Dear Telltale Games: Stop telling us we actually have a choice!

edited October 2013 in The Wolf Among Us

..because we don't have a choice, no matter what we do, the start is the same, the middle is the same, the end is the same.

So why even say that arrogant statement in the first place, it's not even true.

Thank you.


  • there are several choices that matter / will matter in the future imho.

    biggest one for me is being a big asshole or mr. niceguy the whole game.

    imho there are several events that will matter in the future, prince lawrence, capturing dee or woody, cutting of grendels arm or let him be etc.

    its not all about different plot twists, its also about how YOU play the game, if you look it at that way you have plenty of choices.

  • edited October 2013

    Actually, you have a lot of choices, you can choose one of four possible answers at least once a minute.
    Telltale Games tells you "The Story is tailored by how you play" which is true. I know everybody enjoyed if there were different endings / storylines but this is impossible to make because of unpayability, the creation process for one episode would take years.

  • Hopefully this game will, unlike TWD, have choices that actually affect the course of history. Who we arrest first and if Lawrence lives should give us different information.

  • VainamoinenVainamoinen Moderator
    edited October 2013

    I'm absolutely convinced that the pure narrative "choice & consequence" game as pursued by Telltale presently is very limited and indeed insufficient as an uncomplemented game experience.

    That said, yes of course, the choices in The Wolf among Us DO matter, and it is not an 'arrogant' statement to make.

    First, let's make the distinction clear. Choice is an interactive element in the game. Consequence on the other hand, or "what matters", is passively experienced. Cranking up choice, the major interactive element, to the detriment of consequence, the non-interactive element of the narrative, was the central design idea of The Walking Dead, which was VERY well received by players.

    The Wolf among Us is different. Indeed the choices aren't as huge as they were in the Walking Dead. Where you're essentially choosing between life and death in a central choice of The Walking Dead's first episode, you are 'just' choosing between the pursuit of two different suspects in the Fables game's opener. Why not go huge like in the zombie game? Because Telltale can render more convincing consequences to the player. The satisfaction of interrogating the suspect of your choice might be much greater than the temporary satisfaction of having the buddy of your choice by your side (who promptly gets killed an episode later).

    In the Wolf Among Us, the focus IS on consequence more than in the preceding game. Of course the influence over the story is still very limited. No narrative game will EVER find a satisfying solution to player choice. One reason for this is sheer feasibility; every outcome still has to be thought of, designed/written/storyboarded, voiced, animated and programmed. The rather simple other reason is: 'plot choices' do not make particularly good stories. If you look at movies and books, narrative forms Telltale's games try to mimick, you will find that the protagonist seldom faces the same kind of 'choice' - and the bigger the choice, the more inevitable the protagonist's decision. Indeed, in the greatest works of cinema and literature, the main character mostly only faces a single central decision, and would he or she choose otherwise, there would not be an interesting story to tell.

    TL;DR - Within the inalterable limits of scope of the "episodic story game", The Wolf among Us strikes an interesting balance between choice and consequence. However, whether it feels like a satisfying game, and whether an influence over the story is actually felt, that will absolutely differ from player to player.

  • Of course the start is the same. Somewhere you have to begin to tell YOUR story. As a designer and writer you don't want to tell let's say 10 storys in one game, movie or book.

    I will repost what I've done in another thread:

    I, personaly, don't like multiple endings. And I don't think that's not what the choices should have been made for. The choices are given for us to see consequences, to "tailor" –as Telltale call it– the story around our actions, to rethink ("Oh my gosh, what have I done?" or "yeah, that is exactly what I'm/he should doing!"), to be "involved", but it doesn't mean that the whole plot and its ending is going to be altered. It's like in Mass Effect 3 where almost everyone was complaining about not only the ending per se which is legit in my opinion but also that all those dicisions back in Mass Effect 1 & 2 didn't effect the end at all. But we all had to deal already with the consequences of our actions. Consequences were there all the way throughout the trilogy. I think there should be "line" the consequences are carried to at the most. And this shouldn't be the ending of a story, because there is just one story to tell (including side plots) and adding more than that (which will be by adding very different endings) compromises the others entirely.

    From a design-point-of-view it is better to tell a complete, well fitted story with an "absolute" ending, and of course a "absolute" start. (see TWD, no matter what choices you made, the last scene with Clementine and the consequences for her will be the same)

    In RPGs it makes sense you differentiate the start by letting the player choose your character/race/class. Nevertheless you start beating the shit out of monsters and save the kingdom or rule the underworld or whatever depending on what the writer want to tell. In storys there are climaxes and elements running towards an end. Those elements don't work if the end has been alternated. For that matter you will have to change ALL those elements during the gameplay, too. But that is impossible. There are so many details, so many variables you have to take care about. You just cannot build 10 games/stories in one. And you obviously don't want to spend 15 or more years to develop such game.

    It doesn't help your story you want to tell, either. Try to write a book (or short novel) with a complete story (then you will definitely understand what I'm talking about). Then try to think of different endings, which leads you to different dialoges, side plots, details, locations, characters and so on throughout your whole story, until a very different start. Than you'll realise you could write another book instead. If you want to tell two stories, than do that, but don't try that in one story.

