Hubs, Puzzles, and Character Moments

Alyssa_TTGAlyssa_TTG Telltale Staff
edited October 18 in The Walking Dead

Hi, friends!

Wanted to start a quick poll: when you think about any/all seasons of the Walking Dead (or other Telltale games, if ya want)... can you tell me about the gameplay hubs (we call 'em freewalks, internally) that you think were the most enjoyable/successful? What were the things about it you liked? Was there a particular activity or interaction that really worked for you?

And conversely, are there any hubs/freewalks/puzzles/character development moments that you thought were particularly unsuccessful? Can you tell me about those?

Looking forward to your input!

«1

Comments

  • edited June 29

    I like when I can decide to do something or not, like with Javi steal drugs in front of Clementine or put them back
    Searching stuff like when Lee try to find evidence too was good

  • The Fairbanks House in the Michonne Miniseries is great. It's huge, and it makes the episode seem longer. It keeps the feeling of tension, waiting for Norma and all, and it gives a lot of information about the family's backstory with just walking around. Definetly, the best hub of the series.

  • Blind SniperBlind Sniper Moderator
    edited June 29

    On a quick note - I see the general consensus as that players liked hubs closer to that of Season 1, where the story would stop and take a breather so that players could digest the drama instead of being moved from one cut scene to another. This is not true only of Walking Dead, but of all Telltale games. In earlier episodes of Season 1, players really loved the Motor Inn freewalk or the Ski Lodge in Season 2. An example of an unsuccessful hub would be the train in Season 1 Ep 3 because the train section slowed it down, but I would not extrapolate from that that players do not like puzzles/extensive hubs, but rather, I would extrapolate that hubs should be saved for "breather" moments while still being added in often to the story. As Kirkman said about earlier TTG TWD games, part of the appeal of Walking Dead is "people hugging and crying", and I feel that more extensive hubs allow for this best.

    Something that people really liked from Season 1 was that characters would give you side-information about them that was not immediately relevant to the story, but rather, was added in just for the sake of immersion. I find that newer Telltale series after Season 1 prioritize the story going on at all costs, instead of allowing players to breathe and role play. These "breather" moments enhance the player's connection to the cast, and pivotal scenes such as character death scenes or major development aren't as impactful if players feel like they are being hurried through episodes with quicker pacing instead of allowing you to reflect on what happened in the story in hub areas.

    I think hubs work best when you give the player a subtle prompt of what they can do to forward the story if they want to move on, while still allowing the player to take a breather and get to talk to characters. A lot of what I see players say they liked about Season 1 was that the small and optional side conversations added a lot to the character and world building. Season 1 hubs worked best in my opinion as you knew what to click (through story prompts provided by the character in game, such as X character saying "come talk to me" or Y character telling you an objective, while still allowing you to optionally explore elsewhere). In later Telltale series after Season 1, the "goals" of hubs have become a little more muddied at what you did to trigger the story moving on, and I think that hubs work better when the player knows they won't accidentally click something to move the story forward when they wanted to stop and smell the roses. In newer Telltale games, I find my self being apprehensive at clicking things that I think might advance the story before allowing me to explore the hub area to the fullest extent.

    I think that after the success of Season 1, Telltale have underestimated how much hubs work to your guys' favor. People want to stop and explore and smell the roses in these universes you guys create. Hubs, puzzles, or other interactive additions to the games beyond dialogue selection and QTEs serve to better immerse players in your story and allows for more direct involvement, as opposed to passive observation through role playing. But, I should also add, puzzles and other additions should work to benefit the source material of the franchise you are working on. To serve the needs of games like Walking Dead or other mature/grounded titles, I could see this working with "context sensitive" puzzles.

    I can add more detailed thoughts about this later, but hub areas/freewalks are something you will see the overwhelming majority of players advocate for, speaking from my anecdotal observations as a mod.

  • Hubs that work like a "base" type of thing.

    For example, Walking Dead Season 1: The Motel - We explore the same hub many times but it changed through the episodes and worked as an almost basic "this is the home base"

    Same goes for the Business Office in the Wolf Among Us, again it felt like a home base HUB.

  • MrJavaMrJava Banned

    I liked Javi so much.
    Kenny is the best!
    Tripp did fit the "Abraham" legacy.

    Lee's investigation in S1 EP3 was good. And also I like the moment where Carley suggest you to share your past with others. I liked the consequences.

    I missed the days we can snoof around and explore anything we can found.

    I want determinant characters to be more important. I am sick of that problem, determinant characters are dying after an episode. I want them to be more active.

  • I really enjoy the hubs where walkers pose a significant threat or create a sense of urgency, such as the sewer hub in S1 Ep 4, the car jack hub in ANF Ep 3 and the generator hub in ANF Ep 5. These segments do a better job at portraying the walkers as a menace than simple QTEs, and I would love to see more of these hubs replace QTEs in the next TWD game.

  • Getting to know some of the Characters through the Optional Conversations in the Hubs in Season 1 was pretty good. I wish they had been implemented in a similar fashion in ANF. The puzzles in Season 1, on the other hand, were kind of annoying tbh. I'm glad they were simplified in ANF whenever they DID happen.

