The Walking Dead: Season One
400 Days, Season Two and Michonne'
A New Frontier
The Final Season
General (Beware of unmarked spoilers)
Please see the respective season pages for series-specific entries.
- Alternative Character Interpretation: It's really hard to peg down someone's personality when it's heavily affected by your choices.
- Awesome Music: See also here for the complete list.
- Armed With Death from the first season, which plays as Lee makes his last stand against the Walker horde.
- The "Clementine Re-Mix" of "In The Water" by Anadel used in the Season Two trailer is anxiety in musical form and it sets the tone just so. Experience it with the trailer here or experience it as a whole here. Note that the vocal part is used for the credits in-game.
- Episode 1 of The Michonne mini-series gives us Dorothy's "Gun In My Hand" and First Aid Kit's "Wolf" which play during the intro and credits respectively.
- Awesomeness Withdrawal:
- By far the most agreed upon complaint towards this game is the long wait for the next episode to be released. Telltale Games explained that this is the reason they're releasing Season 2 of The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us at the same time; the latter will help quell impatience for the former.
- Season 3 has unfortunately brought this trope back, since Telltale didn't have any new releases until their Guardians of the Galaxy game released in April 2017, despite the first two episodes of The Walking Dead getting released back in December.
- Base-Breaking Character: Notable in that the majority (though not all) of the characters listed with this (see respective season pages YMMV for specific examples) are Base-Breaking Characters by design. It makes your decisions that much harder when it's time to help or abandon them.
- Broken Base
- The Walking Dead: Michonne Mini-Series got this. Some people are happy for more Walking Dead by TTG, and others just wanted season 3 to come out already.
- The finale of A New Frontier ending with Clementine not only having not yet found AJ but also with the final scene being a "Clementine's story will continue...", while most players are happy she's back in her deserved protagonist role, there are also fans that feel her character was an unneeded addition to a story that didn't require her, that she contributed very little to A New Frontier plot, that she lacked a proper conclusion and that she's being used by the developers to make fans buy the next games.
- Crosses the Line Twice: The achievements tend to go straight through the field of Black Comedy and into this trope. Notable examples include "Too Much Salt Will Kill You" from Season 1 Episode 2note and "Chain Gang" from 400 Daysnote .
- Crossover Ship:
- Sometimes romantic, sometimes not, but on Archive of Our Own at least it's popular to have Clementine meet Ellie. Sort of becomes Fridge Logic as The Walking Dead and The Last Of Us taking place in the same universe would make Clementine 14 years older than Ellie.
- There is also quite a vocal minority of fans hoping that Clementine would get together with Carl from the main series.
- Depending on the Writer: In the later two seasons, Clementine varies wildly from directly referring to herself as A.J.'s mother in some episodes; and at other times becoming angry if a character assumes that about their relationship, seeing no need to label their bond but making it clear that he's not "her kid".
- Eight Deadly Words: Related to the above trope regarding audience apathy, after a while the series' formula started to get caught onto by players who realized that basically anyone who wasn't the playable character (and even that wasn't guaranteed) would likely turn out to be a self-centered shitbag who only exists to die without any gravitas or decent explanation as to why they act as they do.
- Enjoy the Story, Skip the Game: The first season is excellent at being an interactive storytelling experience, and middling at best / terrible at worst whenever it tries to have game mechanics more involved than the occasional Quick Time Event. Occasional Stealth Based Missions and a couple of truly forgettable shooting sequences keep the game just barely outside of the category of "interactive fiction" by a strict definition, but the story is definitely the thing to play it for, not the gameplay. (It's telling that later works by Telltale Games, including subsequent seasons of The Walking Dead itself, largely drop or severely downplay these action set pieces, focusing almost exclusively on the story.)
- Ensemble Dark Horse: Now with its own page!
- Fanfic Fuel: There have been a pretty good amount of stories about other alternative paths that the story could've gone to that are mainly used to spare certain characters. Of course given the fact that the game's main selling point is the fact that you can alter the course of the game's story by the decisions you make one could say that its only inevitable that fans would do alternate paths that Telltale didn't use.
- Fanon Discontinuity:
- The third season was the lowest-received by the fanbase, due in part to revolving around a new cast of characters and designating Clementine to a supporting role. As none of said characters appear again (and, outside of setting up that AJ and Clem were split up), many fans have decided to simply ignore the third season as canon. The fourth season was much better-received, though even so, some fans prefer to consider the ending(s) of Season 2 as the "true" endings of the series.
