Telltale Playboy Feature Article confirms series was rewritten to have ******** be the Stranger

http://www.playboy.com/articles/telltale-games-batman-children-of-arkham

It’s not just fiction that team Telltale draw from in their work. The nature of their distribution model, in which they launch their games in the form of seasons, releasing episodes every few months, allows them to incorporate fan feedback into the live development of the episodes. Job Stauffer, Telltale’s head of creative communications, points to Tales from the Borderlands as the best example of this process. “We premiered the first episode at the Alamo Drafthouse in Texas, and it surprised us how the audience reacted to the character of Loader Bot. We had no idea the fans would respond so positively to him, and certainly hadn’t planned for that in terms of where the story was going.”

This led the team to rework the role of Loader Bot, who was eventually revealed to be the mysterious character of ‘the Stranger’, whose identity had previously been a source for much speculation among fans ever since the season premiere. “Things like that were not planned,” says Stauffer, “It was all a reaction to the live feedback we received. That story would have gone in a completely different direction otherwise.”

I think it's definitely surprising, for sure. I'm curious as to who the original Stranger was. What are your guys' thoughts on this?

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Comments

  • If I remember, Nick Herman kinda already confirmed that LoaderBot wasnt originally the stranger. What I really wish Telltale would say is some of the stuff that they changed mid season, Id really love to know who they were originally planning or had the idea for the Stranger to originally be.

  • Blind SniperBlind Sniper Moderator
    edited September 2016

    I kinda wish they had stuck with some of the themes from the earlier episodes ("A Bullet Saved is a Bullet Earned", or the idea of "Honor Among Thieves"). With them changing so much, it seems like they dropped several potentially interesting plot lines and just made Rhys/Vaughn/Sasha/Fiona super close friends a little more quick than I expected. That, and with the reveal of why they were mad at each other in the present (because Rhys flirted with Sasha), it honestly felt kinda forced. I'm glad they made smaller changes like having more Loaderbot, but I'm not so sure if making major changes (such as changing the entire ending during live production) are good ideas. Like, with Season 1 of Walking Dead, they said that they wrote the entire Season with the ending in mind and never wavered from their original plans for the ending. I think Telltale should keep that in mind when it comes to major revisions, like changing the entire ending. Minor changes like having more/less of a character, or changing dialogue/context of a choice are fine but I think it's important that they stick to plot points instead of going back on them.

    [Telltale Game of Thrones Season 1 Spoilers below]

    A gut feeling tells me that they also tried that with Game of Thrones, by making the Traitor become one of two potential characters who were otherwise loyal to the house, just because people expected it to be the Maester. Sure, it subverted expectations, but subverting expectations on that scale is not always a good thing if it is inconsistent with themes in the writing that you set up earlier into the story. In the future, I hope Telltale sees the importance of making live revisions that only clarify their original message instead of modifying their message.

    [Telltale Game of Thrones Season 1 Spoilers above]

    I think live revision works when they clarify their original message instead of outright modifying it.

    I still think Borderlands was a great series, but it kind of concerns me that they made changes to the story that were that large.

    Poogers555 posted: »

    If I remember, Nick Herman kinda already confirmed that LoaderBot wasnt originally the stranger. What I really wish Telltale would

  • Yup one thing I really thought was dumb was why Rhys and Fiona were mad at each other.

    For me, I didnt flirt with Sasha, I told them about Jack, and I declined running Hyperion, and the last thing Fiona said to Rhys in my game was that she wouldnt leave him and they were on good terms.

    For Rhys, it makes sense because as far as he knew, he was abandoned, but Fiona's can really make no sense.

    Also, although there was a ton of rewrites, I feel like alot still did manage to stay. For example, the ship Rhys and Fiona are at with the Stranger in Ep 4 and 5 was originally what they were going to escape on. My best guess is that whatever mad Rhys and Fiona mad at each other would have happened when that ship crashed and the fight that we see on the title card would have happened, followed by fallout.

    But also writing how they did was pretty good for the story. Remember back when Gortys was originally going to be a depressed Robot?

    I kinda wish they had stuck with some of the themes from the earlier episodes ("A Bullet Saved is a Bullet Earned", or the idea of

  • But also writing how they did was pretty good for the story. Remember back when Gortys was originally going to be a depressed Robot?

    I don't remember that, as I'm not too familiar with the removed story elements. I do think several changes were good (like adding more character presence for certain people), and I think making Gortys happy was a fine change if so, but I think it's dangerous to go as far as to do things like change the ending or modify entire character arcs because of fan feedback.

    Poogers555 posted: »

    Yup one thing I really thought was dumb was why Rhys and Fiona were mad at each other. For me, I didnt flirt with Sasha, I told

  • Yup, 100%

    Im pretty sure they stopped with fan feedback after episode 3 because they began to notice how long the wait times were, and then having episode 5 have a few fan service type nods ( I honestly wonder if LoaderBot became the stranger because all the threads joking he was )

    And yeah, apparently Gortys was changed from a depressed robot to the cute happy robot due to fan art before ep 3 was released, even before Telltale's site changed, The Tales from the Borderlands site said something along the lines of "And meet pessimistic robots." There is also unused audio of the original Gortys doing all her lines from episode 3 super depressed. The two I 100% remember are Rhys asking Gortys how she likes life which she responds with "Boring." and Another line where Gortys tells Rhys that "Sunshine gives you cancer."

