Chaotic Good: The Walking Dead’s Post-Mortem Mortality

By Jim Rossignol on November 13th, 2012 at 9:00 am.


Here’s an interesting notion: Telltale have put out a “stats” trailer for The Walking Dead: Episode Four, which details the choices folks made, making for a sort of post-mortem breakdown of people’s morality within the game. While I won’t explode any details here, it’s interesting that The Walking Dead players are by and large good guys. If you’ve played the game already, I think you will want to take a look to compare with your own choices.

It should go without saying that there are SERIOUS SPOILERS down there. Episode Five should shamble into the crosshairs of our morality math in a few weeks.

Brr.

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44 Comments »

  1. Crius says:

    What’s the point in making a video like this?
    I mean, who played the game already know that percent. Who didn’t play the game would not watch because the spoilers.

    The only important thing is…. when the f..k the episode 5 will come out? ME WANT.

    • nasKo says:

      If I remember correctly the retsil version with all episodes is supposed to land on December 4th.So I would assume Ep 5 will either release at the same day or one or two prior to the retail version.

    • RobinOttens says:

      Yeah, but if you played the game when it was just released, maybe you’d be curious how the stats look a few weeks after? I dunno, I think it’s a cool idea regardless.

      Man, I really need to play these games. I’m not watching this video.

      • GameCat says:

        You should definitely play this game. But make sure you have handkerchief.
        I will be crying at the end of last episode, I think. ;_;

        • RobinOttens says:

          I will, thanks. I really wanted to like Telltale’s previous games, for keeping adventure gaming vibrant. But they lost me after Sam & Max season 2. This one has me very interested though.

    • Grape says:

      I really wonder what kind of people self-censor their swearwords. Takes a special kind of repression to end up like that. I pity you, but also dislike you personally, quite a bit.

      • Crius says:

        I’m going to cry this night ’cause of you.

      • Baines says:

        That’s a pretty ****ty attitude.

        But seriously, I’ll self-censor on the net depending on where I’m writing. A place like RPS seems grown up enough to handle the concept of swear words, but it can still be seen as a bit rude, and more so if the topic itself isn’t necessarily swear word friendly, so if something drives me to the point of using a swear word I might bleep a few letters. Anyone who really wants to know can try to figure out what word was used there (or just fill in the blank with their favorite), and anyone else can just gloss over it without their eyeballs bleeding.

        It isn’t much different from not swearing in church, or in front of your mom, or at a job interview, or whatever.

        It can also be taken as a lighter tone swear, where something bugs you but you aren’t so upset as to blindly blurt out whatever is on your mind without thought or control. You want to show some extra emotion, but it isn’t an extreme feeling.

        And it can be a holdover from forced censorship situations. (And bleeping more than one letter shows that you aren’t just trying to do a blatant censor bypass, without resorting to made up or “safe” curse words as an alternative.)

        • RobinOttens says:

          Knives and f**ks

          S**t and pepper

          Sorry, that wasn’t a worthy reply I know. Made me realize an asterisk is really annoying to type, though.

      • Alenthas says:

        I salute you.

    • bfandreas says:

      They do not only present the figure but also try to match it against the old D&D alignment matrix. That actually is a good judge of character.
      Since people simply can’t act out of character in a video game without cringing or feeling a pinch of bad conscience I dare say that a lot of anthropologists/social scientists would LOVE to analyze data like that.

      There is a huge raging debate going on why we outdid the neanderthals. For ages we tought we simply had the better tools. But just recently they found some relatively sophisticated Neanderthal stuff. So the current working hypothesis(not a consensus by any stretch of the imagination) is that we simply cooperated more and efficiently. You need data like that.

      Watch any random Youtuber and many of them will dwell on who made what choice. Ask yourself: Why is that particular stat so interesting? Why is it even more interesting than comparing system specs. Or when people played. Or how long their gaming sessions were. Those are numbers, too. So why are we so interested in the choices?

      I would also venture a guess that at the end of Bastion the majority chose to discard the uber-weapon and instead carry the limp Zulf to safety. Humanity by and large is chaotic good. Which is good news.

      • ScorpionWasp says:

        Humanity at large is reciprocal. It defaults to kindness at first, and then pays back kindness unto kindness, and aggression unto aggression. Which is why I think most people left Zulf behind to rot.
        (See the Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma for an evolutionary explanation as to why that’s so)

  2. Syra says:

    Wow, making a spoiler video AND putting the huge twist in at the end, way to go telltale?

    • Ansob says:

      Do you have some kind of rare mental condition that forces you to click every link on the Internet despite their being clearly marked as containing spoilers?

    • Zogtee says:

      What part of “SERIOUS SPOILERS” didn’t you understand?

