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Questions for the Walking Dead team!

JakeJake Telltale Alumni
edited May 2013 in The Walking Dead
Hey guys, I know it's still early days on this project, and we're a ways off from talking about anything concrete, but it seemed like as good a time as any to start an official Q&A thread!

In all honesty there isn't a lot we can talk about yet -- we were going to do press for the game at PAX East last month, but held off when we realized that our answer to almost any conceivable standard press question would be "no comment, yet" -- but I trust you guys to rise above the standard questions, and come up with some Walking Dead stuff we can discuss, so have at it. Ask away!
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Comments

  • JakeJake Telltale Alumni
    edited April 2011
    Sample, easy question (since I already wrote up the answer): Who is making the game?
    The project is being written and designed by Sean Vanaman (best known around these parts for writing and designing Wallace & Gromit: Muzzled, and writing and co-designing Tales of Monkey Island: Lair of the Leviathan), Chuck Jordan (lead writer, and lead designer of Sam & Max the Devil's Playhouse, writer/designer of Strong Badia the Free and 8 Bit is Enough, writer of Puzzle Agent 2, and a lot of other things), and me (maybe know as director on Lair of the Leviathan and Rise of the Pirate God, and director on Sam & Max: The City that Dares Not Sleep, also Telltale's community coordinator and UI/graphic designer for many years among other things). We also have a slowly increasing group of programmers ferreted away, and our art team (led by our art director, Derek Sakai) is currently busy drawing up a storm. So, as you can see, the team size is still small, but it will be growing at a surprising rate pretty soon, here!

    Hopefully some or all of those folks will be around for me to harass into answering any questions we're allowed to answer :)
  • edited April 2011
    That's just the sort of name-dropping I can get excited about!
  • JakeJake Telltale Alumni
    edited April 2011
    That's a slice of the season-wide crew. More writers and designers and directors (and all sorts of other folks) will come on board as it gets under way, of course.
  • edited April 2011
    How much is the comic influencing the game?
  • puzzleboxpuzzlebox Telltale Alumni
    edited April 2011
    Hey, Chuck Jordan is back for this? Good stuff.

    Will you keep the same level of gore, or tone it down (or up!) for the game?
  • edited April 2011
    If it is based off of the comics, will we be replaying key parts in the story, or will the comics be on hold for this story? Will we be with a whole new group?
  • edited April 2011
    Oooh! SNAP! Now I can't wait for the game...but I do have to wait to read the comic book..so i can get caught up.
  • edited April 2011
    Icedhope wrote: »
    Oooh! SNAP! Now I can't wait for the game...but I do have to wait to read the comic book..so i can get caught up.

    Have you read it?
    I was pretty lucky finding the entire series(nice) so I can tell you it is defenently a good series.

    Also, if you could at this stage, name one game that would be similar to this one(aka Jurassic Park is similar to Heavy Rain)
  • edited April 2011
    Can you say please when we'll can see first screenshot(s) from the game? I can't wait to see what is like! :)
  • edited April 2011
    The Walking Dead comic series have a q/a column with Robert Kirkman at the end of each issue.
    Are we going to have something similar to that for every TellTale episode? Like a podcast with Rob Kirkman answering questions a la Damon and Carlton in LOST?
  • edited April 2011
    My usual question:
    Languages?

    Sorry, I'm still Italian. :P
  • edited April 2011
    Are there attempts to get the Television actors involved, or are you going to attempt a completely new cast?
  • edited April 2011
    Can you say please when we'll can see first screenshot(s) from the game? I can't wait to see what is like! :)

    If it's in such an early stage of development that the team is still this small, screenshots are likely a decent while in the future.
  • edited April 2011
    So is Chuck back at Telltale then?
  • edited April 2011
    1) How the gameplay will be different from JP?
    2) Visually what do you think it has to achieve?
    3) What does interests Chuck so much to return for this game?
    4) For this game do you think you'll have more time than the usual TT developing cycle now that TT is getting bigger?
    5) What's the biggest fear for a game designer working with zombies?
  • edited April 2011
    Let me think. It's hard to think up a good question since I know most stuff you're not at liberty to answer. Hmm...

