E3 2012: Dread Central Previews Telltale Games' The Walking Dead Episode Two
Episode One of The Walking Dead: A New Day (review here) was a rousing success for Telltale Games, selling over one million copies in its first two weeks and becoming their fastest selling title to date.
The blend of deep, interesting characters, simple but engaging adventure gameplay and good old fashioned zombie carnage made the game irresistible to established fans of the franchise as well as people that just like a good bit of interactive fiction.
And judging by the preview of Episode Two they were showing off at E3, it looks like they’re not taking their foot off the gas for a second.
While at the 2012 E3 Expo in Los Angeles, Dread Central not only had the opportunity to preview a sizable amount of the second installment of the highly successful video game series but also had the chance to catch up with Telltale’s Richard Iggo to hear more about what they’ve got planned for the rest of The Walking Dead, which you’ll find right after our preview below.
Warning: Spoilers Ahead!
Episode Two: Starved for Help picks up three months after the conclusion of the first episode, and the situation has gotten even more dire for our group of survivors. The food is gone. The electricity is gone. The tensions in the group are rising, and there’s no end in sight; it’s just another day in the zombie apocalypse.
The episode opens with Lee out in the woods attempting to hunt for some food. Along the way he hears someone screaming and runs to investigate. When he locates the source, he finds a group of people in desperate need of help; one guy caught in a bear trap, two teenagers struggling to get him out and a group of walkers closing in fast. Kenny finds his way to the scene, and everyone frantically tries to decide what to do next. After checking the bear trap itself and finding out that it’s been tampered with to not have a release latch, Lee takes the ax he has with him and tries to make a quick decision.
Does he attempt to cut the chain or the leg? After taking a couple of hacks at the chain, he realizes he won’t be able to make it through it in time and tries to fall back on the more gruesome option; but at that point the walkers are getting too close, and the group decides that they have to bail before the situation spirals even more out of control. As they try to make their escape, however, one of the teens that was with the man in the trap freaks out and tries to go for one of the hunting rifles. And, of course, in the ensuing scuffle he takes a shot to the stomach. Having no other choice, the groups carries the wounded kid back to their camp and are forced to leave the trapped man to his fate. Of course, this could play out differently given players' decisions, but this is how it played out in our demo.
Back at the motor inn, which in the time since we last saw it has gotten a defensive upgrade in the form of a wall built out of scraps the survivors have been able to get their hands on, the rest of the group is more than a little upset to see that Lee and company have brought back even more mouths to feed. Lilly, who seems to have become the de-facto leader of the group, has already been pushed to her limits trying to ration out what little food remains and snaps at Lee for bringing back the two kids. She decides she’s had enough of having everyone at her throat and gives Lee the day’s rations and leaves it up to him to decide who to give them to.
Lee has been given four pieces of food to distribute out to nine people. At this point it’s up to the player to decide if he wants to continue building relationships with characters that are already friendly to him or to mend bridges with hostile characters. After he’s distributed three of the pieces of food, there’s yet another decision to make. Does Lee keep one for himself to stay strong at the risk of appearing selfish to the group, or does he take a personal risk and give it to someone else? The choice is yours.
After deciding where all the food is going to end up, Lee’s attention swings back to the kid with the gunshot wound, who’s being tended to by Kenny’s wife, Katjaa. She tells Lee that she’s done all she can, but unfortunately, the kid passed away. Just as Lee begins to say that it’s a shame but at least there’s one less person to worry about, the kid reanimates and takes a lunge at Lee. After a short struggle Larry comes to the rescue and dispatches the newly zombified teen.
From that point everyone turns to Ben, the other surviving teenager, and asks him why he didn’t let anyone know that his friend had been bitten. Ben insists that he wasn’t and realizes that his new group doesn’t know the truth behind how humans are turned into walkers. It’s at this point that the bombshell of how that process works in the Kirkman universe is dropped on our characters. Everyone is already infected; a bite isn’t required to turn. In other words…THEY ARE THE WALKING DEAD!
After the demo ended, there was a short Q&A session where a couple of interesting tidbits about future episodes were revealed. First of all, during the course of the season we will be finding out more about the fate of Clementine’s family. The second bit of information was very vague but extremely interesting. When asked if we were going to see any more cameos from established characters in The Walking Dead universe, the guys from Telltale answered, “There will be more cameos from The Walking Dead..and maybe other some games as well.” What exactly does that mean? I have no idea! But I’m extremely excited to find out.
As far as release goes, Telltale said they are extremely close to submitting Episode Two for certification and after that it’s out of their hands. So they couldn’t say for sure when it’s going to drop, but they’re hoping before the end of June. It can’t come soon enough.
For more information on the game, check out the official The Walking Dead website.
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