The End… ? Walking Dead Ep 5 Rises Next Week

By Nathan Grayson on November 16th, 2012 at 8:00 am.

Look, let's not get crazy about this. I just really, really need to touch that hat for some reason.

Are you ready to be sad? Probably sadder than you’ve ever been in your whole, entire life? Do you have a reliable donor lined up for a full-blown tear transfusion? Because Telltale’s brilliant The Walking Dead series is headed for its absurdly heavy season finale, and – if previous events are anything to go on – it will probably crush you. Like a pancake. A really, really sad pancake. Like, someone tried to draw a smiley face on it with whipped cream and chocolate chips, but it came out looking like this.

Episode Five’s titled “No Time Left,” which is among the more final names I’ve ever heard for a finale. It’ll be out on Wednesday November 21st, meaning that US residents can be the death life of their Thanksgiving parties with Telltale’s brand of no-holds-barred, all-ages fun. Meanwhile, if you’d like to preemptively get into the proper spirit, may I recommend this (very spoiler-laden) breakdown of the choices other players made in Episode Four? Yes, I think I may. I will give myself permission to do that.

Of course, the big question – aside from, “How can they possibly top [X THING AND Y THING AND WHYYYY THING]” – is what’s next. Earlier this year, Telltale pretty unabashedly told me that they’d love to do another season, but nothing was set in stone. Given the fervor surrounding this first batch, though, I would be amazed if the adventure specialists let their Walking Dead series lie.

So, right then. Are you ready? Have you been practicing your best devastated fetal position?

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43 Comments »

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  1. wodin says:

    Probably the most gripping, emotionally laden games I’ve played and I’ve been playing them since ’83. I will say aswell that the third series on TV is amazing and just as draining.

    • Groove says:

      Yeah, the 3rd series seems to have learned from every problem of the 2nd series. Pushing 2/3/4 books together into a series gives them so much more to work with, and lets the plot advance so they don’t just keep having the same discussion over and over again. Finally Carl, Laurie and Andrea aren’t just annoying, useless and moany.

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    AmateurScience says:

    Still can’t find the emotional fortitude to continue the story past ep2 yet. Brilliant game though.

  3. WoundedBum says:

    That clown looks like Agent 47 is particularly unhappy about one of his disguises.

  4. lessthandan says:

    I’ll admit, I was not expecting this game to be so brilliant last spring before it released.

    I was way, wayyyy wrong on that one. The Walking Dead is probably my GOTY for 2012.

  5. Felixader says:

    Where is Clementine?

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    AlwaysRight says:

    An incredibly important game.

  7. TimMc says:

    Part of me is hoping for a happy ending of sorts that even continues to second season, but I think as long as Clem survives I’ll be happy.

    And seriously, GOTY for me. Never been so quickly emotionally invested in a game, or felt so emotionally drained.

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    Oozo says:

    This series is the first thing that made me think “Damn, this is a game I would really like to play on my iPad”. Turns out, it’s not running on iPad 1, which made me make said pancake-face.

    Subsequently didn’t buy it on PC yet, but I guess I’ll do so come Christmas. It’s a perfect Christmas-game, isn’t it?

    • Optimaximal says:

      Well, the problem you made there was buying an iPad and expecting Apple not to deprecate it before its time.

      Silly human.

  9. Mario Figueiredo says:

    Good game. But very happy it’s over.
    Seriously hoping this game distribution model doesn’t spread to other developers/publishers and this is the last we hear of it.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      I suspect that Dreamfall Chapters will very much go down this route. With any luck they will also learn from the way Telltale did the story here.

      • plosnati says:

        Dreamfall Chapters has been confirmed as a full non-episodic game :)

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      Oozo says:

      Interesting that you think of it that way. I actually think the episodic model could – if done properly – be applied to more games. Not all of them, mind you – just some. Even though it’s interesting that I’m not even sure why I do feel that way.

      It’s maybe because thanks to the boom of quality TV-series, I really got used to the format of consuming content in short bursts, and the anticipation of waiting for more. (And the freedom to quit, if it turns out not to be all that great.)

      Or because I hope it would force developers to stuff less filler content into their games – if you have short episodes, you can’t get away with an absolutely dull section that takes an hour somewhere in the middle.

      Or maybe it’s just that I’m less and less inclined to continuously play 50 hours of a game when there are so many others waiting for my in my Steam-account.

