Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Nathan Grayson)

It’s finally time. The Walking Dead season one had its share of ups and downs, but its tale of broken hearts and busted skulls turned eyeballs into waterfalls and put Telltale on the map. Can season two live up to the incredibly high expectations surrounding it? Could lessons learned on the first season and new “shows” like The Wolf Among Us allow it to surpass all that’s come before? Or is this promising undead upstart already out of juice? Here’s wot I think of The Walking Dead Season Two Episode One: All That Remains. >Warning: big spoilers for season one ahead.


PC Gamer

I am Clementine. You are Clementine. In the second season of Telltale's The Walking Dead, we are all Clementine. But what kind of Clementine will we choose to be? The Clementine who trusts no one and does whatever it takes to survive, alone, in the unforgiving new world order of zombies, and assholes who will inevitably become zombies? Or the Clementine who wants to find a new family, who believes there are still good people walking among the dead?
I want my Clementine to be the latter. To be good. But one episode into season two of The Walking Dead, I've already made Clementine a killer, and not just for survival. For vengeance.

Every conversation in season two's first episode, "All That Remains," plays a very small part in shaping the person Clementine becomes. She's about 11, now season two takes place 16 months after season one and making life-or-death decisions 11-year-olds shouldn't have to make. It's like guiding a kid through the the early changes of puberty, except instead of deciding whether to lie to her parents about a concert, she's deciding who to trust with her life and who to blackmail.

It's a new take on The Walking Dead's young moral compass, but the rest of the episode feels like a return to familiar zombie-infested territory. Season one codified Telltale's formula for morally ambiguous interactive fiction, and nothing in season two's first episode changes the recipe. Telltale's The Wolf Among Us introduced a cleaner UI and livelier action scenes than the first season of The Walking Dead, and those changes have thankfully been carried over to season two. The combat QTEs are still the least interesting elements of Telltale's games, but they're more fun and less clunky this time around.

Press Q to apply rake.

Those morality-bending dialogue options are still The Walking Dead's main hook. Unfortunately, for roughly the first half of this one-and-a-half-hour episode, there are few people for Clem to talk to, and most of the decisions and dialogue options that come into play in the second half of the episode feel like groundwork for the rest of the season. I wanted more opportunities to talk to the survivors Clem meets, and more time to learn about them. Instead, she spends a good bit of the episode fending for herself, and we only get teases of backstory on the new cast.

When you finally get to make dialogue choices, it's clear that Telltale put a lot of thought into how Clementine should work as a protagonist. She can, for example, play on the sympathy of adults, whimpering that she's just a helpless kid. Clem's faux innocence is a fun and welcome change from season one's Lee, who couldn't turn on the puppy dog eyes and manipulate someone by saying "I can tell you're nice."

Clementine can. And I do. But I'm not sure how far I want to take that manipulation. Clementine isn't exactly a blank slate at this point she has seriously seen some things but do I want to make her jaded and cold, bitter about what she's been through? The answer is no. Protecting Clementine from walkers is the easy part. I worry more about guiding her down the darker paths Telltale offers.

Season two proves that Telltale can still subvert expectations, even within simple dialogue options. I readily agree to be friends with another young girl in return for her help. Being nice is good, right? After she she gleefully declares we're besties forever, I'm not so sure. I get the sickening feeling that my promise is going to come back to bite me when this girl goes full-on crazy town.

What The Walking Dead does best as a comic, television show, or videogame is show just how suddenly and violently everything can go to shit. That is the essence of Robert Kirkman's world, and those numbing I-can't-believe-that-just-happened scenes infect all the rest with a creeping sense of unease and dread.

"All That Remains" has one of those moments. It shocked me. After 30 minutes I thought I had the direction for the episode figured out, and I was feeling pretty clever about it. I was wrong. Not just wrong totally blindsided. And I turned Clementine into a killer. Only a character s death in season one's "Long Road Ahead" shocked me more.

Down low? Too slow!

