Skybound to Finish The Walking Dead’s Final Season

Some good news broke over the weekend concerning the demise of TellTale Studios and what would become of its unfinished Final Season of The Walking Dead.

Skybound is Robert Kirkman’s publishing label and recently they opened up a games development branch. It makes sense for this company to pick up the title and finish it off, given Kirkman is the creator of The Walking Dead and will likely build a team familiar with the source material. That, and I believe the game was nearly finished anyway, and I’m sure the story has already been completely written. There hasn’t been an announcement yet as to when the final two episodes might be released, but as I wrote in my last post on the game, it was rumored that the third episode was already in the bug testing phase and some work had already gone into episode four as well.

I’m glad to see this happen, so we’ll able to find out what happens to Clementine after all. I’ll report back if I hear anything else about further developments, and will definitely share my experience with the final two episodes. I’m still hoping they show up before the end of the year.

The Walking Dead: Final Season Episode 2

I’m as surprised as you are that I’m even able to write this post, but here we are. A couple of weeks ago, TellTale announced that they were essentially bankrupt and that they were laying off all but 25 employees. This came after the release of the Final Season of The Walking Dead, where we would finally see the end of Clementine’s journey. The first episode released a while back and I wrote about my experience. Another story from a few months back says that TellTale and Netflix were teaming up to create a Stranger Things game (for other platforms) along with some Minecraft interactive thing on the streaming service. It sounded like the company was doing fine fiscally at that point, but apparently things were different behind closed doors. During the layoff announcement, the company admitted that episode two was ready and would still release, so that’s the only reason we get to even talk about it today as it came out last week. Episode three was due out in November and the finale would be released in December. At this point it’s unclear if those two episodes will see the light of day. Rumors state that the third episode was basically done but very little work has been put into episode four, and that the company might be shopping around to get those finished. I suppose we will see what happens — I really hope it gets finished because I’d love to have played through them all and see how the story ends.

This episode was a little different than some of the prior seasons in that there were some third-person shooter elements that haven’t ever really been present in these interactive novels. The game is still on rails but there are segments that are a bit more action packed than the norm. When I had left off at the end of episode one, AJ had just shot and killed Marlon, and we were basically being asked to leave. Things were put to a vote and we left. One the way out, we’re attacked by raiders, one of which is a character from way back in season one, a character which I (playing as Lee) had left behind once we got on the train. She took a little bit of pity on me, delaying capture and then some of the kids from the school attacked and enabled our escape. AJ was unfortunately hit by some buck shot, and carrying him became an issue as walkers were alerted by the skirmish. This meant a fight scene with walkers, before one of them (clearly wearing a mask) stops me and leads me off to his camp. This guy doesn’t play too integral a part in this episode but I have a feeling he would have been back. He helps me with nursing AJ’s wounds and then helps me back to the school. The school kids know that the raiders will be back and grudgingly accept my help in fortifying the school. I’m welcomed to stay for a while. The attack happens, people die, and at the end a couple of them are captured. We vow to go after our comrades, and can do so with the help of one of the wounded raiders still at the school after the larger group retreats.

Normally this is where I would slot in some screenshots of the results. They displayed after I had completed the episode but I didn’t take screenshots because usually you can check your choices from the main menu. For some reason things bugged out, and I was unable to see those results. I assume this has to do with not being able to connect to TellTale servers, which usually display the stats for choices and perhaps those servers are down due to the company’s recent actions. Whatever the case, I hope this is something that is fixed going forward if they do end up making the final two episodes, but again we don’t know if that’s going to happen. Whatever the case, I have enjoyed the season thus far, it’s just a shame that we may never know how Clementine’s adventures end.

The Walking Dead: The Final Season (Episode 1)

I knew it was coming, but it surprised me to find out that the last season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead was upon us. I guess I never really paid attention to the release date. I hurriedly picked up my copy of episode one of this four episode final season, and played through it ASAP. We’re seeing Clementine’s journey come to an end, and there was a beautifully rendered introduction that allowed us to relive key parts of that journey. It’s been four separate games and a number of years since this adventure began, and though I am sad to see it beginning to come to a close, it will be interesting to see where this little girl turned fierce woman ends up. Picking up where The New Frontier left off, Clementine had been reunited with AJ once again and were back on the road. Our story follows them scavenge for food when of course they come across trouble. They end up in a school run by kids and find a rather tight knit group — though something doesn’t seem quite right.

The graphical engine is a bit more refined than I remember in the last season, but for the most part the game plays the same as others. I felt like there were more action oriented combat sections, but there were plenty of slow dialogue-filled scenes as well. I won’t completely spoil things but the results of my season will. You should probably avoid the next screens and my reasoning to follow if you haven’t played this game yet.