    OK, here's one. I always found one of Telltale's biggest selling points to be the humor. You've mostly dealt with silly licenses (Sam and Max, Homestar Runner, Monkey Island) in the past. However, The Walking Dead is a very serious work, and what little humor it has is of the dark variety. Are there any particular challenges with taking on a serious franchise (this applies to Jurassic Park as well as The Walking Dead)? Do you think the people who play Telltale's products to laugh be able to enjoy this as much as your previous, lighter efforts?
  • seanvanamanseanvanaman Telltale Alumni
    edited April 2011
    Just wanted to let you all know that I'm readin' these and there will be answers IN YOUR FUTURE!
  • edited April 2011
    Just wanted to let you all know that I'm readin' these and there will be answers IN YOUR FUTURE!

    OMG!! You are so hinting that there will be a tie-in between this and BTTF aren't you.
  • edited April 2011
    Great to see Chuck Jordan back in action!

    I don't really know what to ask in here. Perhaps you guys could tell us a bit about what makes making a Walking Dead game exciting to you, and what you're hoping to achieve with your game. Can we expect a regular adventure game, or something a bit more action-oriented like Jurassic Park, or something else entirely? Also, how involved is Kirkman in all this? I watched a couple of panels about the tv series from various conventions on youtube, and he's a pretty cool guy. I fully support Milkman's suggestion that he should be on some sort of Telltale podcast.

    Also; Kirkman was going to guest star as a zombie in the tv series, but he didn't want to shave his beard so it didn't happen in the end. This raises a couple of interesting questions: Can zombies have beards? Will Kirkman be cameoing it up in the Telltale episodes? What would Dave Grossman and his awesome new beard (as seen in the april fools video) look like as a zombie?

    Anyway, I can't wait to see what a Telltale game based on such dark material will be like, and the team looks like a collection of my favorite Telltale designers so far. So yeah, back to work, slackers. Make me some entertainment.
  • edited April 2011
    are you guys gonna put a insider forum like ya'll did with jurassic park?
  • edited April 2011
    Will this game contain puzzles?
  • edited April 2011
    wish bones wrote: »
    are you guys gonna put a insider forum like ya'll did with jurassic park?

    Most likely.
    Will this game contain puzzles?


    Most likely.
  • edited April 2011
    Will be released on PlayStation 3?
  • edited April 2011
    Does the Jurassic Park delay mean that the Walking Dead too will be pushed back? Hard to see two series out simultaneously in the Fall with Law & Order somewhere in there this year as well.
  • edited April 2011
    Grunty wrote: »
    Does the Jurassic Park delay mean that the Walking Dead too will be pushed back? Hard to see two series out simultaneously in the Fall with Law & Order somewhere in there this year as well.

    I asked that same question in the Law and Order forums, and they did say that so far The Walking Dead is still slated for a 2011 release.
  • edited April 2011
    Grunty wrote: »
    Does the Jurassic Park delay mean that the Walking Dead too will be pushed back? Hard to see two series out simultaneously in the Fall with Law & Order somewhere in there this year as well.

    New Hector Episodes also will come out Fall '11. It's gonna be fun, 'cause I think I'll buy them all!
  • JakeJake Telltale Alumni
    edited April 2011
    Sean and I answered some of the thread's early questions in the test episode of the Walking Dead game podcast. Give it a listen!
  • seanvanamanseanvanaman Telltale Alumni
    edited April 2011
    And if you like that we'll do another one and get to more of these, fo' sho!
  • Blind SniperBlind Sniper Moderator
    edited April 2011
    When can we expect more episodes of the podcast?
  • seanvanamanseanvanaman Telltale Alumni
    edited May 2011
    When can we expect more episodes of the podcast?

