I don't know you but if you're the type of person who is not emotionally driven enough, or at all, then you obviously won't like it. I'm sorry you missed out. If you could have enjoyed it properly then you would've gotten to play one of the truly greatest games of this past generation.

StarsiderSajun
StarsiderSajun

@youre_a_sheep Everyone is different, and quite a few people approach things with that kind of mindset, and end up trivializing something that is as singular as this game. Sorry it didn't move you as much as it did me. I found it to be just as poignant as the Last of Us. There is a point at which the emotions that such a well crafted story evoke end up overcoming any flaws the game may have.


It is true of course that the game is a bit more linear than it should be, and there are control and frame-rate issues, I just feel that they are so insignificant that they don't detract from the experience.

noah364
noah364

@Renoo27 I don't know if anyone else has seen Pan's Labyrinth, but that villain. God he's nasty.

StarsiderSajun
StarsiderSajun

@Aleksanian Whereas TWD offers limited gameplay and limited challenge, it evokes much more emotion out of the player, or has the potential to if you're able to enjoy it. Sure those older ones had a bit more gameplay and challenge, but they never struck me as much as TellTale's newer stuff has.

StarsiderSajun
StarsiderSajun

@warriors30 The end of the game's first season really got to me as well. I just sat there for a long time, taking it in and coming to terms with what had happened.

Maxwrobinson
Maxwrobinson

@warriors30  "I just love the characters and the fact that they're the focus here, not the zombies or mindless killing and gore."

I completely agree, and I think TWD sets itself apart from other games because the characters all share the same looming zombie threat, so that becomes standard, and what sticks out is the threat posed by other people. Humans are the most dangerous villain, and since this is a story of survival, the boldness and the grave decisions made by any character is very engaging and believable (if you were in the same situation).

udubdawgz1
udubdawgz1

@dmblum1799 as a gamer in his 40's i am completely opposite.  i started with the pong's, descent, wing commander, dukenuke, doom's, etc.  then, it was combat, pitfall, etc, along, with all the arcade games, such as, spaceinvaders, dragon's lair, etc..  then, it was onto supermario, contra, blades of steel, nbalive, then, madden, etc.


then, cube, xbox and my last console:  the 360.


i CRAVE games with innovative and creative GAMEPLAY that is sophisticated, deep and meaningful.


it's why i have a long list of self-imposed rules for games i play now:  you should see my skyrim list, lol.


and, it's why i'll be returning to pc gaming:  mods to improve the GAMEPLAY.  


good stories are fine, but, for me, without good gameplay i won't be playing that game for long.

warriors30
warriors30

@dmblum1799 I can identify with that. Today, I can tolerate bad gameplay if the story and characters are well written and interesting. It wasn't always like that. More often than not, the story and characters is why I come to a game. 

StarsiderSajun
StarsiderSajun

@habeasdata Since I've only played through it once, I'm not exactly sure how it would pan out if you picked different major plot choices. I was under the impression that if you saved one character as opposed to another, then it would actually matter in the long run, like with Kenny and Duck for example. I haven't actually tested it out though.

StarsiderSajun
StarsiderSajun

@hystavito While the choices you make might not matter overall, like in the way that they influence the whole story, the effect they will have on you in the moment is profound. I found myself on many occasions torn between making a choice between two things that I did not want to do either of, from an emotional standpoint, and that's where the game excels. 

doorselfin
doorselfin moderator staff

@hystavito  Ultimately, the places the game goes to and the major, major plot points will always have the same effective outcome (for example, the group reaches a particular town, a particular person dies), but the differences might exist in the context surrounding their occurrence and the aftermath, for example.


Aside from the variety in the journey that different people can experience, there can be consequences in that significant supporting characters can be killed off or have completely different attitudes to your protagonist along the way.


Hope that answers your question!

mattg-man
mattg-man

@StarsiderSajun @D0BR0  You have to keep in mind when it comes to the TV series they cannot just make random plot twists like killing a character like they do in the game or the comic because those are people jobs gone when that happens. I think this reliability on people (the actors) at times can ruin the realism of the story.

udubdawgz1
udubdawgz1

@sadface1234 @gajbutler  that is, imo, a ridiculous comparison attempt.  yes, i like em both.  however, gaj stated that the game had no gameplay or challenge and, thus, sucked.  that is an absolutely valid rationale.


yes, i read books and watch tv to.... read books and watch tv.  as a gamer, i value gameplay more than anything.


and, as a commenter on a gaming website,  you should be very cognizant of the fact that there are those who care about gameplay over story and characters and cinematic presentation.


it's akin to the single vs multi player chasm. 

youre_a_sheep
youre_a_sheep

@StarsiderSajun  The bad controls got me killed far too many times to be able to ignore.  The Last of Us was a great animated movie repeatedly interrupted by subpar gameplay with lousy AI and shamelessly overused mechanics (moving a plank to progress 5 different times and a ladder that many more was lazy design).

I don't automatically dislike something that's more movie than game, but when the gaming parts are not smooth and feel out of place, I end up wishing they'd just made a movie.

noah364
noah364

@StarsiderSajun @warriors30 Media almost never makes me cry. The end of TWD season one made me cry. I did the same thing afterward, kept staring at the screen even after the credits were over.

udubdawgz1
udubdawgz1

@youre_a_sheep @StarsiderSajun i'm with you completely.  i've only played the first walking dead episode, but, the story just wasn't as great too me that some feel it is.  and, throwing in the weak gameplay means episode one will be it for me, unless, the rest are free too.


as well, i too laugh at the cliched and pc tlou story, cinematic experience and mediocre gameplay.


however, i absolutely disagree with you on one thing:  any game that's more (good) movie than (average) game is an automatic dislike, lol.

StarsiderSajun
StarsiderSajun

@noah364 @StarsiderSajun @warriors30 I don't even know if I could play through it again, as much as I want to. It's sort of that feeling that makes you very sad but yet makes you feel alive, so in a way it's a good feeling.

StarsiderSajun
StarsiderSajun

@udubdawgz1 You both sound exactly like my best friend. =) He did not like TWD or TLOU, citing that it was cliched among other things. I think it's kind of silly though, you could say that most things are cliched, it just depends on whether or not you as a person find that story interesting or rehashed.


I stick by what I tell him though, that how you approach a game, what expectations (possibly unwarranted) you have for, will determine whether or not you are able to enjoy it. If you go into something like TWD knowing that it is more like watching a film, and accepting that ahead of time, then you may be able to truly enjoy the singular experience that it offers.