      • Sarkhan Lol says:

        The fucking video has a massive glowing SPOILER WARNING in the first five fucking seconds. THE VIDEO.

  3. Avish says:

    The video is a nice idea, but shouldn’t they focus on fixing the save game bug?

    • Calcufactor says:

      I agree. I went to play the fourth episode when it came out, and my saves had disappeared AGAIN, so I decided to wait until the last part came out and just play it the whole way through one last time.

      • Nevard says:

        It may surprise you to learn that making videos of statistics does not require any background in games programming, while fixing bugs with save states does, and that they employ more than one person.
        Making a video and working on debugging code are not mutually exclusive activities and are also not performed by the same guy.

        • Avish says:

          It’s a matter of Telltale’s priorities not resources.

          • Nevard says:

            Again, as literally nothing prevents them from doing both at once I don’t really see how this is changing their priorities at all.
            They have the free staff to make a video, would you rather it be a video about save state bugs?

          • Avish says:

            The thing is that the save bug was reported a lot in the past few months and TT had enough time to patch or at least give some sort of correspondence regarding it, which they never bothered to do, in any of the forums (official, steam and others). It means that they don’t do both things, but rather prefer to release a video showing how great their game is (and I know it is) than fixing it.

    • ja2ke says:

      A variant of this comment shows up any time any company releases any marketing material. The people who make this video and the people who fix save game bugs are completely unrelated. It’s not a matter of priorities, as it’s two completely separate groups within the company with completely separate goals and priorities. “I’m distracted from caring about this trailer because of the outstanding save game issues” is a valid sentiment to express, but that’s not what was said.

  4. phenom_x8 says:

    Ah, the walking dead, this is definitely the only game that stirred my emotion up and down in each of its episode. Sometimes I was thinking, didn’t this is actually a modern point and click adventures game should be?? Short but packed with enough content (and story branch) to played it over and over again and enjoy the different results.
    My most favorite moment of course when #spoiler# Carley being shot without warning by Lilly #spoiler end#.
    It makes me yell at screen “WTF is she thinking…?” thats unacceptable things to do.
    Oh, yes there’s one interesting discussion that makes me wonder that actually a lot of people making the same choices with me with the same reasons, worth to watch (although they are played it for consoletoy)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecgMMkTC7JM&feature=plcp

    And I also liked to watch Jane Douglas there. ;)

    Btw, where’s my BLOPS 2 WiT?? I need something to laughed about for now (if, there’s any)

    • ScorpionWasp says:

      I hated that stupid sexist bullshit moment. With the brothers in the episode before, you got to execute one with a freaking pitchfork, and kick another to fry on a high voltage fence (after punching his face on the ground for a solid minute). Then miss fascist paranoia shoots your love interest for no reason whatsoever and what does the game allow you to do? Nothing whatsoever, because the feminists are watching.

  5. SanguineAngel says:

    For me, this simply demonstrates the weakness that almost every game that features “Moral Choices” has. The big moral choices aren’t really very difficult or challenging. There’s usually an obviously correct choice, signposted from a mile away. As gamers we’ve already been conditioned by every other brainlessly deployed moral choice n consequence game we’ve played to know that choosing the “correct” choice will net us the best rewards or best ending. And surprise surprise, this game is no different.

    • Avish says:

      Do you know what the best ending is or even if there is a “best ending?

      Besides that, most of the choices in The walking dead are not a clear good/bad choice, they are usually who do you want to live/die or Lee’s reaction to events (picking sides etc..).

      • HadToLogin says:

        Well, like in Mass Effect 3, I’m guessing there will be one ending (girl finds parents, happy end appears, then ta-dam, big danger announcing possibility of TWD2), and how they later advertised ME3, “it’s not about the end, it’s about journey”.
        But unlike ME3 with it’s obvious “good/bad” decisions (coloured means good event, not coloured means bad event), there’s no good/bad in WD. Save him or her, there’s no good or bad by game logic, it will be only in your head. Spoilerish example from episode 1 – she knows you’re a convicted killer, maybe I should let her die so she won’t rat me out, but she’s great shot, maybe she’d save my life later?

        Spoilers for EP4 and comics if you didn’t read next: I just wonder if Lee will become game-version of Rick from comics, where he also lost hand, but in different circumstances.

        • SanguineAngel says:

          Now in fairness, I’ve not played any of the WD games, so I am spouting from a position of relative ignorance, informed primarily from the above video and what I have just researched about episode 4.

          However, each choice appears to be a fairly obvious binary decision. And the figures presented also clearly show that approximately 2/3 to 3/4 of the player consistently chose the “good” choice, indicating that they were funnelled in that direction through signposting and learned behaviour. The stats screen at the end, which I saw a screenshot of, clearly depicts the choices as a % split between green and red. Which would, imply to me that the green is good and the red is bad.