    i'm going to try to wrangle jake this week. if anyone has any desires for questions or guests, post them! we'll try to address the rest of the unanswered q's in this thread regardless.
  • edited May 2011
    How did you get the Walking Dead project to Telltale? You guys seem so enthusiastic about the project that I'd guess you had a major part in it. Sooo, any crazy stories to share about that?
  • edited May 2011
    Will there be The Walking Dead stuff at E3???
  • edited May 2011
    To the concept art guy: besides the comics, what other movies/comics/games/clothing lines do you use as inspiration/reference?
  • edited August 2011
    Really looking forward to this. A question for the devs. I don't know if you can say anything about it yet but will the game have some sort of free roam or will we follow designated paths like Left 4 Dead?
    If paths: (As an example let's say streets in Atlanta) Will it be locked down exactly what street you take or do you have the posibility to pick another street and/or cross through buildings to backyards, etc.?
  • edited August 2011
    Razorneck wrote: »
    Really looking forward to this. A question for the devs. I don't know if you can say anything about it yet but will the game have some sort of free roam or will we follow designated paths like Left 4 Dead?
    If paths: (As an example let's say streets in Atlanta) Will it be locked down exactly what street you take or do you have the posibility to pick another street and/or cross through buildings to backyards, etc.?

    Judging by how they say decisions make a major part of the story, Im thinking maybe there could be one or 2 different paths and you have to pick one.

    Other than that, its about survival and keeping your group alive, so I dont think there will be that much traveling. Of course I have nothing to do with the game besides being a customer, so we'll see.
  • edited October 2011
    Can you guys confirm as to whether or not the game will be making an appearance on the iPad as well?
  • VainamoinenVainamoinen Moderator
    edited October 2011
    I must admit, Shodan has asked the most important question already.

    1.) What will the gameplay be like?
    We've heard of "choices" already, which play out hopefully great, and there's pretty obviously some dreaded QTE action sequences in it. But what level of exploratory freedom are you trying to achieve? I wouldn't call it "puzzles", but how much of traditional adventure gameplay are you trying to achieve? If you're not ready to answer this question yet, then WHY NOT? Are you waiting for the Jurassic Park reviews first? :D

    2.) How standalone is this game?
    There are obviously references to comic book and TV series, but do you have to read them first? What are you missing if not?

    3.) The graphics -
    Do you still call that "cell shading"? What are the things you're trying to achieve in this comic style look, and what has yet escaped you to be realized in a future TT game?
  • edited October 2011
    3.) The graphics -
    Do you still call that "cell shading"? What are the things you're trying to achieve in this comic style look, and what has yet escaped you to be realized in a future TT game?

    Well there doesn't seem to be an outline, and the shading has nothing to do with "cell shade".

    I think they just worked the hell out of their textures, to create that comic book style effect. Also, if the man's model wasn't reworked on photoshop, we can say that those smooth models are above what we got in BTTF (which was clearly a problem for me). On the preview concept it looked amazing, though I'm forced to be intrigued. I mean, there has to be something else to it, or many other game companies would have tried that style already. The shadings aren't generated (besides basics lightnings), the "feel" of it is definitely a huge texture work. Probably more work per items/location/character, but allowing an average engine to deliver incredible looks. I'm one of the guys who thought the concepts for BTTF looked great, and was severely disappointed with actual graphics. But the walking dead looks like a piece of art ! I'm really looking forward to that !
    2.) How standalone is this game?
    There are obviously references to comic book and TV series, but do you have to read them first? What are you missing if not?

