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Video Game / The Walking Dead (Telltale)
aka: The Walking Dead

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"In the end, the dead always win."

"You're either living or you're not. You ain't little. You ain't a girl, you ain't a boy. You ain't strong or smart. You're alive."
Chuck, "Long Road Ahead" (Season One).

The Walking Dead: The Game is an episodic series by Telltale Games that began in 2012. As in Jurassic Park: The Game, you guide your character in an adventure game setting through a relatively linear series of events dotted with minor gameplay puzzles and a few quick time events. Unlike Jurassic Park, it has also gained a reputation as one of the most well-written and emotionally wrenching games of its time due to its Grey-and-Gray Morality, sadistic choices, and absolutely brutal player punches.

The game takes place in the same universe as the comic, but begins within hours of the outbreak this time, instead of weeks afterwards.

At the outset of Season One, Lee Everett is a prisoner handcuffed in the back of a police car traveling down a highway in Georgia when an accident involving a weird shambling man on the road gets him loose. Shortly afterward, he meets a young girl named Clementine, and the pair have to work with others to survive, all while hoping Lee's Dark and Troubled Past doesn't cause everyone to hate him, shun him, or worse, feed him to the zombies.

In between seasons One and Two is a DLC episode entitled 400 Days: an anthology special which focuses on different individuals and their own stories as they cope with the zombie outbreak at various points over a slightly longer than one year period.

Season Two follows Clementine on her own, over two years into the zombie apocalypse. Slightly older and a lot wiser, she must survive in a world where adults still view her as a kid and may look to take advantage of her.

A mini-series titled The Walking Dead: Michonne was was released between seasons 2 and 3. It follows the eponymous Michonne from the comic series, and what she did between issues #126 and #139.

Season Three, given the unique name A New Frontier, follows Javier Garcia, a former pro baseball player who teams up with the now-thirteen year old Clementine to protect his family from a ruthless group known as the New Frontier.

Season Four, also given a name (The Final Season) released the first episode on August 14, 2018. Now sixteen years old, Clementine is once again the main character and Telltale has said this will be the end of her story, as she tries to keep her adopted son A.J. safe. Unfortunately, on September 21st 2018, Telltale laid off the majority of their employees, including the Walking Dead team, leaving the future of The Final Season uncertain. Fortunately, on October 6 2018 it was announced that Robert Kirkman's company Skybound would work with members of the original team to release the final 2 episodes.

Going along with the theme of the franchise, while the zombies are always a threat, the real issue is the remnants of humanity, and the forging and maintaining of relationships with other survivors. Almost all of your actions will have consequences in how people perceive you, and it will be up to you as to how helpful you'll be, and whom you'll help.

Dedicated Shout-Out page here.

See here for characters page.

Other video games based on The Walking Dead include:

The series provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion:
    • Kenny has a strained relationship with Larry. Much like how both actors' characters (Giles and Franklin) had a strained relationship in Law & Order: Legacies.
    • Michael Madsen's character has a problem with executing hostages.
    • Perhaps an accidental one, but Nikki Rapp plays a Deadpan Snarker named Lily...just like her role as Little Miss Snarker Lili in Psychonauts. Becomes Rule of Three in Campo Santo's Firewatch, where she plays yet another Lily.
  • Apocalypse Anarchy: Surprisingly averted, at least on-screen. While there's certainly looting, it's just for food and other essentials, as the presence of the undead takes the shine off trying to steal anything not directly related to survival.
  • Apocalyptic Logistics: Downplayed; scavenging for food, gas and ammunition is a serious concern for the survivors, and becomes increasingly difficult the more time passes. Kate in New Frontier even points this out, stating that eventually, there's going to be one last tank of gas or one last bit of food. However, no mention is ever made of expiration dates. Usable gas can still be found years after gasoline production stopped, and canned or dried food remain edible.
  • Beware the Living: As dangerous as the Walkers are, they're slow, dumb and predictable - all they care about is eating, and will blindly wander towards anything that indicates living humans might be around. The living, on the other hand, have degenerated into murderers, rapists and cannibals in the face of the apocalypse. Jolene from Season 1 even namedrops this trope, and she'd know, considering what happened to her daughter.
  • Blank White Eyes: A signature symptom of a Walker - the undead all have milky, white eyes, gained immediately upon reanimation, even before regular decay has set in.