  • edited June 29

    Firstly, I'd like to say thank you for asking for fan feedback.

    I'd like to say that I, like many others, believe hubs were most successful in Season 1. Since you wanted to know what worked and what didn't work, I'm gonna compare the S1 hubs to the ANF hubs.

    The main factor, in fact the only factor I'm going to mention, are the conversations/optional dialogue. These are so integral to the characters and structure of the story I think that's enough for me to mention.

    Season 1 did these excellently in my opinion. These calm moments where you talk with characters were very defining moments. We learned more about these characters and the conversations we had made them feel more human and brought depth to their character. We learned more information bit by bit to move the story forward, hence giving it a less rushed feeling. The calm moments in between the action helped string everything together. It fit nicely. Plus, optional dialogue increased re-playablity. Even today I'm learning more lines from Season 1 that I never heard before.

    On the other hand, ANF fell quite flat on this department. Although you can talk to some characters in hubs, they were extremely short and added nothing to the episode. This is it's biggest flaw. Rarely did we learn about the characters we talked to. This hurt the character development a lot. Now that ANF is finished, we still barely know anything about a lot of the characters. This is why the ANF cast has felt so one dimensional and non-human; we barely get any calm moments where we can talk to them. As a result, their deaths were not very impactful and the characters don't really leave a great impression. Before, hubs made us feel connected to characters, but now we are expected to care for them just because they are family and so we are expected to do so.

    Additionally, with the hubs having very few conversations, it made ANF feel like a constant loop of going somewhere, someone gets killed and they run to the next place. Although towards the end of the season episodes got a bit calmer, there were still not a lot of conversations like in S1. For this reason I think hubs with lots of optional choices/dialogue really help with the structure of the game.

    I can't stress how important I think this is. Moments like this are what makes us emotionally invested in characters in the first place and what helped make Season 1 so great. This is the main reason why Clem is the most beloved character in the series; her interactions with Lee were spot on.

    Thanks for reading

  • Oh and please bring us back the rewind ability for the chapters in each of the 5 episodes.

    Having to replay the whole episode just because we missunderstood just one sentence is awful

  • I think hubs work best when you give the player a subtle prompt of what they can do to forward the story if they want to move on, while still allowing the player to take a breather and get to talk to characters.

    Exactly.

    I think that after the success of Season 1, Telltale have underestimated how much hubs work to your guys' favor. People want to stop and explore and smell the roses in these universes you guys create. Hubs, puzzles, or other interactive additions to the games beyond dialogue selection and QTEs serve to better immerse players in your story and allows for more direct involvement, as opposed to passive observation through role playing.

    I agree.

    But, I should also add, puzzles and other additions should work to benefit the source material of the franchise you are working on. To serve the needs of games like Walking Dead or other mature/grounded titles, I could see this working with "context sensitive" puzzles.

    Personally, I'm NOT too crazy about puzzles, but as long as they're kept simple in the game I can deal with em.

    On a quick note - I see the general consensus as that players liked hubs closer to that of Season 1, where the story would stop an

  • edited June 29

    I loved the hub from S1-E3 and S2-E2 that let you walk around the motel/house and explore before the game continues. It felt like a breath of fresh air to give us a minute to cool down from the action/drama. It also gives us a chance to get to know the characters more through optional dialogue options (like in S1-E1 when you find out Clem had a pet goldfish. I didn't even know she had one until recently).

    Hopefully next season there will be more hubs and puzzles, like how to turn on the train from S1-E3. That puzzle was fun.

    As for which hub was unsuccessful, I gotta say the Junkyard from Ties That Bind Pt.1. It felt short and there wasn't much to do.

    Also, are you guys going to do these quick polls/suggestions for a while? I enjoy this, I really do!

  • Omg Blind...you said it so well. And I have been harping on this for so long. We need the time to talk to the people and get to know them. Hubs are the tools to get closer and build a bond between us the player and the character.

    On a quick note - I see the general consensus as that players liked hubs closer to that of Season 1, where the story would stop an

  • Hey, Alyssa! It's always a pleasure to have you on the forum.

    I feel like it is essential—particularly in post-apocalyptic fiction, which is full of drama and brutality—that we are reminded that the characters on the screen are people we can relate to. People who have hopes and fears and doubts. People who feel organic and somehow familiar; and thus, people whom we instinctively understand—yet not necessarily like—when the narrative advances.

    Something that has always clicked with me are intimate scenes that the playable character shares with others or themselves. Small moments that don't do anything for the overall narrative, yet show us that the person we're controlling is a normal person. It's hard to relate to someone who is constantly jumping between an action scene and a plot development scene, because you reach the end of the game and you realize you never really knew who the playable character was when in non-spectacular conditions. Backstory-dumping just doesn't have the same effect, since we don't actually get anything relatable, other than maybe, "oh, I know a person who works at this."