    But also writing how they did was pretty good for the story. Remember back when Gortys was originally going to be a depressed Robo

  • And yeah, apparently Gortys was changed from a depressed robot to the cute happy robot due to fan art before ep 3 was released,

    Really? That's bizarre. 0.0

    Poogers555 posted: »

    Yup, 100% Im pretty sure they stopped with fan feedback after episode 3 because they began to notice how long the wait times we

  • Didn't they also say that the Stranger's identity wasn't set in stone from the beggining, that they only had a list of potentional subjects? I think it was during the Q&A session on the forums, would be worth looking it up again.

    Poogers555 posted: »

    If I remember, Nick Herman kinda already confirmed that LoaderBot wasnt originally the stranger. What I really wish Telltale would

  • May sound weird but I always liked the idea of an alternate univer where Sasha was the stranger. I would love to see why she turned against her sister and (determinant) boyfriend. A pity Telltale did't do than. I can imagine a final choice about killing or not Sasha at the end, and that affecting your relationship with the other protagonist.

    Shity post :P

  • edited September 2016

    May sound weird but I always liked the idea of Sasha being the Strager. I mean, I'd love to see her story, and what took her to turn againts her sister and (determinant) boyfriend. I can totally imagine a final choice as one of the two protagonists of killing/saving/letting die or not Sasha, and that affecting your relationship with the other protagonist.

    so dark

    Also...

    Phillip Pullman once suggested that “after nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” The world of video games, however, hasn’t always been considered as fertile ground for great storytelling, but important strides are being made in the industry to redress this imbalance.

    Phillip Pullman once suggested that “after nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”

    Phillip Pullman once suggested that

    Phillip Pullman

    Phillip Pullman

    Phillip Pullman

    IS THAT THE SAME PHILIP PULLMAN I AM THINKING ABOUT?!

    Edit: Aw shit, why didn't the first comment show up earlier?! I had to write it again!

    Stupid computer.

  • Yeah, they said something like that.

    I think the way they handled the Stranger is that they only decided on who it would be after the story began to take form. So as the episodes progressed, and the story started to carve it's own path, they came to the conclusion that Loaderbot would be the best choice.

    So it's less of a total re-write, and more of "Okay, so the audience really likes Loaderbot. Let's give him some more scenes in the rest of the game," which led to them deciding to make the as-of-yet undetermined Stranger into Loaderbot.

    I don't think they really had an original identity for the Stranger. They knew they were gonna have some big reveal at the end, but they purposely decided to hold off on figuring out who that was until later.

    Pipas posted: »

    Didn't they also say that the Stranger's identity wasn't set in stone from the beggining, that they only had a list of potentional subjects? I think it was during the Q&A session on the forums, would be worth looking it up again.

  • I thought it was kinda obvious. The stranger doesn't talk or really act like Loader Bot at all. Unless that suit he's wearing somehow allowed him to change everything about the way he talked.

  • I think Vallory could have been an interesting alternative. Instead of instant death by the Traveler, it could be believed that her injuries were instead so severe that she needed the suit to survive. I'm not sure what her motives for capturing Rhys and Fiona would be in that case, other than to seize another chance at the Vault

  • the stanger made me like loader bot more.

  • stirpicusstirpicus Telltale Alumni
    edited September 2016

    Nahhh, that was just a coincidence.

    And yeah, apparently Gortys was changed from a depressed robot to the cute happy robot due to fan art before ep 3 was released, Really? That's bizarre. 0.0

  • edited September 2016

    illhaveyouknowsomeoneconfirmedit!

    I will now go on the mighty search through dozens of pages.

    stirpicus posted: »

    Nahhh, that was just a coincidence.

  • Remember back when Gortys was originally going to be a depressed Robot?

    Like Marvin from The Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy? At least the 2005 movie, I haven't read the books yet.

    Poogers555 posted: »

    Yup one thing I really thought was dumb was why Rhys and Fiona were mad at each other. For me, I didnt flirt with Sasha, I told

  • I'm glad they chose Loader Bot, I think he was perfect.

  • Makes sense since I still hold the opinion that it didn't make sense.

  • Vallory's death was so uneventful, I get the idea that she either WAS going to be the stranger, or that one of her main purposes was to be a red herring due to her personality, body shape, blind eye, etc.

  • "It'd be funny if it was Loaderbot" we joked

    If only we'd have known

  • edited September 2016

    Who would have you picked to be the Stranger instead?

    AgentZ46 posted: »

    Makes sense since I still hold the opinion that it didn't make sense.

  • Yeah, they stated Loader Bot was on the list of potential subjects and they went with Loader Bot because they liked the idea.

