Zombie adventure and critically-acclaimed GOTY candidate The Walking Dead has made waves all year for its top-notch writing and ability to make people feel feelings. One of the game's feelingest feelings, by all reports, comes during the last few minutes of Episode Five (out of five—the game is structured episodically).
Psyched to feel those feelings, I sat down this weekend with my iPad, ready to start the final episode of The Walking Dead. I had beaten Episode Four a couple days earlier, so I could import that file and carry over all the decisions I had made. My body, as the colloquialism goes, was ready.
This is when I realized that Episode Four was gone. It had deleted itself from my iPad.
I tried rebooting the game. No luck. I tried rebooting my iPad. That worked. The game re-appeared. But my save file had been totally screwed: when I tried picking up where I left off, I found that I had lost hours of progress.
In a narrative-heavy game like The Walking Dead, where your plot decisions carry over from episode to episode, this is a serious issue. Since the game thought I hadn't finished Episode Four, I had to start Episode Five with completely randomized decisions. (The other option would be replaying Episode Four, but life's too short.)
I finished the game, and it was great, and full of feelings, but the experience was ruined. This wasn't my Lee. He wasn't trying to protect my Clementine. They were total strangers, whose decisions had nothing to do with the ones I had made.
No wonder people want their money back. And this episode-erasing bug isn't even the worst of the ones that have been reported. It's a shame that such a great game can be marred by so many technical issues.
I've reached out to The Walking Dead developer Telltale Games a couple of times now about these bugs. No response yet. I'll continue to update you as we find out more.
The Walking Dead is a very buggy game, and despite the critical acclaim (and non-stop Game of the Year awards), some fans who bought it haven't even had the chance to play the whole thing.
A number of Walking Dead PC and Mac players are flocking to the forums of developer Telltale Games to complain about the frequent save-corrupting bugs and errors that are preventing them from finishing the game. Some have even filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau to ask for refunds and try to get Telltale to respond to their complaints.
In an e-mail to Kotaku, one reader said Telltale's customer support has not been very responsive.
"The reason I am contacting you is that perhaps it is time to hold developers to a higher standard of contact and communication," the reader said. "If no one cares and just buys the same broken product over and over and over again, we should only blame ourselves when the market is flooded with bugged games and no support. I am tired of games with no support or no real help from the developer. It is their product and they should either fix the problem or give the money back to the individual who trusted them to provide something of quality."
Telltale is giving free download codes to people who own the buggy retail Xbox 360 version of the game, but they have not yet offered a solution for people who own the buggy PC version of the game, the buggy Mac version of the game, or anything else. (I played on iPad, and my version crashed a few times. I also experienced some weird bugs.)
I reached out to Telltale this morning for comment, but I haven't heard back. I'll update if they respond.
I ask it curiously, almost flippantly, whenever I talk to someone about the ending of The Walking Dead. (No worries, no spoilers about that here.) I'm not the only one that talks about the ending of The Walking Dead this way; crying, in its heartfelt sincerity has long been a (misguided) measure of the ultimate achievement for a video game.
Did you cry when Aeris died?
Did you cry at the end of Shadow of the Colossus?
Did Journey make you cry?
Did the ending of Mass Effect make you cry?
Did Planescape: Torment make you cry?
On and on.
Perhaps more common than asking each other if we cried or not is assuring each other that no, we did not in fact cry at [insert moment here.] There's an element of pride in saying that, too.
I don't talk about books, movies or comics in this way. I don't interrogate people immediately on whether or not they cried, and if they did cry, it's not this huge deal or anything—not in the same way. Stuff can make you cry. Crying is human. Who would have thought?
Focusing so much on crying makes me feel weird when I do cry. Like it's not supposed to happen, because well, most of the Tough Guys I've talked to about this game didn't cry and, oh, here I am, tears welling—is something wrong with me?
The way we focus on this moment, this supposedly-elusive moment of tears, bothers me. It bothers me even though I've been deferring to it a lot lately—so right after I ask the question I mentally kick myself for falling prey to it.
I feel like when I ask someone the question, I'm testing them to see if they gave in. That framing poses a game and its sentimentality as an obstacle that we can overcome, and I need to see if it 'bested' the person I'm asking.
That's ridiculous when you consider that I cry readily, and easily, enough that I'm embarrassed to share when and why because I know it'll elicit ridicule. How dare I be touched by a game? Do my plebeian tastes not call for more sophisticated moments of sentimentality? Oh no, if you didn't cry, are your emotions more complicated than my emotions?