    Plenty of examples of what I'm saying:

    • The food-rationing segment in "Starved For Help."
    • The evening motor-inn hub in "Long Road Ahead," particularly the conversations Lee has with Lilly, Carley, Kenny and Katjaa, and Clem's leaf-rubbing.
    • Shel speaking with Joyce and Boyd about Stephanie's betrayal in "400 Days."
    • Clementine exploring the abandoned camp of Sam's owners.
    • Clementine exploring the ski lodge freely, choosing who to talk to.
    • Bonnie and Clem speaking in "In Harm's Way" while loading firearms.
    • Clementine and Jane when exploring the observation deck.
    • Clementine and Luke talking after Clem leaves the observation deck.
    • Clementine, Bonnie and Mike when exploring the museum.
    • Clementine, Kenny, Rebecca and Sarah in the main civil war memorial location, in the scene in which Clementine can give Rebecca medicine.
    • Kate's disappointment in "Ties That Bind" if Javier sides with Mariana and Gabe.
    • Javier and Eleanor talk when the former is locked up in Prescott.
    • Conrad apologizing for what he did in the tunnel, and insisting against having a gun.
    • Javier when he reunites with Kate in "Thicker Than Water." Conrad comments to Javi and Kate about Tripp and Elle's argument.
    • Javier, Gabe and Ava when they approach Richmond's armory, in episode four.
    • Clementine reluctantly asking Javier about her period.
    • Javier and Eleanor questioning each other in "From The Gallows," and Kate appearing guilty when Eleanor coincidentally remarks that Richmond was safe before they fucked up their walls.
  • The hub/freewalks

    The Pharmacy....just getting to know people and to see details...like Doug's IT guy ad on the bulletin board added to the idea that people did not just show up there out of happenstance. Doug lived in the town and probably knew Lee's family a little.

    The Motel...so many golden moments for characters to get to know each other..or even start falling for each other.

    The Train...so much tragedy and feels on that metal monster. Talking to Clem, teaching her to shoot...cutting her hair.

    The Mansion...being stuck in the attic...Christa and Kenny and Lee...taking swigs while poor Omid does all the work. just amazing stuff there.

    Letting us get to know and to experience these human moments is what TWD is about....it is a character driven drama...which just happens to be taking in a zombie apocalypse.

    S2 when they are at the power substation and sitting around the fire...that was amazing.

    s3 really you guys cut it so short...is it any wonder people had a hard time bonding with anyone? Kate...once again,,,had potential to be a great character...but all we saw was her pursuit of Javi. Gabe...all we ever really saw was his whiney teenage act. The most human moment in the game was the episode 5 opening flashback with Javi and David's father.

    Thank you for doing this and asking these questions.

  • This. I wish the Unfinished House get this treatment as well..

    The Fairbanks House in the Michonne Miniseries is great. It's huge, and it makes the episode seem longer. It keeps the feeling of

  • For me, I really liked the downtime during the action to just talk to people. I love interacting with the characters and getting their thoughts on the situation/how they felt and get the opportunity to bond with them that bit more (and if you didn't want to you didn't have to, you could just go straight to whatever the objective was). It also helped that the types of conversations you had where determinant, for example in Season 1 if you killed Larry in the meat locker or in general were not nice to Lily and try to talk to her during the medicine investigation hub she will treat Lee harshly but if you sided with her most of the time she is open and personal with you. It made it so that you felt a strong bond with the character and would be obliged to make sacrifices or think about them when it came to a difficult decision. It felt really personal.

    The problem with ANF is that it kept throwing more and more action at you but never gave you any time to talk to people and ask them about their history/life/relationships. I never felt attached to the characters all that much because I didn't know anything about them beyond their name. The power station hub in No Going Back is a fantastic example of a really well done hub, the characters get to talk about their life history a bit and express themselves in a way that feels human.

    In ANF, I never felt anything like that with the characters. They don't talk about their lives or their family or what they think about X or Y. They don't feel human at all, instead they feel like walking exposition made to create conflict for the sake of putting the player in a difficult situation. The problem with that is that when you don't care about any of them then any tension falls completely flat.

    For me, the weakest hubs for me are ones that don't give the much player much choice over what they can do because then it feels as though it may as well have not even been a hub in the first place and instead a QTE. I really disliked the Above the Law hub for that reason because regardless of the order you decide to complete it the end result is the same (unless you die). In a hub where we're given multiple choices or the ability to talk to people, I at least could have seen/said something different that someone else might not have and that makes the experience a lot more unique and personal.

    I could say more but i'd just be rambling. I hope my feedback was in someway helpful!

  • Blind is that you? What happened to the "Moderator" thing next to your username?

    On a quick note - I see the general consensus as that players liked hubs closer to that of Season 1, where the story would stop an

  • It's there on the profile. I guess they changed some stuff with the cite.

    Blind is that you? What happened to the "Moderator" thing next to your username?

  • Blind SniperBlind Sniper Moderator

    I still see it on my end. It might be an unintentional glitch that regular users cannot see moderator badges? I'll have to look around.

    Blind is that you? What happened to the "Moderator" thing next to your username?

  • Blind SniperBlind Sniper Moderator

    Correct; the site received a backend update so some things have changed and some minor issues are getting sorted out.

    GohanFGC posted: »

    It's there on the profile. I guess they changed some stuff with the cite.