It's a shame that the first half of "All That Remains" is so light on dialogue when character interaction is the beating heart (and often guilty conscience) of Telltale's games. While the second half introduces new characters, I didn't get a good sense for many of them; more than any other Telltale episode so far, this one feels like a prelude to the good stuff rather than a story that stands well on its own.

At 90 minutes, "All That Remains" is a good hour shorter than most of season one's more self-contained stories. If you had trouble waiting weeks between last season's episodes, consider waiting until episode two (or even the whole season) is available before diving in. "All That Remains" proves that Clementine will be just as compelling a protagonist as Lee, and I'm eager to see where her story goes. I hope I haven't completely eroded Clementine's humanity on the way.

Expect to pay: $25 for the season
Release: Out now
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Multiplayer: None
Link: The Walking Dead Season 2 site
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Nathan Grayson)

No, Clem! You have to be *facing* the zombie in order to Force Choke it!

When last we left The Walking Dead’s Clementine, things were, er, not going well. And now, as they so often do in Telltale’s heart-wrenching game of choice and zombie brain-(the other kind of)-wrenching, they’ve gone from bad to worse. And then worse to worst, and then worst to worst-er-erest-er-blarghcry. Give your cringing muscles a warm up by watching the full Walking Dead season two episode one trailer below. Something tells me you’re gonna need them.


PC Gamer

Bite your lip and pretend like you're not about to cry as you watch this new trailer for The Walking Dead Season Two, which will start December 17 with an episode titled "All That Remains."

The first teaser was bad enough, but this one is just brutal. Along with flashbacks to some of the best lines from the first season, we see Clementine getting into all kinds of trouble as she tries to survive in the woods and alongside shady new characters. Once again, we get a glimpse at Omid, but no other characters from the previous season or the 400 Days DLC. The tiniest bit of detail, gathered from the description accompanying the trailer, is that Season 2 will start "many months" after the events of the first season. We figured as much seeing as how Clementine doesn't seem much older and is still in the same clothes she wore when we last saw her, but there you go.

When I think back on the first season I can't point to one particular moment that made that game so worthwhile, and I think it's harder to get excited about a game that is so successfully bleak and emotionally exhausting. But when I watch the trailer, which is excellently edited, it all comes back to me. It's not about one particular moment, but a super effective, troubling mood that's created by great characters and writing. It remind me of how invested you can get in a game a rare thing. I suspect that the fact that this season will focus on Clementine and will carry over decisions made in the first season will make me all the more invested.

If you haven't already, you should definitely read our interview with Mark Darin, writer/designer at Telltale games, about what it was like to design a game with a pre-teen protagonist.

You can pre-purchase The Walking Dead Season Two now on Steam for a 10 percent discount bringing it to $22.49.
PC Gamer

Written by Stefanie Fogel

The Walking Dead Season Two is almost here. Telltale s Dennis Lenart, director of the Season Two premiere, and writer/season designer Mark Darin recently spoke to us about the series and its new pre-teen protagonist, fan-favorite Clementine.

PC Gamer: Child protagonists are not all that common in video games. Why did you guys decide to make Clementine the lead for season two?

Mark Darin, writer/designer, Telltale Games: I think choosing Clementine as a protagonist let us really experiment in the way that the gameplay plays out. It lets you experience--like you said, child protagonists are not generally used that often--but it provides us a unique perspective on a world that you ve already seen. You spent a lot of Season One playing as Lee bringing up Clementine in a way that you think is going to be best for her. Now, putting you in her shoes and seeing how that plays out, that s something that really resonated with us.

For me, one of the things that is really special about it is that she is not special. She s just a little girl dealing in this world of paranoid and intense people with zombies running around, and she has only herself to get through it. She isn t special. She s not running around with guns. She doesn t have any magic powers. She s just doing everything she can to survive, as any one of us would.

Clem s a normal child, but she did learn how to shoot in Season One. So, are we going to see some of that same kind of action gameplay in Season Two, and how is that going to work with a child character?