That's a stupid way of looking at it, and I don't think I am alone in approaching it that way. I can't help but wonder how much, if at all, we hide when something makes us cry, only to turn around and ask each other when it happens as if it's supposed to be this super rare thing that never occurs...or worse, treating crying like a game's final boss battle. It's not.
Since our live Q&A with Dave Fennoy went up *just* as we were having some technical difficulties on the site, the incredibly talented voice actor who voiced Lee in The Walking Dead wasn't able to answer all of your questions right then and there. I was, as I'm sure many of you were, disappointed.
But since he's such a gentleman, Dave put together this video answering a bunch of the remaining questions. He talks about Lee, The Walking Dead in general, being a voice actor, and how long it took to grow his dreads.
Also, good choice, Dave. Apple pie is indeed the best.
Many choices are timed in The Walking Dead, and you can always tell. Except for this one decision, and it happens to be the most gut-wrenching choice you have to make near the story's conclusion. [Major Spoilers Follow!]
That's when you send Clementine off and you have to decide whether or not she kills you.
According to an interview with Giant Bomb, Telltale says that if you take too long to decide, Clemetine will decide for you using what you've taught her along the way.
This is a timed choice, and if you let the timer run out and Lee says nothing, Clementine does decide for herself. If you aren't there for Clementine when she asks you what you should do, she does actually look back at everything that's happened and she'll decide if she wants to do it or not. You can force it on Clementine, but you're a big ass if you do that. I don't think I've seen a playthrough where someone does it. The idea makes me personally feel really horrible, but it's there, if you really wanna poke at Clementine. I don't know how many people actually did it, and even our QA guys were pretty surprised that it happened.
Beyond the coolness of there being a timed decision that might be out of your hands if you wait too long, oh man! I can't get over the fact that I did make her kill me and I may, in fact, be an ass. Is it really so rare to force Clementine to kill you? What did you guys choose?
I just kind of figured it would be worse for her to go on with her life knowing that I'm not actually 'dead.' Moreover, knowing how stuff works in the world of The Walking Dead, Clementine would have to make decisions like that—and much worse—in the future. If the point of that final interaction is to teach her stuff, that's a valuable lesson, no? You'll have to kill the ones you love.
...listen to a giant jerk try to defend her decisions. Hah. I take some solace in the idea that there are no good guys in the world of The Walking Dead.
Faces of Death, Part 5: No Time Left [Giant Bomb]
Exciting news, everyone! David Fennoy, the voice actor behind the wonderful The Walking Dead's Lee, is going to answer your questions live, right here. Let him introduce this latest live Kotaku Q&A for you in the video above. (Which was stolen from yesterday's piece, so don't worry! When he says "tomorrow" it means today.)
Dave Fennoy is quickly stealing many hearts with his phenomenal voice acting skills, breathing life into most recently (and perhaps most notably) Lee, the character many of us took on in a zombie adventure last year, as well as Gabriel Tosh in StarCraft II, and many, many other video game characters.
We've highlighted Telltale's fabulous narrative game here for you quite a bit. And we've touched on the excellent voice acting. But not nearly enough. For instance, did you know that each episode of The Walking Dead required roughly 1,200 lines of recording? I don't know about you, but my voice would be hoarse by the end of that.
So if you've got questions, Dave Fennoy himself will be answering them for you as of 1PM Eastern, and he will be answering your questions for one hour. Have at it!
Telltale's The Walking Dead game may have won its share of year-end awards and accolades, but it's not without some problems. Notably, the game can be quite buggy, particularly the disc-based, retail Xbox 360 version.
The game's designer Telltale is now running an amends program for anyone struck by "hitching" in the game, which is common to the on-disc version when played on a 4GB Xbox 360. If you've got the problem and don't want to buy a bigger hard drive, you can fill out this form and take a picture of your game case leaning against your TV screen, and Telltale will send you a code to download a digital copy.
"We value our customers," writes a Telltale's representative, "and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused."
Let Dave Fennoy, Lee's voice actor in The Walking Dead and Gabriel Tosh's voice actor in StarCraft II, excite you for our next live Q&A.
It's happening tomorrow at 1pm Eastern time.
Inexplicably finding themselves in conversation with an energy drink manufacturer, Telltale mentioned that they were working on season two of The Walking Dead. We already knew that but what we didn’t know is that the sequel to last year’s most efficient jerker of tears will most likely carry over saves from the ending of the original episodes. That surprises me, considering that the season ended with the zombie virus cured by a broth containing Basset Hound saliva and pixie tears. Wouldn’t it be more sensible to go back to the dark days of the decaying dead and follow a separate group of survivors rather than continuing with the Little House on the Prairie set-up suggested by that ending? Actual spoilers below.