- The Clementine Lives comic has received little more than vitriol from fans of the game, who accuse it of completely misunderstanding who Clementine is as a character by showing her abandoning AJ and her other loved ones at Ericson's to seek her happiness elsewhere, and thus refuse to accept it as part of the games' canon — Skybound's statement that it is be damned.
- First Installment Wins: Season One is by and large considered the best in the continuity—and indeed the most popular, especially after snagging the title of "Game of the Year" at the Spike Video Game Awards. Following seasons steadily declined in popularity, with similar criticisms across the installments: less developed characters, railroading player choices, etc. For reference, Season One's Metacritic score is 92 at this time, whereas the following seasons score 80, 73, and 78, respectively.
- Franchise Original Sin:
- The episodes were sometimes criticized for featuring less gameplay than story, though there was enough interactivity between the environment and characters for it to not be considered a problem. Season 2 is even more story-heavy than Season 1, though without the same level of interactivity between the environments and especially the characters.
- Certain parts of Season 1 received complaints of Railroading, particularly character deaths that were prevented earlier only to happen later anyway, but were also argued as shocking and progressed the narrative. Season 2 contains this as well, but barely gives the characters spared any dialogue and kills them off almost casually.
- Genius Bonus:
- At the beginning of the game, the police radio uses several police code words. Those familiar with terms will learn more about the outbreak and how it starts.
- The Steam achievements for Season 2, Episode 5 are all lines of poetry relevant to the scene. This can sometimes let you guess what's about to happen, as with Kindly Stop For Me, which is from Emily Dickinson's poem "Because I could not stop for Death".
- Harsher in Hindsight: Season Four's subtitle, The Final Season, became this after the closure of Telltale Games. It really would be their final season.
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- In Long Road Ahead, Duck pretends to be Robin and designates Lee as his own personal Batman. Three years later, Lee's voice actor would play Lucius Fox, another ally of Batman.
- Now made even better since Telltale has confirmed they're working on a Batman game. Doubly so because in that game, Dave Fennoy voices Lucius again.
- The first season finished the same year as Bioshock Infinite and The Last of Us, both games of which revolve around a character acting as a father figure to a companion character. In Season 3 (if she was alone at the end of Season 2), Clementine has lost one of her fingers (or part of one), much like Elizabeth had.
- It's the Same, So It Sucks:
- Besides Season 1, all seasons (including Michonne spin-off) always have the protagonists dealing with human dictators as major threats. And even in Season 1, there was one in Crawford, but they and their community are already undead by the time the heroes got there.
- Some of the lukewarm reaction to the Michonne episodes seems to be rooted in the complaint that the series doesn't really do anything new, both in regards to Telltale and to The Walking Dead Game in general.
- It Was His Sled:
- Lee Everett's death is no longer secret anymore since the gaming community has listed his death in many Saddest Moments in Videogame History lists. It doesn't help that the sequels bring up his fate a lot.
- Kenny survives the Season 1 finale and reappears in Season 2, Episode 2.
- Like You Would Really Do It: Averted. In a franchise that's become infamous for its Plot Armor in the comics and TV series, Lee gets bitten in Episode 4 and there is no way to prevent his incoming death in Episode 5; even cutting off his arm does little good, at that point he's either dying of blood loss or the infection is still spreading. Many had thought he would survive, especially since Season 2 was shortly announced before Episode 4 came out.
- Memetic Mutation: Plenty.
- Lee is "urban."
- Clementine's line "but I'm little" is heartwrenching in context, but plenty of players have since used it tongue in cheek as excuse why they can't do some everyday tasks.
- Kenny's obsession with boats.
- Kenny's legendary stache. Gets upgraded to legendary beard in season two.
- "Scumbag Lee", commonly said when Lee makes a dick move, contradicts himself, or both, as seen here. Additionally, "Lee Logic" is used if Lee made two or more contradicting moves (e.g. Siding with Kenny during the beginning of argument in the drugstore, and then suddenly switch side to Larry near the end of the argument, or vice versa).
- With Clementine being the new playable character in Season 2, "Scumbag Clementine", "Edgy Clementine", or "Eviltine" followed in the steps of Scumbag Lee.
- Calling Clementine anything along the lines of "The Greatest Child In Video Game History" because of her being universally loved by everyone who has played the game as well as averting many hated video game tropes that apply to children.
- Having been locked in the shed due to being mistaken for a Zombie Infectee due to her dog bite, Clementine's reaction when the cabin survivors open the door to find her standing over the body of a Walker has become something of the season's defining moment.
: I'm still not
- In season 2, Kenny's loss of his eye has made him been compared to another bearded, one-eyed man...
- To a lesser extent, Carver having a fetish for berries.