  • I like hubs a lot, my favorite one is probably the S1E3 one, in the motel, but one of the most enjoyable sequences of the game for me was in S2E1 when you have to leave the shed, sneak into the house, and search for the medical tools to stitch your arm. Also you get to know Sarah, you can peek on the cabin group's conversation and learn some interesting stuff and, most importantly, you can have Alvin give you a juicebox.

  • I think one of the main reasons why I disliked season 3 so much was because there weren't any hubs you could just chill out in for 5 mins and get to know the other characters you're supposed to be so emotionally invested to. There wasn't ONE hub in s3e5 lol. Hopefully they fix that in season 4 - I'm counting on you Telltale !

  • Wowser-oonie, pretty surprised that question's being asked. Hm. It's a bit tricky to say what makes them 'work', as much as I think they work because they're mandatory in a story. Quiet moments are absolutely necessary, to me, and hubs are a great way of doing that. In this post - more like a mini essay - I sort of touch on why they're so important, and the distinction between what we had, and what we now have. Sorry that it's a bit long, and it's a bit rambly because I'm super tired but I really want to share my thoughts with you \o/

    The problem I have with A New Frontier is it feels like I'm watching a Michael Bay movie, and it's just sensory overload, in the nicest way possible. It's the equivalent of witnessing a fever dream unfold. I'm melting away, confused, wondering what just happened and if it's real. Looking at you, Ava's second death. There're explosions, people getting shot, betrayals - all the ingredients are there for the dream recipe of excitement, but where it fell flat is that it doesn't do anything with that besides thrust action in our faces over the course of an hour, occasionally busting out the string instruments when you want us to feel. The complete lack of quiet moments is what makes this so tricky for me to accept, as I don't get a moment to catch my breath from explaining menstruation, or something, before -

    enter image description here

    OH MY GIDDY AUNT DID YOU SEE THAT EXPLOSION? LOOK AT ALL THOSE MUERTOS!

    But what just happ -

    GO GO GO KATE'S IN DANGER RUNNNNN!

    O - Oh, okay... Off I go...

    This isn't me trying to bash, I'm sort of trying to explain why it's so important you have those quiet moments. The flashback with Jane, in episode four, is honestly great for me. Not only do we get to spend time with a character that (if you stuck with her) you likely have some nice feelings about, but we also get some quiet moments to chat with a character, and it's good little stab at seeing what's going on in her head. The same can be said for the Kenny flashback during Thicker Than Water. While I didn't personally play through it by myself, I'll admit I thought it was a really sweet 'quiet' moment. Though, admittedly, both of these feel kinda like they were there as a half apology for how badly they were axed, but I digress!

    Part of what is so integral about the hub moments is catching your breath, both for the player and the character. In season one, Lee's new home - the Motor Inn - was both a chance for him to take a moment to wind down from the walkers, and it was a chance for the player to wind down from the QTE's and emotionally draining events that happened outside the walls. I honestly can't name a single scene within A New Frontier, off the top of my head, where I can relax.

    There's also the fact that everyone just sort of feels like a cardboard cutout, as a result of their lack of development. In the 'hub' in Ties That Bind; Part Two, people prowl around, they're all on a mission, and you can talk to them. Yet everyone just seems so wooden, almost ... robotic? Clementine especially, in this case, as she throws a pissy look, then gets all smiley when she remembers Kenny or Jane, then she's right back to hands on hips you have to take me seriously now mode. What would help here, really, is the time to sit down and just chat. What's David's favourite colour? Does he like bacon and eggs? Did he always wanna be a soldier? I dunno, just gimme something to make the character feel less like a character, or a plot piece, and more like a person. As it stands, everything is just always moving, we're always running around like headless chickens, and characters just act like they've read the script that particular day so just go about their business, without bothering to say natural stuff like 'Hey Javi, crazy weather, eh?' or anything like that. It's all "WE MUST GET THESE GUNS" or "RICHMOND" or "YOU LITTLE FUCKEN' ASSHOLE!". It's all action, all the time, even in the moments where there isn't any physical action. It's group drama, explosion, gun fire, betrayal, back to the drama, back to Gabe being a dickshit, back to the explosions, oop Gabe's being a turd again, now there's another betrayal -

    It's exhausting, at least to me.

    For me, it's that distinction I made earlier - character versus person - that really needs to be fleshed out. Kenny and Jane, to me, felt like real people. Jane was still obsessing over what happened to her little sister, Kenny was still - deep down, and not that deep - hurting over what happened to his family. Luke was starting to crack from everyone around him dropping like flies. Lee was also a fantastic character, despite being the protagonist, because we had a lot to him even before we picked up the controller/put our fingers on keyboards or what have you. But in A New Frontier, everyone just feels so ... devoid of life, in a weird way. I can't put my fingers on it, but they don't seem real to me, whereas the characters in season one and season two made me care without the need for string music, because they were so believable in their own right - because of their development, that I wanted to care.