    Pipas posted: »

    Didn't they also say that the Stranger's identity wasn't set in stone from the beggining, that they only had a list of potentional subjects? I think it was during the Q&A session on the forums, would be worth looking it up again.

  • edited September 2016

    To be fair, Vasquez's death was pretty uneventful as well I'm also not sure I would've liked the twist as much if it was Vallory, it would have made the whole thing anticlimactic and boring.

    Piggs posted: »

    Vallory's death was so uneventful, I get the idea that she either WAS going to be the stranger, or that one of her main purposes was to be a red herring due to her personality, body shape, blind eye, etc.

  • I don't know. I have no idea who would've been better. Don't get me wrong, it was a good reveal, it's just that things that the stranger did prior to ep5 didn't make sense for Loaderbots character. For example: the stranger clearly favoring Fiona over Rhys.

    J-Master posted: »

    Who would have you picked to be the Stranger instead?

  • If you didn't blow up Loader Bot, then yes, yes very true.

    But if you did, judging on how badly he can treat it, then I think it makes some sense.

    AgentZ46 posted: »

    I don't know. I have no idea who would've been better. Don't get me wrong, it was a good reveal, it's just that things that the st

  • I wonder who were the other top contender(s) for the role.

    I still think it would be kind of funny if it was just a random bandit with a sense of humor.

  • It was probably Vaughn. Instead of becoming a badass leader of Children of Helios, he'd become a badass bandit/Vaul Hunter.

    I wonder who were the other top contender(s) for the role. I still think it would be kind of funny if it was just a random bandit with a sense of humor.

  • Yeah, the more I think about it, I think she is my strongest hypothetical. If they also kept the Stranger killing Kroger, then I suppose it could have lent itself to a redemptive arc for her. But even that wouldn't have convinced me she was trustworthy, so I dunno.

    (For the record, I am 100% groovy with the way it panned out in canon)

    Piggs posted: »

    Vallory's death was so uneventful, I get the idea that she either WAS going to be the stranger, or that one of her main purposes was to be a red herring due to her personality, body shape, blind eye, etc.

  • Yeah, like I said, red herring.

    J-Master posted: »

    To be fair, Vasquez's death was pretty uneventful as well I'm also not sure I would've liked the twist as much if it was Vallory, it would have made the whole thing anticlimactic and boring.

  • It makes sense; he thought Rhys was a friend, and originally had a more neutral opinion of Fiona. So, makes sense for him to be more emotionally charged around the friend who "backstabbed" him.

    If you didn't blow up Loader Bot, then yes, yes very true. But if you did, judging on how badly he can treat it, then I think it makes some sense.

  • No, if anything Loaderbot should be more angry at Fiona. Rhys didnt want to leave Loaderbot and he sacrificed himself for him. He tells Fiona to save Gortys and sees Fiona blow up Gortys, which then becomes his fuel to find them again, because he wants to know why Fiona blew her up. So really he should be mad at Fiona.

    Piggs posted: »

    It makes sense; he thought Rhys was a friend, and originally had a more neutral opinion of Fiona. So, makes sense for him to be more emotionally charged around the friend who "backstabbed" him.

  • No surprise. That's a problem - Telltale writers don't plan ahead. They are rewriting a lot and story suffers from inconsistency.

  • I still think Sasha would be a great Stranger.

  • Well, admittly Rhys isn't off the hook either, remember Rhys had a crazy psychopath stuck in his head and didn't tell Loaderbot or anyone about it detrimentally and Jack arguably made things worse afterwards so I can sort of understand why LB can be a little bit more angry at Rhys.

    Poogers555 posted: »

    No, if anything Loaderbot should be more angry at Fiona. Rhys didnt want to leave Loaderbot and he sacrificed himself for him. He

  • edited September 2016

    I don't think Tales suffered for it though. I feel TWD S2 suffered from this because Telltale was kind in a rough state with their video game development at the time from what I heard.

    Omid's cat posted: »

    No surprise. That's a problem - Telltale writers don't plan ahead. They are rewriting a lot and story suffers from inconsistency.

  • Yeah there was a lot of foreshadowing that would back up Vaughn being The Stranger.

    It was probably Vaughn. Instead of becoming a badass leader of Children of Helios, he'd become a badass bandit/Vaul Hunter.

  • Like what? Seriously, I didn't catch anything.

    bigdogg0821 posted: »

    Yeah there was a lot of foreshadowing that would back up Vaughn being The Stranger.

  • If I remember most people started to think Vaughn might be becoming a psycho. Hitting Vasquez dead body with a stick, talking about how much hes enjoying almsot dying, when I saw him with the mask in ep 5 I started to think him being a psycho may have happened.

    Like what? Seriously, I didn't catch anything.

  • And he walked across the screen in Episode 2 in a transition to the Stranger walking across the screen as well

    Poogers555 posted: »

    If I remember most people started to think Vaughn might be becoming a psycho. Hitting Vasquez dead body with a stick, talking abou

  • How do you become a psycho?

    Poogers555 posted: »

    If I remember most people started to think Vaughn might be becoming a psycho. Hitting Vasquez dead body with a stick, talking abou

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