‘The Walking Dead’ Proves That Players Are (Mostly) Inherently Good

Published 2 years ago by

The Walking Dead franchise has seemingly reached the pinnacle of success. Its live-action TV series on AMC is wildly popular as fans eagerly await its third season and the 100th issue of the comic book that started it all is the best selling indie comic book of the century. Thanks to TellTale Games, it’s also a popular episodic video game series whose creators want to see expand into future seasons.

For anyone not familiar with the comics, TV show and game, The Walking Dead has always been about people and about survival. The zombies are not the focus; they just provide the backdrop to test the willpower and determination of regular everyday people when put in the most extreme situations, often with a no-win scenario. As we’ve learned thanks to TellTale’s games, people are inherently good in that the majority of the time, they’ll tend to do the “right” thing, even though it’s just a video game.

Take a look at the video up top to see some of the interesting statistics TellTale pulled from The Walking Dead – Episode 2. They highlight key decision points throughout the game where it’s up the player to make a tough decision, some easier than others, some that may not truly have a good solution. Most of the time, even if it’s not necessarily the most logical decision to make in terms of sheer survival needs, players will make the good/light side/paragon choice.

The Walking Dead Episode Two

Telltale’s marketing director Richard Iggo speaks to the apparent good nature of players:

“Some of the stats we’ve seen coming back from player decisions have created a perception that even in dire times — and when faced with no-win situations where each decision is morally grey — the majority of people will try to do the ‘right’ thing if they can, even if there’s really no ‘right’ decision to be made. It’s fascinating because even when we offer players a decision where the apparently darker option might make sense from a purely logical point of view, they’ll often try to choose the ‘higher’ ground at personal cost even if that means being put in danger or having a relationship with another character suffer because of it.”

Games with player choice are opening up a new facet of game design. It was one of the core building blocks of the Mass Effect series and was appropriately praised in Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain. To put the onus on players in how to overcome tough situations, then to make them face the consequences of their actions brings an entirely new and untapped type of experience that we want to see more of.

As for what’s next? Iggo has some big words for The Walking Dead – Episode 3.

“In terms of absolute heartbreak in the episodes we’ve seen so far, [Episode 3: Long Road Ahead] takes the crown. You’re really going to have your morals tested right from the opening scenes of the episode, and since the bulk of people who play the game seem to make decisions based on what they would actually do in the situations presented to them, this episode is going to hold up a very dark mirror for a lot of people.”

As for the franchise that keeps on giving (and growing), there’s a new Walking Dead first-person shooter in the works over at Activision. Rumor has it a feature film could be in development as well.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Source: VentureBeat

TAGS: PSN, Steam, TellTale Games, The Walking Dead, Xbox Live

  • Tim morgan

    I don’t care about any of this. Episode 3 should be put by now. They promised middle of August and it’s the 17 th. what are they gonna bump it up to September next?

    • http://gamerant.com Rob Keyes

      Lol, well I prefer to wait – it means more development time and a better product.

      Plus, so many games out there!

      • Gary

        Frankly I believe that Telltale should have learned from the past and made sure that each episode is complete a month before it’s intended release. If a episode is completed and ready to go a month or at least a few weeks before the intended release, they can easily release the game when they claim it’s to be released.

        Telltale needs to stop promising a “monthly gaming experience” and just say that the game is going to be five chapters that will be released as they are completed. Then no one has any reason to complain because Telltale didn’t boast about being monthly without actually releasing them monthly. Because some people (actually everyone even though they refuse to admit it) expect the word “Monthly” to actually mean MONTHLY. Not every 2 to 3 months.

        A lot of people are calling people who are angry about the delays “entitled.” Well, this isn’t like the incident with all of the whiny mouth-breathers who threatended Bioware and petitioned and threatened to march up on Bioware’s offices just because they didn’t like the ending of a game. This is people paying for a season pass because they’re told the game will be released in monthly chapters. I don’t feel entitled, I just feel annoyed when I pay for something I don’t even get to fully play.

        But really, I’m ashamed that I’m even shocked that Telltale is delaying each chapters release. The same crap happened last year with the Back to the Future game. It was boasted as being a five chapter game that will release a new chapter every month, yet it still suffered from the drawn out delays.

        • ohh yes

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      • D

        You do know that the episodes are all complete by now?They are just spacing them out.

    • Jas

      It’s supposed to be coming out August 28th.

      • Kandi

        I wanna know where you’ve found this info, I’ve been doing a lot of digging online looking for a release date :)

        • Victor

          Actully The Game Has No Set Release Date Yet And Its The Walking Dead Season 2 DVD/Blu Ray Droppin On The 28th Of August. Check Out The Telltale Games Website 4 Announcements About Episode 3 And Its Development.

  • Dante

    I am loving these games. I didn’t think I would after I played that awful Back to the Future game they made (I know some people liked it).

    When they offered Episode 1 & 2 for free on PlayStation Plus I bit and now I’m hooked.

    The difference here is exactly what you highlight in the article. Choice makes this game fun.

  • Eric Cartman

    If it wasn’t for Clementine I would have probably made much darker choices lol. But I try to look at things as if I really had a kid with me and watching things I do.

    • Gary

      I have characters in the game that I like and characters I can’t stand. I like Kenny so I always side with him even when I want to find out what happens. And I always side against Lily because I hate her loud-mouthed dad.


      Is it bad that it felt good when I decided to help Kenny kill her dad in episode 2?

  • ATG

    I made the same decisions the majority of people made… I do try to do the ‘right’ thing. But I’ll also do what I ‘have to’…

  • Missed Opportunity

    The continued delay is unacceptable.
    Plus, classes are starting for all students at the high school, college and graduate level. Who has got time to play now?
    If developers want to make money, they should release games at the start of summer vacation.

    • Matt

      Exactly. So many kids have nothing to do during the summer, and barely any new games come along to give them something to do. It’s ridiculous.

  • SnnigCircles

    I feel like Episode 3 is gonna make me cry.

    • Barney Stinson

      I have a feeling we’re are going to have to kill Kenny or Lily. That or leave one for the other. Of course I would kill Kenny and go with Lily because I think I have a shot at getting in her pants. I totally won her over when I pretended I wanted to save her dad. And when it happens it will be Legen-Wait for it….dary!

      • Matt L

        Can’t kill Lilly… she’s from the Comic book, and unless they’re willing to break canon (the video game has been approved as canon) then Lilly can’t die… she has to kill two very, very important people in the comic.

  • paul

    E real resultsThese results are flawed…you’re basing players decisions that are made in a civil society. These people can make these decisions knowing that the game can be turned off in a couple hours and they can go back to civilization. I trust that if this game was real…the decisions would be less morally based and at that time you see the real results

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