    I think that's really the key, there needs to be more quiet moments to flesh characters out. The walk to the trailer park with Jane in Amid the Ruins really sticks with me, and that's just two people chatting about their group, offering their contrasting perspectives on it. It's got a rhythm to it, it feels natural, there's no explosions or pudding to force a reaction. It's just a quiet walk to look for their missing friends, which is brought to life through the dynamic between the characters. Within A New Frontier, we get so close to stuff like that, with us talking to Gabe outside the armoury during Thicker Than Water about trust if Ava is with us, but it just falls flat, to me, because there's not enough quiet time, and I haven't been given motivation to bother to care about my own nephew up until this point, so the 'point' of the scene is lost. More hubs would fix this.

    The Walking Dead, to me, isn't about crazy communities - or even the walkers, which sounds kind of dumb. To me, it's the long term effects of the apocalypse, the emotions and hurt the survivors have to bury, and how they deal with that. The pacing in the previous two series was so good, and did - in my opinion - such a good job at conveying this crucial theme, that most complaints I have is 'where can I get more of the good stuff?'. No Time Left isn't even that long, for a Telltale episode, at about an hour and a half, but the last ten minutes made me feel more than the entirety of A New Frontier, because the relationship between Lee and Clementine was carefully, naturally and beautifully developed over slow moments throughout the entire season. Their relationship was built on so many levels, carefully applied and written, and explored in wonderful ways, that it brings a little smile to my face when I remember all the cute and quiet moments between Lee and Clementine.

    They were brought together at the same pace as the audience was drawn to Clementine, with the goal of nurturing, protecting and teaching, through carefully written quiet moments and the occasional and EARNED action scene. They weren't brought together over the course of an hour over pudding, gasoline, people with ugly beards and dead nieces.

    Sorry if that's a bit long, but that's ... kinda me just talking about why quiet moments in general are so important, and not just for any one reason.

  • edited June 29

    S1: Gathering the supplies and food from the drug store. Gathering supplies is as stressful as it is, but on top of that the alarms went off + the ability to let the woman suffer so we can gather more supplies. It makes the hub more stressful and meaningful instead of "walk in there, get some bars and get out"

    S1: Train hub. Creative, challenging and for the most part realistic.

    S1: Passing out the food hub/motel hub in general. We really got a chance to know the characters, their thoughts, and their reactions based on threats (David Parker, bandits, St. Johns arriving, starvation) all in one area. Also, most prevalent in season 1 are the dialogue options. We actually had branches to choose from, different questions to ask them that all get different responses from the characters. In season 3 it seems we get the same response no matter what we choose, like "I'm praying I find a candy bar" from Marianna no matter what we say to her. Or, we don't get options at all. Click on a character, Javier says something to them that we don't even choose, the character responds in one short sentence and then its over. No more options to interact with them, like in S3E2 when you click on Gabe Javier says "I saw you talking with Clementine over there" Gabe responds with a sentence and then you can't talk to him anymore after that. I would have very much liked to, with Clementine especially.

    S2: Shed hub + gathering supplies. The hub was huge, scary, many different interactions, the Sarah interaction was intriguing, you could play sassy bitchy Clem to get the supplies or nice Clem. The whole hub was just big, great, enjoyable and most of all it felt important. It was necessary. I wanted to find the supplies despite being told to stay put. I had a good and straight forward goal, I cared about what happened. But as an opposite example with S3E4(?) trapped in the (was it the showers?) I kinda... didn't care. I was like "ok now I gotta find a way out then run into someone so the next action sequence starts to play out for the rest of the episode" but I just didn't care. Thinking about it now I forgot what the goal even was or the purpose of getting out of the showers was besides "the bad guys put you in here that means you should get out."

    S2E4: I LOVED the hubs. They were both unique and nostalgic. Walking around the museum reminded me of Lee and the cute raccoon scene was very memorable.

    Season 3... yeah umm.. I guess Prescott was cool. That was neat to explore except I wish I could have explored it a lot more. The gas station was cool but it didn't feel unique, as it felt like a copy of season 1 (pulling the truck out of the way using the wench). Really a missed opportunity by not making all of Richmond, or most of it, a hub. Had I been able to walk around Richmond and talk to the members of the community I may have cared about what happened to it, but due to the lack of interactivity with the community, risking my life for the community didn't interest me whatsoever, making me not go with Kate despite me sticking by her side the whole game, so not going with her felt weird.

    Season 3: Junkyard hub was neat and especially eye candy. The atmosphere felt good.

    Overall, hubs are perfect for character development and downtime to take everything in/ get other character's opinions on what's gong on around them. Lack of hubs often leads to lack of character development + odd pacing.

  • Hubs and puzzles allow the player to take a breath and think about everything that happened, helps with the episode length and character development.

    By adding puzzles and hubst to the game you can solve multiple problems at once.

    EVERY TELLTALE GAME, not just TWD, needs these.

  • Aaaaaand it's back. Black magic

    I still see it on my end. It might be an unintentional glitch that regular users cannot see moderator badges? I'll have to look around.

  • Heya, thank you for asking for feedback.

    I can understand that hubs can risk slowing the narrative down but as many has already mentioned, they are also very useful to create immersion and having an opportunity to talk to characters in these hubs makes us feel connected to them.