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The major choices in this episode were varied. I chose to kill the couple in the train station to get the key off of one of them (they were both walkers at this point, when they were still people they poisoned themselves). Otherwise I could have chosen to send AJ into the room behind the locked door, but I didn’t want to send him on his own. I was with the majority of players on this. I didn’t go with the crowd on the next choice, which was whether to hunt with Aasim or Louis. Louis seemed to try to hard to throw himself at Clem so I went the other way. During our first night at the school AJ insisted that he sleep under the bed. I told him he didn’t have to but he begged so I let him. Looks like most people convinced him to try the bed (side note, he sleeps in bed on the second night). Later, we go back to the same train station where shit went awry the first time around, and Clem is confronted by a raider who wants the same food we had come for. I chose to push his ass out the window for walkers to feed on. Fuck that guy. Lastly, during the final confrontation with Marlon, I chose to petition Violet to help me out, and she came to my aid. AJ took matters into his own hands, though.

This season was different from all of those that came before in that there were some missable trophies and I didn’t realize that until I completed the chapter. There are a few collectable items, and certain dialogue choices that lead to trophies that I missed. As disappointing as it would be to have all the Platinum trophies for this series and miss out on this one, I’m not sure I want to go back and play through to find them all. I suppose if I do I will do so before the next episode releases so that I can be more mindful of this the rest of the way through. Either way I enjoyed the episode and The Walking Dead is still my favorite of Telltale’s series. Let me know if how your episode ended up, if you’ve played.

The Enemy Within – Episode 5

Another season of Telltale’s Batman series has come to a close. This series has been full of twists and turns and it was surprising to see how it ended. In all honesty, it was left as a cliffhanger ending (at least with my choices made) and it’s pretty clear that it was left open for a third season. There haven’t been many of the Telltale series that have made it that far though, so we shall see but the way it was written I imagine we’ll see more of Batman in the future. Here’s how things shook up with my relationships by the end of episode 5:

I like the amount of detail that was put into these choices and how they affected your relationship with people. Seeing the “your relationship with so and so has changed” really makes you think twice about the decisions you made throughout the season. If I was so inclined I could play through it again making different selections and I’m sure these relationships would have ended up differently, but surprisingly I made similar choices to most people, percentage wise. The big part of the story here was how your relationship with John Doe turned him towards being a vigilante, but of course being the mentally-unstable Joker means that he can’t be bothered with Batman’s “code.” As such, he still turns out to be a villain, particularly because he’s going after the Agency rather than real criminals. There are bits where it points to the Agency being no better than the bad guys though, so I had trouble walking the line between being John’s friend and doing what’s right. It was neat to see Joker-rangs and his silly grappling hook and other devices. What shocked me most was seeing Alfred leave at the end… and not really having any closure on the Joker front. Regardless, it was a great series and I look forward to more.

There were more tracked choices in this episode again which was warranted. A bunch of things happened that affected relationships and the story in this episode. The only one I’m really not happy with is the first, only because there was a timed response needed and I think I was distracted at that moment so I “hesitated” during the attack. I would have chosen to help the clown over the agent, only because he seemed like a scumbag anyway. Tiffany became a nightwing-esque character and that was interesting. As I said, I stood up for John when I could, and that pissed off Waller though we made our peace before the end of the line. I suppose I could have chosen to give up being Batman and maybe Alfred would have stayed, but how do you give up being Batman?! I defeated Joker and he ended up back in Arkham, but we all know he won’t stay there.

All in all it was a great series and I look forward to more!

The Enemy Within – Episode 4

There isn’t much else to say about this series that I haven’t said. It plays like its predecessors, it continues the story from the first season, and you can affect individual characters more deeply than in other Telltale games (or at least it’s better tracked here). By the end of this episode I had positive results with all of the characters except for Waller, and she was only mad because I sided with John Doe, and honestly at this point I can’t remember exactly what the climax was because I played this episode at least a week ago.

What’s most interesting here is that I set John down the path of being a “vigilante” like Batman. He vowed that we would both clean up the streets of Gotham. I don’t remember anything like this in Joker’s origin story, but I would assume that he will be picking up that moniker sooner rather than later. How Joker will end up being a vigilante I’m not sure, he’s always been a villain to me so I’m not sure how this will pan out. What I suspect is that he will be crushed when Batman tells him that he works alone and will be hell bent on taking out his frustrations on Batman as the Joker — or at least that would help this story to line up with the overall canon we all know. As I noted last episode, this episode had even less major choices in it, and here are the two that they tracked:

Despite Mr. Freeze being a villain I showed a little mercy as Waller’s crew was basically going to kill him. I doubt that will change things between us, but I figured Batman wouldn’t be that cruel hearted to ignore his pleas. After the big climax event of the episode, I let John go off to find Harley himself as she managed to run off. That’s all there was for big choices this time around and that isn’t really indicative of what’s happened throughout the whole episode but it is what it is.

The 5th and final episode of this season isn’t out just yet, but I imagine it will be soon enough. I’ll return then to finish off this blog series. Stay tuned.