  • Bludgeoned to Death: Normal carpentry hammers are used by several times throughout the series as weapons, most notably by both Lee and Clementine. They're useful for killing Walkers at close range, since they're solid and sturdy enough to crush a human skull, yet small enough to be easy to carry. The biggest drawback is that they have a tendency to get stuck.
  • Boring, but Practical: The most effective weapons against Walkers tend to be the simplest; hammers, cleavers, bats, knives, things you'd find laying around a civilian home. The most effective firearms are handguns and rifles, only a few characters are shown using automatic weapons, as they eat through ammunition far too quickly.
  • The Bus Came Back: Survivors who disappear almost never show up again, even if they're not confirmed to be dead, but there are two major instances of this trope; Kenny reappears in Season 2, two years after his presumed death, leading a small group of survivors in a ski lodge, and Lily turns up again in season 4, 8 years after she was last seen, now leading a group of raiders known as the Deltas.
  • Cain and Abel: A prevalent theme of the last two seasons. New Frontier has the Garcia brothers with David being a selfish, reckless and controlling Jerkass who's the leader of the antagonistic faction while Javier is, at worst, violent. David even tries to kill Javier in From The Gallows. The Final Season has Minerva and Sophie.
    • A character literally named Abel makes an appearance from a faction whos running theme is Fratricide. He smokes cigarettes made from bible passages.
  • Censored Child Death: Certain instances where the player gets a game over due to the death of a particularly young main character (namely Clementine in Season 1 and AJ in Season 4) are edited so we don't see them directly.
  • Central Theme: "Family", "trust" and "home" being the main themes of the story.
  • Children Forced to Kill: Starts with Clementine in Season 1, and just gets worse from there; children have to be able to kill in this new world, if you want them to have the slightest chance at survival, and the game shows several times what happens if adults try to shield them from this reality. As Chuck said, it doesn't matter how old or young a person is anymore.
  • Creepy Child: Children who managed to survive the apocalypse for any length of time have a tendency to become this to one extent or another. AJ is by far the worst offender though, as he was born after the end of the world, has no memories of a world without Walkers, and was mostly raised on the road by Clementine in a daily struggle for survival. That he's as functional as he is by Season 4 is basically a miracle.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • Succumbing to a Walker bite is portrayed this way; after Lee is bitten, Episode 5 shows the progression of the infection, starting with an odd tingling in his bitten arm, followed by loss of motor skills and eventually complete numbness. Lee grows increasingly weak, his skin becoming pale and clammy, with dark circles around his eyes, outright faints twice, until finally he can't move at all anymore, with the implication that death and reanimation is imminent. It's no wonder most people prefer suicide to this.
    • Getting Eaten Alive by Walkers is even worse, it's not a quick death, and the victims usually get torn to shreds in the process as the Walkers grab as much flesh as they can. Special mention goes to Troy from Season 2, who gets shot in the dick by Jane, and then eaten by Walkers.
    • While he arguably deserved even worse, Carver getting beaten to death by Kenny definetly falls under this.
  • Deadly Scratch: Like in most zombie fiction, any bite from a Walker is fatal, even if it's not particularly deep or serious, and the only "cure" is immediate amputation, which only has a slightly higher chance of survival. Strangely enough, Walker bites aren't the direct cause of reanimation, as whatever is causing it already exists in every living human, and will inevitably take effect upon death, regardless of how you die. Instead, the bites are simply fatal, as something in the reanimation process turns the Walkers bodily fluids incredibly toxic.
  • Death of a Child: Not even children are spared from the horrors of the apocalypse and we do get to see many of them getting killed on-screen. Even the Non Standard Game Overs related to Clementine stop being censored from Season 2 onwards.
  • Devoured by the Horde: If you get cornered by Walkers, this is likely what will happen to you. Characters who can suffer this fate include Carley, Doug, Brie, Ben, Sarah, Norma, and several others, including the main characters if the player screws up certain quicktime events.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: There are some situations in which the results are the same regardless of the player's decision. An example is in the first episode in which Shawn Greene dies whether Lee chose to save him or Duck while the latter manages to escape unharmed.
  • Ghost Town: Most of the towns the characters visit have been almost completely depopulated, such as Macon and Savannah, their population either zombified or dead. Most survivors either scattered through the countryside, or built strongholds around defendable buildings outside population centers. Averted with New Richmond, which is an area within Richmond itself that has been fortified by the New Frontier.