    The hubs in Season 1 was done perfectly in my opinion. I was never really bored because I was spending time talking to my group that I came to regard as family and exploring the world just made me feel more immersed.

    A hub that I particularly liked was the Motor Inn. When I have to side with either Kenny, Lily or staying neutral my choice have an effect on how they talk to Lee. This made the game feel reactive to my choices and helped shape our relationship to the characters. Also having the task of giving food also added some extra dilemma and conflict.

    I think in a game like Walking Dead where characters can die and we are expected to care, having hubs is essential to have some time talking to these characters and let us grow closer to them. Why should we care for them if we don't time getting to know who these people are? We don't need every conversation to be about their past. We can simply ask what they are currently feeling about the situation or how they are handling the deaths of someone.

    I know you guys are the ones making the game and you have to approach things differently to how we sees it. But what I would have done is to use these hubs for the first half of the season to establish the characters and the player character. Then when the story gets more faster paced and the situation becomes more dangerous we have reasons to worry and care.

    Just my opinion on this matter. The reason why I love Telltale Games in general is because I enjoy growing closer to characters in the game and how my choices affect how they treat me. It makes them feel real.

  • edited June 29

    Just do what S1 did. I don't know what to call all these determinant (most are determinant) moments, but they were nice and well loved additions:

    • Remember the moment when we had to give out food to people (we had 4 or so pieces) in that hub in Episode 2 but we had like 7 people? We need more of those moments.
    • Remember puzzles? As long as they're not super hard and fit in well with the story, make it happen.
    • Remember the broken swing that we could fix and we could push Clementine on it (and learn more about Clementine's life)? Make something like that happen again.
    • Remember all those conversations we could have (about characters and their backstories, what they did pre-apocalypse, what their plan is now, etc)? We need more of those.
    • Remember when Carley (Carly?) told us to tell others about our past? We could choose who we wanted to tell about our past (Episode 2 or so) and Kenny got pissed if you didn't in Episode 3 (because Lilly tells them). We need more of these.
    • Remember when Kenny and Christa were talking about what to do next in the attic and what to do if you turned? More of these moments are needed.

    We need time to reflect on what happened and to see what everyone's reaction was to the 'thing that happened' (by talking to them in hubs).

    S2 also had some great hubs:

    • Gathering supplies (that one especially) - the atmosphere, the fact that you had to be stealthy trying not to get caught, etc - it was spot on.
    • The hub in the lodge after you meet Kenny was also pretty good - same as above: atmosphere, conversations, etc - spot on.

    I'm just stating what you did in S1 but S1 was perfect in this department (99% of the time); instead of removing these moments, add more and expand on them. These are just a few examples out of the 100s S1 and the few S2 had.

    Side note: S1 BARLEY had any QTEs. It had the rare "Mash Q Press E" QTEs and they were used very well in tense moments - not every few minutes like ANF does. Reduce the amount of QTEs and add more gameplay. QTE = bad gameplay - that is if you can even call it gameplay (you don't even have to continue with some QTEs - outcome is the same regardless).

  • That was not only one of my favorite parts of the Michonne mini series, but the entire series in general. That was the best hub scene the series has ever made, hands down. We want more of this, stuff that allows us to interact with the environment and characters, but also doesn't hugely affect the tension and pacing.

    The Fairbanks House in the Michonne Miniseries is great. It's huge, and it makes the episode seem longer. It keeps the feeling of

  • edited June 29

    I would say something, but several others did a much better job than I could ever do. What we want more of are hubs and character moments (which were often created through hubs) similar to Season 1, or even the Fairbanks house in the Michonne mini series. In an episode like From the Gallows, it just goes from one scene to another, it's so fast paced that we never had a moment to digest everything that happened, and as a result, character deaths are pushed away and forgotten immediately after they happen, we never get to really understand what characters are thinking about certain situations, and the episode feels like a cluster fuck of scenes jumbled together.

    Now compare it to an episode like Starved For Help, I think this episode really utilized the effectiveness of hubs. When we first get to the St. John's, we can explore, get a lay out of the farm, interact with the characters, learn how they survived, and learn about their history. Then we go help with the fence, and there's a brief action scene where Mark gets shot and we deal with bandits and walkers. When we get back, we don't have to immediately go out into the woods with Danny searching for their camp, we can take a breather and look around the farm again. Some stuff has changed, but more importantly, we can talk to the rest of the characters and get their input, whether it be Lilly, Kenny, or even Larry. Most importantly however is one involving Clementine, and it helps develop the father/daughter bond the game was going for. It's a nice moment of levity that doesn't break the tension or mood, but still gives the player a chance to relax and take it all in. Then we go out in search for their camp, we kill the woman (either Lee or Danny), and return, and again, we can look and explore. I can't help but feel that if an episode like Starved For Help was in ANF, then it would loose everything about it that made it great: the St. John's wouldn't be such great antagonists, the situation wouldn't have been as tense as it was, the reveal would feel like it came more out of nowhere rather than subtly hinted at, the pacing would be greatly affected and wouldn't be nearly as focused as it was in S1, and the choices wouldn't carry the same emotional or moral weight when we make them (example: killing or helping Larry).