    Telltale do their best to alter the little things (seeing the preview with two different guys to be interrogated or letting one guy die or live depending on your decision isn't even that little) and focus on their story regardless.

  • If you want choice and consequences that alter the story you'll have to play the Witcher 2 for example, which does it really well.

    I have no problem with how Telltale handles this issue though, mainly because I want to be entertained by an interesting narrative
    and the choices I make in TWAU are just to define what kind of character my Bigby is, to create someone I can identify with while watching the plot unfold.


  • No one really wants a CYOA kind of game with dozens of endings. In fact, I can even handle a very linear game. But you have to throw us a bone here.

    Let's take TWD Episode 1, for example, the two most important choices were between suspects and Lawrence living or dying. Past experience with Telltale tells me that this is how these choices will effect the story

    1) Whoever you arrest, the dialogue is different, but the conclusions are all the same, whoever is at large does exactly what the other person would have done if they were the ones at large. Eventually either both get arrested, both get free or both get ignored, as a way to come back on your status quo.

    2) Lawrence has one or two scenes dedicated to him if you kept him alive, if he's dead, the exposition from the scenes is revealed in another similar scene with another character to substitute it. Eventually, Lawrence dies or gets ignored o come back on your status quo.

    I don't want these things to happen, but its what I predict. I'd love it so much if different suspects had different dialogue trees and conclusions, and if there was four very different scenes for Dee incarcerated/free and Woodsman incarcerated/free, plus if Lawrence actually added things that your character and you as the player wouldn't know if you left him to die.

    That's the kind of stuff that both adds to the value to the game and the value of replaying it. Its ok if the entire thing is nested and you're only gonna find about suspect X at a certain point and are only gonna be able to fight this guy at a certain point and turn into a wolf at the end of the last chapter, but at the very least make our choices meaningful enough that we can feel their impact, instead of them just all having the same impact, under different flavors.

  • am i the only one who thinks the game is fine the way it is?

  • I prevented Lawrence's death, as the game acknowledged it at the end when they show you the recap of decisions.
    Now he better still be alive in season 2, at least at the beginning. As much as I love Telltale's games (and I fucking love em) I would really be pissed off if it turns out that they made him kill himself anyway after Dee showed up and I had to run after him. I have this suspicion because when you wait too long to get out of the closet he does indeed commit suicide... except in this case the game tells you that you couldn't prevent Lawrence's death. My game had the "you prevented..." so I still hope I really saved him, but I can't help wondering.
    Even if Lawrence doesn't play a major part anymore, even if it doesn't really matter anyway that he's still alive, I'll feel good knowing that he's still alive because of my actions and I would really, really be frustrated if he had indeed committed suicide anyway just to "reconcile" all alternative possibilities.

  • Nope. I think it's pretty great as well.

  • edited October 2013

    It seems like some fans do expect a "Choose Your Own Adventure" type of story. Fine for a book series but I dont know how well it work for a video game.

  • afair you can see him in the preview for ep2, asking "where's her body", "where the rest of her" or something like that, cant remember exactly. guess he's talking about faith.

  • How different is your day if you choose to have cheerios instead of pop tarts? Not a lot. If you chose not to go to a meeting at work, would that meeting still occur? Probably. If you decided to take the scenic route home instead of the faster route, would that drastically change your life? Probably not. That's what is going on in Telltales games. Your character can make choices, but that doesn't mean that the world will become amazingly different based upon the choices you make. Not everyone in Fable Town lives their life around what time you decide to go to the bathroom. There are small affects on the world you live in, someone may live or die depending upon what you choose to do, or in which order. Those are differences, and it works just fine for me. If you don't like it, then go play a game made by some other company.

  • edited October 2013

    We're not having choices between going to the bathroom or walking to the park. We're having choices between who to capture for investigation, if we manage to save a man's life and how we react in a bar full of hostile people. Its perfectly understandable to expect bigger impact from these choices than what Telltale has either shown us so far or has the habit of showing us, if The Walking Dead is any indication.

    Plus, saying "if you don't like it, don't play it" is silly, if you ask me. You can criticize games, its not something to scoff at.

  • ooooooooh burn, got me there, pal.

  • LOL, you sure get mad easy.

  • k, I'm gonna go back to living my life now. Good luck with whatever it is you do.

  • Edited your comment to exclude the insults. And of course deleted the entire following, completely senselessly insulting exchange.
    TWaU is rated mature, please act accordingly.

  • I wouldn't say that on the FIRST episode.

    You haven't seen what your 'choices' are going to amount to. At least wait till the end of the whole thing before you say everything is the same. You might change your opinion. :)

  • Truly. A little patience is in order I think. We still have four more episodes to go.

  • Agreed with both of you, its still early to tell. I just hope this game makes choices more important than TWD. I hope that Lawrence being alive actually gives you information you wouldn't have gotten otherwise. I hope whichever character is at large matters in what crazy chase scene and interrogation scene you get.

    I'm just afraid of them just making all the same scenes, but substituting characters who say their lines depending on your choices.

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