  • Hammerspace: The player characters have a worrying habit of storing large objects seemingly up their ass:
    • Lee from season 1 is capable of somehow storing a car battery in his jean pocket; at least we think.
    • Clementine in season 2 (age 11) is capable of storing large cans of baked beans, hunting knives, radios and pistols in her back pocket but at least she has a tiny backpack for most of the season.
    • Javi in season 3 is a slight improvement from the previous two games, having an actual backpack to store items in…… however this backpack is still comically small for all the items he needs to store inside.
    • In the first episode of season four, Clem (age 16) carries around a small backpack that is somehow capable of storing a deer skull. Even after losing the bag, she can still put a boar skull into her pocket and later pulls out a bow with arrows (without a quiver) out of thin air (which she in game technically has limitless amounts of).
  • Happy Ending Override: The game series ended with Clementine finally finding a place to settle down after years of running and losing people she cares about. Skybound would later release a series of graphic novels taking place after the game showing Clementine, unsatisfied with her new peaceful life and believing she is holding everyone back, leaving to find a new meaning to her life.
  • The Hero: Clementine is the main protagonist of the series, being the only character to appear in all four seasons, and having major focus throughout each season, though she is merely the deuteragonist in the first and third seasons.
  • Hero of Another Story: The video game series shies away from Rick Grimes' group (with the exception of Michonne for her miniseries; and guest appearences by Glenn and Herschel in Season One and Jesus in A New Frontier), instead focusing on another group of survivors from Georgia, namely Clementine.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Like in the comic and TV series, the apocalypse brings out the worst in people, turning them into murderers, cannibals, or ruthless dictators.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The St. Johns from Season 1. What makes it worse is that they didn't even really need to resort to cannibalism, considering their farm provided plenty of food. Otherwise averted, no other survivor groups are shown to have resorted to this, no matter how hungry they got, not even monsters like William Carver.
  • Improperly Placed Firearms: Despite being set in America, the most prevalent assault rifle that's being used is the Russian AK-47 since the creators probably didn't want to get sued by Colt's Manufacturing Company (They own the registered trademark to the AR-15).
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Lee and Clementine's parents death to those who skip the first season.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to the TV series and comics, the gore in the video game has been toned down significantly especially in later seasons. In fact, there are practically no humans who are decapitated at all in the entire series.
  • Life-or-Limb Decision: As in the source material, this is the only way to survive a walker bite, and it has to be done before the infection can spread. And the chance of dying anyway from blood loss or shock is very high. Lee can choose to try this in Episode 5, but it's far too late, and he only manages to hang on long enough to save Clementine from the Stranger. One of the few people who actually pulled this off is Reggie, a minor character from Season 2, and he only survived because he could get treatment right afterwards. Others include Abel and Clementine herself in season 4.
  • The Load: Each season has a character who is either practically useless or causes problems to others:
    • Season 1 has Ben.
    • Season 2 has Nick and Sarah.
    • A New Frontier has Gabriel.
    • The Final Season has Tennessee. However, he's smarter and nicer than previous examples.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: No matter who the player character is, even if she is an eleven year old girl, they always have to figure out how to solve the group's current situation. Clem even lampshades this in season two. It becomes hilarious in season 3 when Clementine prefers to let Javi do all the work.
  • The Medic:
    • Season 1 has Katja and later, Vernon.
    • Season 2 has Carlos.
    • New Frontier has Paul Lingard and Eleanor.
    • The Final Season has Ruby.
  • Mercy Kill: This being a Zombie Apocalypse, this trope comes up constantly, as characters are forced to put down infected loved ones to keep them from turning, or if it's too late, putting down their undead forms. It's famously how Season 1 ends, as Lee's final choice is to ask Clem to either leave him to turn (so the shot won't attract more Walkers), or shoot him to keep him from turning. It's also how the entire series ends in the Season 4 finale, when Clem is bitten during the climax, and AJ is seemingly forced to put her down after she gives him some final advice. However, it's averted in the Playable Epilogue, as it turns out AJ amputated Clem's bitten foot in time, and she's still alive, albeit on crutches.
  • Militaries Are Useless: The U.S military is implied to have crumbled like wet tissue paper in the face of the zombie apocalypse, as conventional military tactics are almost useless against the undead. Episode 3 of Season 1 shows the remains of a failed military operation in Macon, including a crashed helicopter and it's zombified pilot. Only a few survivors ever appear, most notably David from A New Fronter.