Dennis Lenart, director, Telltale Games: You re going to see action sequences at the start of the game, but it s not the same as Lee was. Lee was a full-grown man. The way he deals with people and the way he deals with zombies is very, very different from Clementine. She can shoot a gun, but she s not running around the world with a bunch of guns just taking out zombies right and left. She s got to use her environment. She s got to use everything she has to her advantage. So, the way we re approaching action sequences in Season Two is a little bit different. It s focused on her vulnerabilities and the different strengths that she has, which is very, very different from what Lee brought to Season One.

Does that mean Season Two will include more puzzles?

Lenart: Not necessarily, no.

Darin: I think a lot of Clementine s biggest struggles are not going to come from the action sequences, but it s going to come from the ways the world treats her, and the way you
have to interact with people, and that space that you have as a young girl dealing with new people that you re meeting. How do they trust you? Do you trust them? What level of manipulation is going on, and how do you perceive those things? These are all the really dramatic and intense things that are going to be happening across the season.

Writing believable and interesting child characters can be a bit of a challenge. We ve even seen this in AMC s The Walking Dead show with Carl in Season Two, who was not exactly a favorite amongst viewers. How are you guys approaching that challenge with Clementine?

Darin: A lot of shows and games fall into the pitfall of using a child character s inexperience to cause problems, and that makes you not like the character at all, because they re just causing problems. We try to be mindful of that when we re writing our stories, and that s one of the things I think that made Clementine not a hated character in Season One, made her a beloved character. She was not just causing problems through her inexperience, and we re carrying that through Season Two as well.

How much time has passed between the final scene of Season One and Season Two? Where is Clementine when we catch up with her again?

Lenart: That would be a spoiler. We re trying to leave some stuff for the excitement of playing the game for the first time. She s still not a teenager, we ll say that.

The Walking Dead is known for its tough moral choices. In Season One, it was an adult making them. Now, you have this child who could potentially decide who lives and who dies, or who might have to chop somebody s leg off with an axe to save them from the walkers. How is that going to work with Clem, and how will that affect her character?

Lenart: Well, one of the really interesting things you touch upon there is that in Season One, a lot of times, people made good decisions with Clementine around, based on wanting to show her this is how the world is. You need to learn how to survive, or You don t need to see this, I m trying to keep you, retain a sense of your humanity as much as possible. There s things you can do that she didn t know about, but now you re the one who s going to be making Clementine have to go through these terrible times and make these tough decisions. So, there s a lot more of the feeling of ownership, but also, at the same time, I think it really puts you in an interesting head space, where you really feel like the world is just all hits, pressing down around you. It s The Walking Dead, so no one s safe at any time. You know that everything you do has repercussions. So, I think the fact that it is Clementine that you re playing as, it makes every little thing a lot harder.

How will some of the choices players made in Season One affect Clementine?

Darin: Basically, we re always looking for little places to call back to things. The choices you made in Season One and the things you did with Clementine color who she is in Season Two. That s an important thing for us. We re trying not to be super heavy-handed with it, but we re really retaining that sense of feeling like the Clementine you helped raise in Season One, this is the logical progression of that arc that you went through with her.

Earlier this week, you guys teased a screenshot of Omid from Season One. What role does he play in Clementine s life at this point?

Lenart: That would be probably spoiler territory, actually.

What about the 400 Days DLC? How does that figure into everything?

Lenart: We did make the promise that 400 Days, and Season One, those choices are going to carry over. A thing that happens in both Season One and in 400 Days, those events, those choices that you made, they will figure into the story in possibly unexpected ways.

How much of Clementine s success as a character do you credit to Melissa Hutchinson and her performance?

Lenart: She s awesome, so a lot of it. Definitely. Melissa s performance is fantastic. She brings this innocence to and this need to want to protect her as well, and her performance--she s an amazing actress.

It s funny. I feel like even in the booth with her recording lines, you feel oddly protective of her as she s recording. It s really weird to be able to, you re sitting there focusing on a line, and you hear Clementine, and you just want to save her. Then you look over and it s Melissa sitting there with headphones. Oh, yeah, everything s fine.

