The Walking Dead series of games has proven to be a stellar use of a license from another medium. It has transitioned well, and part of the success goes down to having strong writers. Telltale Games’ story consultant has shed light on how to keep people hooked – which is by trolling them, essentially. Warning SPOILERS.
In an interview with Games.On.Net, Whitta commented on how you can keep people engrossed by starting bonds between the cast, and then throwing that bond into the grinder.
On the subject of the character Carley, Whitta said, “Yeah, so you had hoped that there would be some possibility for a romance, and of course the game almost trolls you a little bit by having that scene with Carley where you feel like that maybe there is going to be some potential for… that there is some sort of attraction between them.”
“Then of course, well, you know,” he added, “This is something that, as you become more familiar with the kind of storytelling that The Walking Dead is, you become worried that as you become more attached to character, that the writers are going to take them away. Because that’s what we do, we try to make you like a character, and then we pull the rug out from under you.”
Whitta was then asked if this false hope is in danger of making player’s actions irrelevant, “Some people like to play games where we give them the opportunity to make choices, we say that they can affect the story.”
“Some people think that that means that they should be all-powerful. That they should have power over everything, and they their choices should work out just the way that they intended. Of course, the reality is, especially in a game like The Walking Dead where we’re trying to be a little bit more realistic in that there isn’t necessarily going to be a happy outcome, you don’t always have control.”
“Like in real life, you don’t always know what the consequences of your choices are going to be until you make the choice and can see what happens. It’s not always what you intended or necessarily what you wanted, and The Walking Dead reflects that.”
Uh oh, so what does that mean? More death? More unhappiness? Will the survivors ever catch a break?