    Huh, that ended up being much longer than I anticipated. It's amazing what pops into your head when you just start typing away. On a side note, this is stuff that I, and I'm sure many other fans, would love to see more of. The creators, directors, and writers asking for fan input, feedback and opinions, and showing a genuine interest in trying to improve after some of the complaints they have gotten. You have no idea how far this one gesture goes in helping restore some of the confidence I have in you guys, but it can't just stop here. It's one thing to hear and listen, it's another to actually implement, and that was something we were promised, but didn't really get, which angered a lot of people.

  • Thank you guys so much for interacting with the community so much lately. We really appreciate it. It makes me extremely hopeful for Season 4 and beyond.

    The Stuff That Worked:

    -My favorite hub of the series is The Fairbanks House in "What We Deserve". It's massive, full of story and has a great atmosphere. This is by far the greatest hub in any Telltale Game.

    -The Everett Pharmacy in "A New Day". Nostalgia aside, this hub allowed us to get to know the cast and also offered a fun puzzle.

    -The Motel in "Starved For Help" and "Long Road Ahead". Being able to walk around and choose who to feed is still one of the toughest choices I've had to make in the series. And in "Long Road Ahead" we were able to tell people about Lee's past, solve a mystery, and most importantly HIGH FIVE DUCK!

    -The Train in "Long Road Ahead". From the introduction of Chuck, Lilly determinatley stealing the RV, watching Duck slowly die all while solving an incredibly designed puzzle, this hub seriously delivered!

    -The Mansion in "Around Every Corner". It was creepy, atmospheric, and the payoff with the boy in the attic was heartbreaking.

    -Crawford in "Around Every Corner". Amazing! The tension was high, the stakes were high and being able to find out about Molly's past was a nice bonus. Plus, I love hubs with character and puzzles.

    -The Moonstar Lodge in "A House Divided". After reuniting with Kenny, being able to relax in a beautiful lodge with characters you love is still one of my favorite moments of the series.

    The Stuff That Didn't Work:

    -The Cabin in "A House Divided". I was really hoping to be able to walk around the cabin and interact with all the characters. Unfortunately, Carver showed up before that happened. I wish we got more time with The Cabin.

    -Howes in "In Harms Way". This one had so much potential. Unfortunately, we were restricted to a small courtyard when we had an entire community(with the 400 Days characters!!!)to explore.

    -The Junkyard in "Ties That Bind Part 1". Another one that had potential. I wanted to talk to Mariana, Gabe and Kate and find out about what's happened over the past 4 years. It was too short with no real character moments.

    -Prescott in "Ties That Bind Part 2". An entire community that was designed beautifully. I just wanted to walk around and see it in all its glory. In the future, don't introduce an amazing location and than immediately destroy it.

    In conclusion, hubs with interesting character moments(finding out about Molly's past, Carley confronting Lee about his past, telling the group about being a murderer), challenging puzzles(getting the pharmacy keys, finding who broke the flashlight, getting the train working), and large spaces with lots of story(The Fairbanks House, Crawford and the Motor Inn)have worked incredibly well. I'm so happy you guys are talking with the community. The future looks bright. I can't wait until Season 4!

  • This is a discussion about hubs mate.

  • In season 1, the hubs which had optional side-quests were incredibly interesting, such as finding batteries for carley at the drug store, or investigating the mystery of the broken flashlight at the motor inn. These hubs were super fun

  • edited June 30

    I want hubs like S1 EP3 when you have to run a train and for that you have to look for note and to have notes you have to fined a pen but where you going to find a pen? That a question will be answered by the characters in the hub clem Specifically she point out thats the pen in the RV, so you find a pen use it to read the note book than run the train than use wrench to free the train, and you have to find water for duck and any thing can help.

    So what we have in this hub:

    • a main goal (runing a train)
    • so much Secondary goals that poops to you In order to achieve a the main goal(find a notes to run a train, find a pen help you read them)
    • A side goals who is not connected to the main goals ( finding water or any thing can helpfor duck)
    • Extra dialuge with main character when you can disscus the characters about the main goal of the hub like(do you have any idea how we gonna run this thing)(clem do you have a pen), and when the main charcter can know the feelings of the characters around toward stuff happend or toward the others or toward you.

    My 2nd favorite hub is crowford school, a big larg hubs with a lot of point and click in it and and jumpscare too (at least at that one time when that zombie came out from no where)
    So you have to find battery to find it you have to know where you get it, than you go to garage, you have you have to cause an oil leak to the hydraulic machine who carrys the car who had the battery, than you come back to to check out on clem ,than you go help vernon and christa you have to find a code of the safe, but to know it you have to go out again to the garage to get a tape from the doctor walker who have it, than you come back use the tape,open the safe, than you have the meds than you go out to have an almost heart attack from molly coming down from the roof. End of the hub

    So what that hub had:

    • a larg areas and a lot of places and spaces for point and click and scavanging.
    • jumpscares(two at least)
    • Permanent move and continuing requirements and missions to do.