          The most ambiguous choice on the above video is whether you kill the zombie boy or your friend does. However, it’s still fairly natural that a correct decision would not be to make someone else do it and reading up on the game, I have learnt that the circumstances surrounding that scene make that decision even more obvious.

          • GameCat says:

            Maybe it will have one ending. Doesn’t matter. I just want to say that choices matters for me personally.
            Example (some, rather small, SPOILERS from EP2 ahead):

            You can kill (or not) a guy who was messing with you and your group earlier. I choose to kill him and when I was sticking a pitchfork in his chest, Clementine (that little girl) appeared and saw this.
            I was just feeling bad after that. I killed him because he was swearing at me (he was harmless in that particular moment).
            I shouldn’t do that. Even in videogame where you’re killing a bunch of polygons wrapped with textures.

            That’s why this game is so good.

          • HadToLogin says:

            To clarify, by “good/bad” decision I mean decisions where you’ll either get good ending or bad ending (like those japanese games tend to have, with it’s S, A, B, C endings, where in S everyone is happy and in C everyone dies” (or in Mass Effect, where good decision is to not kill Wrex, and bad decision is to kill him/let Ashley kill him – if he lives it’s good, because he’s toughest son-of-a-beach around; or in Baldurs Gate 2 expansion, where you can give part of your soul to revive your ex-arch-enemy) and quite often those kind of decisions are important from game point of view – like giving you great teammate. But in case of WD, game doesn’t really have “good/bad” decisions, their effect is more inside you.
            And all those stats say is that most gamers are good souls, I guess.
            Spoiler: And that boy decision – actually letting friend kill him can give him a closure after death of his family: “you couldn’t save your son, but you can save this poor boy”.

      • Sarkhan Lol says:

        See that second-last choice in the video? There’s only one ending we’re getting, here.

        The thing about actually complex moral choices is that people who consider themselves to have a very ‘strong’ sense of moral judgement tend to think they’re very obvious and straightforward. Then they choose different answers to one another.

        Though of course, there’s always… Scumbag Lee.

        • SanguineAngel says:

          Now then, my example of the “best” ending was but one example of the benefits often provided of making correct decisions, so let’s not get bogged down. My main point is that there is usually a clearly signposted best path to follow.

          I would disagree with your point largely because the stats above clearly show that the majority of people make the same choices. Now, if as you say, most people would automatically choose different options then that sure means it’s even more likely that players are being herded towards certain choices?

  6. HadToLogin says:

    Best RPG in 2012.

    • Crius says:

      At first i was like “RPG? WTF are you sayin man?”
      But then i realized. Yes, this is an excellent “Role Play Game”.

      Thumbs up for ya, Sir.

  7. Chizu says:

    What stats is this based on?
    One of the console version? The PC version? All the platforms combined?
    Because those final stats for who came with you are different to what the game showed me, and I just beat the the other day.
    My final page said that my choice, everyone coming with me, was 16% of the results, and that was the highest, whilst going only was only 6% (its 10 in the vid)
    So the results I was shown on beating the game, literally just 2 days ago, are fairly different.

  8. jonfitt says:

    I feel disappointed that only Kenny came with me into the last episode. I couldn’t see any indicators as to why the others didn’t join. It could have been due to many hidden choices, but in the end I had no good feeling that it would go either way. Omid and Christa just didn’t feature much in it.

    • Colonel J says:

      I was really disappointed that everyone EXCEPT Kenny came with me. Hell, I like the guy, I feel for him, I’m trying to side with him just about all the time, but when it comes to the crunch I still just piss him off. Kenny dude, fuck you and your passive-agressive moods.

      • HadToLogin says:

        Well, I was probably able to get him to join my merry team (so I’d have everyone, Omid and Christa were no problem, Ben required “she didn’t left you, so now it’s time for you to rescue her” line), but his another “butt-hurt” kinda pissed me off, and I told him to fuck-off.
        Kinda sad I won’t get him in last episode (would love to see some more Ben-Ken interactions), but worst case scenario, I’ll just play ep4 again, or something.

  9. Cryptoshrimp says:

    It was a good game, but I’m very disappointed that the choices aren’t really choices. It’s a pretty linear game, actually.

    • Sarkhan Lol says:

      The choices are definitely ‘flavor’ choices. They alter the narrative but don’t greatly affect the course of the story, when they do at all. That doesn’t mean they don’t matter, however. They matter a very great deal.

  10. Hahaha says:

    Are these stats only recorded on your first play through? You would think they would end up being 50/50

  11. mckertis says:

    It irks me that this…thing is labeled a “game”, clearly there is no gameplay whatsoever in it. But it had markedly better story and characters than the TV show (Zeus, no more of that Lori bitch), and i had a bit of fun with it, so at least there’s that.