    They already answered that somewhere. You're not missing anything. The characters you "play" is a newbie, he doesn't know what's happening. You follow his story. If you meet characters from the comics or tv show, they'll tell you who they are etc... Sure there will be several references that you can't "get", but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy them. Let's say, if you find a hand on a roof, you'll try to think what the hell happened, pretty cool I believe. Even if people who watched the show would have an idea of how it happened already ^^ .
    .) What will the gameplay be like?
    We've heard of "choices" already, which play out hopefully great, and there's pretty obviously some dreaded QTE action sequences in it. But what level of exploratory freedom are you trying to achieve? I wouldn't call it "puzzles", but how much of traditional adventure gameplay are you trying to achieve? If you're not ready to answer this question yet, then WHY NOT? Are you waiting for the Jurassic Park reviews first?

    Well obviously no developer is ever gonna say "oh our game will bloody suck". But from what I read, I think they're really trying to focus on the immersion before everything else. I think they're designing logical stories and situations, then try to fit them with the game's limitations. I mean, unlike BTTF, I don't think they're writing the story/puzzles and stuff, because of the gameplay they came up with. I think the gameplay adapted to the needs of the story.
  • JakeJake Telltale Alumni
    edited October 2011
    I must admit, Shodan has asked the most important question already.

    1.) What will the gameplay be like?
    We've heard of "choices" already, which play out hopefully great, and there's pretty obviously some dreaded QTE action sequences in it. But what level of exploratory freedom are you trying to achieve? I wouldn't call it "puzzles", but how much of traditional adventure gameplay are you trying to achieve? If you're not ready to answer this question yet, then WHY NOT? Are you waiting for the Jurassic Park reviews first? :D

    We want to have some things to show concretely before we talk about it much. As far as exploratory stuff, aiming for more exploratory freedom in the explorey bits than either BTTF or JP had, but the game is not all exploring and puzzle solving, either. That said, when a game asks me to explore a space, I like it when there are things in that space to actually explore -- nooks, crannies... hotspots. I think that there are times in a narrative-fueled game, when the pacing and tone are right, that its incredibly enjoyable to just tear a room apart looking for clues and information, and we're trying to deliver that throughout the WD season. Sorry that's still very nebulous sounding. I know we'll "say more" when we can confidently just show instead of tell.

    Also, what Strayth said is pretty accurate.
    2.) How standalone is this game?
    There are obviously references to comic book and TV series, but do you have to read them first? What are you missing if not?

    The universe is the same as the comic and TV show, and we are careful to make sure we add to comic book canon without crossing or negating it, but the story itself is standalone. You can play the game without (or before) reading the comics or watching the show and it will make sense as a self contained story in a universe that explains the relevant bits of itself all within the game. That said, if you've read the comics or watched the show, hopefully the game will have extra resonance or impart some new insight as to certain characters lives, or about the Walking Dead world at large, at points.
    3.) The graphics -
    Do you still call that "cell shading"? What are the things you're trying to achieve in this comic style look, and what has yet escaped you to be realized in a future TT game?

    Again, Strayth is right -- the look of the game is mostly a lot of painted texture work on top of traditional modeling. There is very little rendering trickery going on under the hood here, just a lot of attention to detail. We learned some cool tricks on Puzzle Agent for doing line work and edges in 3D which hold up surprisingly well and are incorporating that into the style, but there's no "cell shading" or "toon rendering" going on.

    Side note I was reminded of by the Puzzle Agent note above: It's been fun working on this game in part because we are pulling knowledge from weird places across Telltale to make this game. The "is it 2D or 3D" environments we were building on puzzle agent taught us a lot which we're incorporating with a new style on WD. Working on Poker Night was also a huge benefit for us, because of the way that game stitches content together -- characters telling stories while playing cards, changing up depending on who is at the table and what stage the poker tournament is in -- we had to wrap our brains around different more finely grained ways to use our dialog system, which we're bringing to bear in the Walking Dead, too. Our music and sound system is going to borrow heavily from lessons learned on (and systems created for) Jurassic Park, etc, etc. It's cool to bring a bunch of disparate knowledge together from unrelated projects and watch it work so well.
  • edited October 2011
    When do you plan on releasing the game? And what is taking you guys so long? One would think, with the time you have taken so far, that you would have completed the first four episodes by now!
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