      Don’t know. I’m just certain that I would have been, for example, more patient with a game like “Alan Wake”, if it would have been split up into tighter episodes. (Or maybe I would have taken the opportunity to leave after one or two episodes.)

      On the other hand, I can see how the model can lead to abuse, DLC-like… so, what are your reasons for hating the format?

      • Mario Figueiredo says:

        >> On the other hand, I can see how the model can lead to abuse, DLC-like… so, what are your reasons for hating the format?

        “Hate” is not the word. But let’s ignore that.

        Sorry for the wall of text. But here it is what you asked of me.

        Let’s see. My money is scarce (to put it in a good light). Episodic content like this may as well mean that the opportunity I had to buy a full game may have come and gone by the time episode 2 or 3 arrived, leaving me with an incomplete gaming experience. Let me make that clearer: $5 is real money to me. That doesn’t mean I can’t save for a game. I can and I do. Problem is that — and anyone for whom money is a problem will attest — we can only thrive on opportunity. If I don’t spend it on a game, it won’t stay in the wallet. It will go for something that eventually comes along and turns out to be more essential.

        Secondly, as you well point, this is ripe for abuse. And let’s not be mistaken here, Abuse is the history of the gaming industry in a nutshell. Every single concept, had it been good or bad, as always been leading to overuse and eventual abuse. There hasn’t been much to be happy about the gaming experience aside from the joys of technology. Buying and playing games today is harder than it used to be. We have been gradually accepting impositions from the game industry that would be unthinkable sometimes even as recent as 10 years ago. DLCs that can duplicate or triple the cost of a normal game, and dilute the gaming community between haves and haves not, Pre-orders that offer extra content that will never be made available again, DRM that complicate the simple lawful right of second sale prevalent on many countries, now we even get to have a game serving as a test bed for dongles. (it’s not a dongle, I know. But what reason do I, you, or anyone else have to trust the good intentions of the industry?).

        Third, episodic introduces new variables into game management. “Do I have all episodes”, “What will happen if I buy episode 6, but not 5?”, “Did I do the backup of all episodes?”, etc. The answers to these questions are naturally made available. For the most part they are akin to what one can expect from the typical DLC these days. Or so we can expect (read about abuse above). However the questions are being put at the level of the actual concept of the game, not added content. You didn’t need to worry with any of this before.

        Forth, episodic content introduces some level of entropy in the system. Both the game system, as well as the user’s. Discrete units always tend to do so when they have to be put together to form a whole. DLCs can break existing code (so can episodes). Existing code can not work well with a new DLC (same with episodes). A user system may “inexplicably” error out on a new DLC (so it can on an episode). The potential for bugs is increased with every discreet unit, lowering the gamer experience even more than contemporary games — for all their immense complexity — do.

        Finally, I don’t think the advantages outweigh the risks and disadvantages and inherent to this distribution model and that I delineated above. As consumers, we are often introduced to new concepts and don’t take the time to properly evaluate and weigh whether we are witnessing an actual necessity being finally satisfied, or instead we are being told we have a necessity we didn’t realize before we had. This is especially true of products serving the entertainment industry as a whole, where it is much easier to appeal to the irrational mind of a consumer. Generating necessities where before there were none is a usual marketing ploy , careful built to invariably lead us further from the basic truth that before it we actually didn’t even think such a thing could exist and we didn’t felt we needed it.

        • Optimaximal says:

          What are you talking about? Telltale have only sold this game as a complete pack on their site, Steam or any other distributor – you pay a one-off fee and get the game delivered in episodes. It’s also coming to retail, one a disc and everything, in December.

          Yes, they’re selling it piecemeal on the console, but we don’t care about them lot here.

          • Mario Figueiredo says:

            Maybe you need to read again the post you are replying to. Unless you are talking specifically of just one paragraph (the third), in which case I’ll concede to this particular game.

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          Oozo says:

          “Sorry for the wall of text.”
          No need to excuse, I asked for it! What’s more, there really are good points made that open up new perspectives for me. So: Thanks, I’ll have to give that a some further thoughts.

  10. abandonhope says:

    The episodic format bothered me a bit when I bought it, but after playing the first it became apparent that I needed long breaks in between to recover.

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    Lambchops says:

    Ah great that means I can get around to playing the whole lot then!

    After going through the first few Telltale episodic series as they came out I decided it’s far better to wait until they have all been released to start playing them. Looking forward to this as there seems to be a lot of praise going round for it.