- Thanks to Season 2 Episode 5 coming out around the time of the trend for celebrities to dump buckets of ice water on their heads to raise awareness for ALS, some fans joke that Luke took his ALS Challenge too far.
- Thanks to this video, Kenny is now God.
- "Clementine's story will continue..." has skyrocketed as a joke about how Telltale is intentionally setting up a Sequel Hook to get gamers to purchase her next game.
- This exchange, should Lee run out of dialogue options with Ben on the train but talks to him anyway.
Lee: Hey, Ben.
Ben: (standing straighter, hopeful) Hey.
Lee: See ya.
Ben: (depressed) Yeah.
- An exchange that Clem has with a straggler in the Jane ending of Season 2 became popular on TikTok. For one reason or another...
Randy: You sure you wanna do this, little girl? I mean, what if we're dangerous?
Clem: What if I am?
- Also a minor one, but in The Final Season, Violet and chicken nuggets.
- Violet saying "gang gang" has begun to crop up on Tumblr, for some reason.
- Editing photos of any character so that they're wearing headphones and being approached from behind by something or someone. Unlike most of these examples, this is a pre-existing meme.
- Most Wonderful Sound:
- Hearing Becca's baby take its first breath after several tense seconds of uncertainty.
- To some, Clementine's voice.
- No Export for You: For about a month, gamers in Ireland and New Zealand were waiting for Season 2's first episode. This was odd, since not only are both countries moderately important in gaming (both were among the first 13 countries to be confirmed to have the Xbox One on launch), it's also a downloadable game, meaning it'd be easier to release than on disc.
- No Problem with Licensed Games: The fact that it first season won several GOTY awards is good evidence of this.
- No Sympathy for Grudgeholders: Out of universe: Kenny's habit of holding grudges is one of his most dislike-able features, and is what made half the fandom start hating him.
- Only the Creator Does It Right: The creative leads for Season 1 left Telltale Games sometime after it was complete, which resulted in some of this trope due to Season 2 having different writers who didn't seem to have as much of a grasp on the pre-established characters carried over from Season 1.
- Porting Disaster:
- An unusual example of downloaded-to-disc disaster. The retail disc version suffers from crippling lag and glitches, rendering basic gameplay difficult to get through or comprehend, and makes the quick-time events just about impossible to complete.
- The Mac OS X version also occasionally suffers from wrongly-programmed quick-time events where the Q key only works if an external control device is bound to it.
- Seasonal Rot:
- Shocking Moments:
- The worst ones have to be Larry trying to kill you, Kenny killing Larry, Lilly killing Carley/Doug, Lee getting bitten (And later dying) and Clementine being forced to sew her wound. Omid is also killed off in the very first scene of Season 2. Continues further with Sam attacking Clem in episode 1, the arrival of Carver in episode 2 (and him finding Sarah's photo), meeting with Kenny, Carver killing Reggie and beating the hell out of Kenny, Carlos dying, Sarah running away, and Sarita getting herself bitten. Clem also has the choice to chop of her arm, which obviously doesn't go over well.
- Several in Amid the Ruins, such as Sarah's sudden and inevitable death, Nick possibly returning as a walker, Kenny's outburst at Clementine, and Rebecca reanimating. The ending is probably the worst in any Episode, including Episode 5 of Season 1. The scene turns to black just as gunfire goes everywhere, leaving it ambiguous as to who died and who did not.
- No Going Back is full of these Luke will suddenly drown/freeze to death, Arvo shoots Clementine, and at the end Kenny and/or Jane will die.
- Signature Scene:
- Season 1, Episode 1's final choice. Do you rescue Carley, or Doug?
- And of course the infamous,
- Clementine having to decide whether or not to kill Lee or let him turn, already considered to be one of the biggest gaming TearJerkers of the decade.
- Season 2 is also well-known overall for its ending, where you have to choose between Kenny and/or Jane dying.
- Season 3 allows players to channel their inner Negan by having Javi killing Badger with a baseball bat.
- The Final Season has the scene at the end of episode 3 of telling AJ to shoot Lilly, or spare her life.
- Earlier in the episode, the dream sequence featuring a young Clementine talking to Lee.
- Quite a few in episode 4. Ranging from AJ shooting Tenn, or sparing him, Clementine getting bitten, the choice of killing or leaving Clementine, and Clementine being revealed to be alive and well.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: See here!
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
- Aside from Bonnie, there's no interaction you can partake in with the other characters of the 400 DLC in Episode 3 of Season 2. There's no commentary about their own personal stories, how life under Carver has changed them, nor if they still wanted to find their friends/family; it just makes the DLC feel like a total waste. They also fail to compensate for this afterwards, as none of the characters (again, aside from Bonnie) appear in Episodes 4 or 5.