    Thank you for doing this really I appreciate this alyssa-ttg.

  • edited June 30

    Season one was the best since it let you actually play it in-between scenes. A lot of places where you have to control the character. It also helped to flesh out the cast, which really benefitted characters like Kenny and Clementine.

  • I liked the series too for what it was. I liked the fact that the villians weren't exactly bad. To be honest Norma was a good person and Sam really is the bad person. What I didn't like is the fact the conflict cannot end peacefully even if you agree with Norma when she talks with Michonne.

    That was not only one of my favorite parts of the Michonne mini series, but the entire series in general. That was the best hub sc

  • This.

    On a quick note - I see the general consensus as that players liked hubs closer to that of Season 1, where the story would stop an

  • edited June 30

    My apologies that this comment will not come off as friendly, but it is sincere. I am writing this critique in the hopes that it is taken in consideration, because I care very much about the Walking Dead Game series. It has been a great gaming experience; however, A New Frontier did not meet the standard, not even the minimal standard of what it is to be a walking dead game (obviously this is just my opinion, but the overall response from the walking dead community has been, for the most part, disappointment) For the sake of conciseness, I will do this in bullet point format.

    Hubs/Freewalks

    • This has been the core gameplay that defines the experience, for me at least walking dead has always been a game that takes place in Hubs/Freewalks with the occasional cutscene where dialogue choices are made, with season 1 most of the hours I spent playing the game where in hubs, whereas A New Frontier was a majority of sitting back and watching events unfold.

    Characters in Hubs

    • Hubs are the perfect opportunity to allow extra character development, to get a feel for the emotions running through each character, who they are. In an AMA recently a lot of backstory was given on season 3 characters, why didn’t this happen in game? In season 1 the only reason for the player to care for Clementine was because of every opportunity to ask how she was doing. Hubs are for irrelevant side conversations with characters or, just as important, to reflect on the choices just made, to stand there as Lee or Clementine and sometimes think of everything I’ve done to get me here.

    Puzzles and side quests in Hubs

    • Puzzles allow for varied gameplay and show the leadership your character had. In season 3 Tripp made Javi the default boss before he did anything and despite the times where Javi determinately screwed a situation for them.

    Examples of successful hubs/puzzles/character

    Season 1

    • Hershel’s Farm, I learned about Kenny and his family
    • The drugstore obviously, there was an interesting mix of a sense of tension and calmness
    • choosing food for the group and the feeling of being rushed when you had to collect food while the woman outside was or was not being eaten
    • As said in someone else’s comment building a swing for Clem
    • having to start a train manually rather than relying on plot convivence, also the feeling of hopelessness after losing Carley/Doug and Duck being bit, with a hub I had to reflect on this while I tried to start the train
    • the sewer gave the feeling of constant danger with walkers luring around the corner
    • many opportunities to talk to everyone in the group ex. At the motel etcetera

    Season 2

    • The ski lodge: a quiet slow part where I realized that despite all the chaos going on in Clem’s life she was going to have this one opportunity to be happy while also knowing that it obviously couldn’t last but still being able to hope it would and trying her best to make the moments last by reminiscing with Kenny

    I could go on but his is getting too long

    Unsuccessful attempts and Season 3 – this is where I might get nastier so again sorry

    Prescott Hub

    • I can examine that object over there… who can I talk to… I can’t talk to those npcs standing around

    This actually brings me to an important point, in the walking dead games for the most part every character was important, there weren’t many nameless wandering npcs.

    There is no main hub for Richmond which felt like an obvious necessity. The intention was that I was supposed to grow familiar with the people of Richmond and then by the end decide who was more important the needs of the many or the needs of the few, family or Richmond.

    My advice which will never be used, I know this, is to ditch the episodic model. You’re not a tv show, people aren’t willing to wait months to know what is going to happen next for a video game that they already bought. Make your game in full and then release it. When you release in episodes you give us the opportunity to throw s#!t at your game before its even finished. Yeah, the first episode might be bad but we have no idea where it goes from there, so when you rewrite your story many inconsistences appear. Like why is Kate’s main agenda to abandon Richmond (her character is shown not be loyal ex. Abandoning David, joking about leaving the kids) and then decide it’s our duty to protect a bunch of murdering rogues. And David, whose character represents loyalty (No matter how much how much he despises Javi at times, he is still his brother ex. he offers his hand after beating Javi up, and as the soldier personality he loyal to his people and Richmond ex. He wants to confront Joan and remove her from power with the goal of doing what is right for Richmond and other communities) but by the ending he is completely willing to abandon his community. This isn’t character development this is flipping personalities on the fly.

    I going to end this rant here because if continue it will stray even further from the question, thanks for listening. However, it’s not just listening to your fans that will make things better but understanding them and changing because of it.

    Also feel to point out any mistakes I probably made while writing this.

  • Playing the music on the old record player accompanied by the cutting across of every character was also a great touch, we were able to see how the situation was affecting them

    The Fairbanks House in the Michonne Miniseries is great. It's huge, and it makes the episode seem longer. It keeps the feeling of

Sign in to comment in this discussion.