    • Allenomura says:

      This is one where I have felt that the wait between episodes releasing assisted the reaction to the game. I’m glad I decided to play it that way, one at the time, rather than scoff the whole box ;)

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      Stellar Duck says:

      God have mercy on you if you do the lot of them in one go.

      I’m actually happy that I’m forced to wait between episodes as I don’t think I’d be able to play it otherwise. It’s just too draining for me.

      After I finished episode 4 I had to go play with virtual trains for a few hours. Drove a night sleeper through Germany and got my senses back together.

  12. Felixader says:

    One thing the games made me think of myself is that i wouldn’t actually be that bad in a Zombieapocalypse. There were plenty situations where tha game forced me to go to things and do other things when i thought: What? That’s stupidly dangerous, i would never do that!” and looking at what mostly happened afterwards i was often right. X-P

    • Optimaximal says:

      Because comparing real-world logic with the need to push a narrative along is sensible?

      Of course, most zombie problems can be resolved by ‘run away from nearest human beings because a) they’ll fuck you over or b) they’ll fuck themselves over, then fuck you over with their teeth.

  13. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    This is apparently so good, even Spike ‘s VGA is nominating it for GOTY.

    Even dudebros cry.

  14. Mr. Mister says:

    …for a moment there I though he was holding a Poke-Ball.

  15. Ian says:

    The thing is, the game doesn’t really have any right to be as gripping as it is. And yet, there I find myself at various points in each episode, sat open-mouthed with horror or various parts of my digestive system clenching in anticipation when something dreadful is about to happen.

  16. Roz says:

    Meh, didn’t find the game gripping at all, and the gameplay was even worse.

  17. Optimaximal says:

    Telltale have already confirmed they’re doing a second series. No idea if they’re going to push it out quickly or do something else first.

    Also, for people who haven’t noticed/played Episode 4, there’s a *subtle* spoiler in the image (and no, I don’t mean Clem’s cap).

  18. paddymaxson says:

    *unhinges his jaw and lets out a cry of glee, excitement, terror and sadness*

    I am always extremely excited to play another episode of this, but since Episode 3 I always know I’m going to finish playing with a heavy heart, a feeling of deep depression and a desparation for more.

    I at once want to continue on but am afraid of the horrors I might see. I think I’d have been more comfortable having someone write a happy ending before the final few scenes of episode 4, but this isn’t necesarily about comfort, this is about telling a story.

    • Allenomura says:

      Towards the end of episode 4 I felt like I’d taken an emotional kicking, questioned whether I wanted to continue or put down the pad. I don’t recall having had that while playing a game before. “this isn’t necesarily about comfort, this is about telling a story.” I really want to see how this finishes up, complete their journey. It’s been extraordinary so far.

  19. Spoon Of Doom says:

    I love this series, but I’m afraid. The episodes up until now have done their best to drive me into a depression, and I’ve got a feeling that this one will be an even more massive punch in the guts.

    • GameCat says:

      I’m afraid too. I also wonder – why I’m playing this? Why humilate yourself with that heartbreaking experience?
      It also applies to original comic – after 100th issue I wanted punch Robert Kirkman in face for messing horribly with that poor guys. Just end it already, please. Kill everyone if you have to, but GODDAMN, END IT ALREADY. ;_;

      • Spoon Of Doom says:

        That’s an interesting thing, actually. I think it might be a sign that games are slowly starting to be about something other than only “fun”, just like films or books.

        I personally feel that drama stuff like this can be very effective as a game, because you as a player can actively struggle and make the best you can out of the situation, you become invested, and when shit does happen in spite of your efforts, it hits you hard.

  20. Ciergan says:

    Really? This is that good? What makes Walking Dead rise above that bland, lazy feeling that earlier Telltale games have?

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      Surlywombat says:

      The voice acting is very good. The characters are pretty well written, and it has some genuinely shocking moments. Usually ones you feel partially or fully responsible for.

      The way choices are made are very meaningful and often its choosing between bad and bad. While leaving you wondering if there was a better option, since you may have actually missed the opportunity to change what the choice could’ve been without even realising it.

      • Ciergan says:

        Thank you, sir. That does sound very good. I’ll have to look into this.

  21. Chizu says:

    I thought season 2 of the game was already confirmed?
    Maybe I am making things up in my head.

    Enjoyed this game quite alot so far.
    So would be keen on seeing a second season happen.
    Whether anyone will be left from this one to feature in it remains to be seen of course 8D