Darin: I try not to look at her in the booth. It s just weird. You re sitting there looking at your paper, looking at the script and hearing the line, but you re picturing Clementine in the other room. You look up and it s Melissa. She s so good.

When you made the decision to cast Clementine as the playable character, were you at all concerned about how it d be received by an audience that s used to playing beefy space Marines and sexy adventurers?

Lenart: Not at all. For me, that was the draw to it, and so maybe it s not as much of a concern. To me, it was more excitement, I guess.

Darin: It s great being in the creative world, that you can jump into and have these meaningful relationships with characters and enjoy that and still be able to, when you re done with this episode, go back and shoot some aliens and have fun with that. There s so many different kinds of games, and you don t have to be limited to one kind. You don t need to stereotype people and say, This is what gamers want, they just want to run around and shoot things. They want a perspective. There s room for all these kind of games to exist, and people want to play a variety of things and they re offering that to people.

I think part of the core of this whole game, too, is making her the opposite of a space Marine. So, she doesn t have different guns. She doesn t have special powers. She s not super-oddly strong for a young girl. We really try to make you feel like you are a young girl in the zombie apocalypse, and you have all the same limitations that she would have. I think that s what we re really excited about with Season Two. It s a challenge that you get personally involved in. That s what makes it fun to play, is you put yourself into unique situations and you have to make the decisions, and you have to try to roleplay them in a variety of different ways. That s what s fun about it.

Thanks, guys.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Nathan Grayson)

Yes, “the” Borderlands. The relentlessly silly blast-fest from Gearbox, as opposed to, um, that other> Borderlands. Telltale might not seem like the most natural fit for a spinoff of the action-heavy RPG (which is less conversational and more often gunversational), but it’s happening, per Spike’s abysmally awkward VGX “award” show over the weekend. Also fired from the dudebro-centric network’s Big Fucking Announcement Gun: a Telltale Game of Thrones series, which was first rumored last month. Scant details on both below.


PC Gamer

According to the game's Steam page, Walking Dead Season 2 will begin on Dec. 17. You can pre-purchase the game now for a 10 percent discount bringing it to $22.49.

Better loosen up those tear ducts. Walking Dead developer Telltale Games has already revealed that this season's main character will be poor little Clementine, who players will guide through the cruel, zombie-infested world. "Now assuming the role of an ordinary child, players will struggle to outwit both the dead and the living in situations that will test their morals and control the flow of the story through their decisions and actions," Telltale said of the game when it first announced it in October.

A teaser image from the season's first episode (above), ominously titled "All That remains," also shows us the return of Omid, another character from the first season. In the image, Omid is leading Clementine towards Gil's Pitstop, the central location of the first season's 400 Days DLC. Decisions that players made in the 400 Days DLC and the first season as Clementine's caretaker, Lee Everett, will carry over to Season 2.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Nathan Grayson)

'I am a person who is inordinately upset by hands.'

YOU GUYS, YOU GUYS, you’re not going to believe this: there are already wolves among us. Right now>. They’re called “dogs,” and we bred them into blind subservience over the course of a few generations. Many of them, however, are capable of reducing humans to blubbering piles of incoherent baby babble with a simple wag of the tail or awkward pawing attempt at a handshake. Who, in this equation, is really man, and who is beast? It’s a chilling thou– oh man look at this puppy! Was I talking about something? Oh hm, episode two of Telltale’s Fables series, The Wolf Among Us, won’t be out until sometime early next year. Bummer.


Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Alec Meer)

If you haven’t finished Telltale’s wildly acclaimed tragedy’n'conversation sim The Walking Dead but do want to know when season two will be released, I’ll tell you right now. December 17th! That’s when you can buy the season pass and play episode 1, for about 18 quid.

If you have> finished it and want to know a plot synopsis too, I’ll tell you below, hopefully safe from the innocent, spoiler-averse eyes of the non-finishers. (more…)

Community Announcements - Telltale Games
A familiar face returns in The Walking Dead: Season Two premiere episode, All That Remains, releasing later this month.

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Pre-order right now for 10% off the usual Season Pass price!

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