- Season 1 Episode 4 makes a clear point about how Crawford's full of sociopathic humans, but by the time you get into it, they're all dead. Downplayed, however, due to 400 Days and Season 2 having introduced dystopian settlements with policies similar to how Crawford was described.
- Some people felt like Season Three should have been more focused on the aftermath of the multiple endings for the second season in which it was only addressed in one flashback cutscene where if you saved Jane or stick with Kenny, they both get anti-climatically killed off in that cutscene.
- The title cards for Season 2's Episode 3 and 4 clearly show that something else was planned for those episodes since nothing in them had anything to do with the final version.
- A common criticism lobbed at the games is that they don't take advantage of the choose-your-own-adventure format—"The game adapts to the choices you make" is kind of generous. This is related to having bare-minimum interactions with the 400 Days characters, Jane or Kenny getting killed and rendering the Season 2 multiple endings moot, saving a character only for them to die later, etc. One that was particularly jarring and almost lazy was the choice of whether or not to rob Arvo in Season 2. If you rob him, his group comes back for revenge. If you don't rob him, Jane will, and the group comes back for revenge.
- Too Bleak, Stopped Caring: Good luck getting attached to any of the characters, or feeling like your choices matter, once everyone starts dying. The reactions can range to getting more attached to Clementine, to rolling your eyes every time someone new dies. On top of this, any introduction of children into the series is met with cynicism considering the fates of Duck and Sarah. The Walking Dead: Michonne episode 2 already had fans making bets on which token kid was going to kick the bucket. The answer is neither, for those wondering.
- Tough Act to Follow:
- Telltale has admitted that they expect this in the case of Season 2, as the end of Season 1 really leaves high expectations.
- And it's unfortunately come true with a lot of fans, who say the supporting characters are less interesting, and the attempts to offset this with even more of an Anyone Can Die mentality just result in Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy.
- Season 3 A New Frontier got this even worse. Even those who didn't like Season 2 as much as 1 tend to say that 2 is still a much better sequel than 3.
- The Michonne miniseries has been getting a lot of flak for basically being a Filler Arc while Telltale is still working on fan-favorite Clementine's Season 3 story arc. Since the story following Michonne is a standalone game, not many fans have a desire to give it a try.
- The Final Season appears to be averting this so far. While it's only halfway released and still too soon to judge, many fans agree that for the most part, it's better than both Seasons 2 and 3.
- Toy Ship: A fairly minor case as there is a small but somewhat growing fanbase for Duck/Clementine the two token kids of the group. While the kids only interacted with each other in a few scenes but they are on mostly platonic terms so it's not really implausible. That said its one of the reasons why certain fans wished that Duck was one of the surviving characters as it would've been interesting to see an older Duck and Clem in Season 2.
- Also Clementine/Sarah is quite popular, due to the close (potential) friendship the two girls have.
- And now Clementine/Gabe in Season 3, complete with an in-universe Ship Tease.
- Unfortunate Implications: If you believe that Sarah is autistic or has a form of anxiety disorder and not just sheltered, quite a few people have suggested that this means the game and developers are implying that a disabled child is an unnecessary liability to capable survivors, thus killing said child off is justifiable. It may or may not make things worse considering that Telltale confirmed that Sarah has PTSD, and their vitriolic opinion of Sarah and their decision to kill her off in a brutal fashion can come across as either immature and mean-spirited on the creator's part or outright offensive to those who identified and sympathized with Sarah and her condition.
- Villain Decay: Admittedly, the walkers have started to slowly lose their villainous presence as the game series continues. The walkers were once a difficult challenge to combat in the first season, but by the Michonne story arc they can be easily dispatched literally by the push of a button. However, they seem to regain their threatening presence in season four, with new gameplay adding another level of danger.
- Win Back the Crowd: A criticism that Season 2 got a little of, and Season 3 got a lot of, was that the characters were not very likable at all. In the latter's case, three of the most pivotal characters (Kate, Gabe, and David) have pre-existing relationships with Javi that the game pushes you to upkeep, and several characters make very irrational decisions for the sake of drama alone. This crosses over with Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy, as many players feel that Telltale kills off characters at random for the sake of shock factor, so it's hard to get attached to the characters when you're fairly certain they're done for. Episode 1 of Season 4 has already gotten praise for making virtually all of the young survivors likable. Marlon, Louis, and Violet in particular have gotten many fans for their unique personalities and empathetic qualities.
- Woobie Species: The game series does a surprisingly heart-wrenching job at reminding gamers that the walkers were all once ordinary people before growing into monsters.