  • Mooks, but no Bosses: The player generally only fights zombies and human bandits. There are only a few situations that approximate boss fights.
    • Seasone One has two Arc Villains who have to be taken out in quick-time events; Andrew St. John and the Stranger.
    • William Carver is an almost pure Cutscene Boss in Season Two; all the player has to do is kick or shoot him from behind so that Luke can disarm him and Kenny can beat him to death.
    • Clementine fights Lilly in Season Four, where she has to incapacitate her with a knife before deciding whether or not AJ shoots her.
  • Motif: Adopted children are a major recurring subject throughout the series.
    • In season one, Lee effectively adopts Clementine as his daughter.
    • In season two, Kenny quickly becomes interested in treating AJ as his own son, which causes some strife. In one possible ending, Kenny plans to raise Clementine and AJ as his adopted kids. In another possible ending, Clementine resolves to raise AJ and has his name tattooed on her hand. She also encounter a husband and wife with a boy who is clearly not their biological son.
    • In season three, Javi takes charge of raising his niece and nephew alongside their step mother, which causes strife when their father comes back into the picture.
    • Season four's main dramatic thrust is Clementine's struggle to raise AJ correctly as his adopted guardian. She also encounters Tenn, a boy from an adopted family. The hold that Tenn's adopted sister has over him becomes critical in the final scenes of the series.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: A few fights between survivors end up as these, though only against humans, as trying to take on a Walker with your bare hands is basically suicide.
    • Lee's fight with Andrew St. John turns into one once Lee gets the upper hand, and ends either with Lee killing him, or leaving him broken and defeated as walkers close in.
    • Kenny's first fight with Carver in Season 2. Carver ends up beating him so badly Kenny loses an eye. Kenny gets him back when he later beats an injured Carver to death with a crowbar.
    • The fight between Javier and David in Season 3, especially if the player has Javier refuse to fight back.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: In "In Harm's Way," Carver claims that, deep down inside, Clem is just as barbaric as he is. He's actually disappointed if she decides to not stay and watch while Kenny beats him to death.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: The word "zombie" is only mentioned twice but will often pop up during choices. Like in the comics and TV series, the most common term used on the undead are walkers. Others include geeks, muertos and monsters. In the Clementine graphic novels, an Amish community refers to them as "Devils".
  • No Zombie Cannibals: The Walkers are only interested in living, or very recently dead flesh, and ignore other Walkers. The survivors figure out how to get through large herds this way - either by covering themselves in zombie guts to hide their scent, or by creating "cow catchers", Walkers who have had their lower jaws and arms removed, and then leashed to serve as a kind of bumper to push past other Walkers. Both methods are extremely risky though, as the slightest mistake will ruin the illusion.
  • NPC Amnesia: Averted. Every single thing you do and say will be remembered by everyone around you, and can come back to haunt you several chapters later.
  • Mad Bomber: Mitch was sent to Ericson's Boarding school due to his habit of making explosives and detonating them in random areas when he was 8 years old.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: Lee will make fun of Carley at several points for the time that she couldn't get a radio to work... because she put the batteries in backwards.
  • Once per Episode:
    • There's a car crash in every season with three of them taking place in the first episode.
    • Characters covering themselves in walker blood to walk pass a herd.
  • Police Are Useless: The police, along with other first responders like firefighters and medics, were wiped out during the early days and weeks of the Walker outbreak, and the only police officer to appear alive in the games in the officer driving Lee to the prison in the opening of Season 1. While Rick Grimes is still alive elsewhere, since the games take place in the comic universe, no other survivors ever appear, and when AJ is told what the police were during season 4, 8 years into the apocalypse, he assumes they all died because they were "weak".
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Mostly played straight, but only with the living - Walkers routinely have most of their skull taken off. Possibly justified since walkers are often heavily decayed by the time they're put down.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Averted - even with the relatively short timespan the games cover, a lot of infrastructure has begun to fall apart, since there's no longer anyone around to maintain it, resulting in collapsed buildings, decaying roads, flooding and fire damage, etc. Survivor enclaves also rarely have the resources or skills needed for any major repairs.
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Destroying the brain is the only way to kill a Walker for good, they'll survive anything else, including decapitation, though the latter does leave them completely helpless. The Stranger from Season 1 is revealed to be carrying around his wife's reanimated head in a bowling bag so he can keep talking to her.
  • Running Gag: The playable character sure finds themselves tripping or losing conscious a lot, with Lee tripping at least five times in the first episode alone.
  • Sadistic Choice: The game often puts the player in a situation where you must decide which character to save. Whichever character you didn't save will die, hate you or be traumatized.
  • Same Race Means Related: Lampshaded and played with: Everyone assumes that Lee is Clementine's father, partially because they're the only two black people in their group of survivors and partially because Lee does actually look after Clem while they look for her missing parents. The only character who says that they don't look related at all is Christa, the only other black character who joins the group in episode four.
    • Invoked in that Lee and Clementine weren't initially envisioned as the same race, but this was changed specifically so other characters would make this connection.
    • In later seasons, a lot of characters assume Clementine is AJ's mother despite them only being 12 years apart in age completely biologically unrelated, presumably with this trope as a contributing factor.
  • Series Mascot: Clementine's iconic hat is treated as such, with the last scene of the game being a close up of it. Understandably, after lasting through 8 years of a zombie apocalypse, it's getting pretty threadbare by Season 4.
  • Shared Universe: The game takes place in the same continuity as the comic series.
  • Short Teens, Tall Adults: Due to the current condition of the world, children are suffering from malnourishment, stunting their growth. At the age of 11, Clementine is 4'6" but is often mistaken for a younger age while Sarah, who is 4 years older than her, is about the same height. By season 4, Clementine (now age 16) is now 5'1" while the children of Ericson's Boarding School are about the same height. When compared with the raiders whom they are fighting against, the older teens are one head shorter than their adult oppressors.
  • The Social Darwinist: Several characters embrace this kind of philosophy in the post-apocalypse, most notably the St. John family in Season 1 (who uses it as a justification for cannibalism), and William Carver in Season 2 (who claims that his tyranny and brutality is necessary to weed out the weak).
  • Time Skip:
    • Season 1 Episode 2 takes place three months after the previous, Episode 3 a few weeks, Episode 4 a few hours while Episode 5 immediately.
    • Season 2 takes place a few months (possibly at least 8 months judging on Christa's pregnancy) after the end of the previous 1 and immediately skip another 16 months after the prologue.
    • Season 3 and Season 4 take place 3 years after the previous.
  • Sparing Them the Dirty Work: In chapter 3, "Long Road Ahead", Kenny's son Duck is bitten by a walker and has to be dealt with before he can reanimate and becomes a threat to the rest of the group. One of the ways the protagonist Lee can resolve the problem is to offer to shoot Duck instead so Kenny doesn't have to.
  • Undead Child: Surprisingly rare, but they do appear, most notably Fivel from Season 1, a young boy who had locked himself in the attic of his house to hide from the Walkers and eventually starved to death. His zombie form is so weak that he can't even attack Lee and Kenny when they find him. There's also Duck, who turns from his bite in a Non-Standard Game Over, and Clementine in a nightmare Lee has. If Tenn is killed during the Season 4 finale, AJ will see him as a Walker in the epilogue, and given a choice between putting him down or leaving him to wander.
  • The Unreveal: Like the comic book and TV series, the cause of the zombie apocalypse is never revealed - one day in the late summer of 2003, anyone who died with their brain intact just rose again as undead, cannibalistic monsters, with no hint to how or why, and that's been life ever since.
  • Walking Spoiler: Lee's death at the end of season 1 is a huge one to those who play the later seasons first.
  • We Just Need to Wait for Rescue: Invoked early on in Season 1, with several characters assuming they just have to stay safe until the military and the National Guard can swoop in and return things to normal. Eventually, it becomes all too clear that no help is coming, and by Season 2, survivors have begun rebuilding on their own.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: As with the comic and tv series, there are many survivors whose final fate are unknown, notably, Christa, Mike and many characters introduced in 400 Days.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Many of the antagonists have no qualms in killing children in the series. Applies to the Walkers as well, obviously, since the only distinction they're capable of is telling the difference between living flesh and dead flesh, nothing else matters to them.
  • Zerg Rush: As early as Season 1, Episode 3, less than a year into the apocalypse, the walkers have begun to wander out of the cities and form into large hordes that present massive obstacles to survivors.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Takes place in the same zombie apocalypse as The Walking Dead comic series.

Alternative Title(s): The Walking Dead Video Game, The Walking Dead