On February 17th, 2011, Telltale Games announced that they had entered into a "multi-year, multi-platform, multi-title" Walking Dead partnership with Robert Kirkman, creator of the comic book franchise. Telltale revealed that the game would be a five episode adventure game following the story of new character Lee Everett, a 37-year-old convicted murderer. This character was created specifically for the game and has not appeared in another form of Walking Dead media. Friend of the site Gary Whitta is a story consultant for the game, and was the writer for episode 4.
Moral decision making is a pillar of the series, complete with branching consequences that tailor the player's story to the pressured choices they are forced to make. Characters will learn from and react to dialogue choices as well, which in turn, will also affect the story. By the fifth episode players will notice a drastic difference in each other's stories. Robert Kirkman has stated that, similar to the show, the game will focus on creating interesting interactions between believable and human characters, rather than killing large numbers of zombies.
The first episode was released digitally on April 24, 2012 on PC, Mac, PSN, and XBLA; an iOS version was released in the following month. The game's final episode was released on November 20 for PSN and November 21 for other platforms. A physical version of the entire season is set to be released for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 on December 11.
Players take control of the main character Lee Everett and guide him through his survival of the zombie apocalypse. Players have full control over the character's movement, and using the on-screen reticule, can interact with and use objects. Players will have to search through shelves, cars, and other objects to help other people you've found along the way survive.
The game focuses on interactions with other human characters through dialogue trees, often with limited time to make a choice. Characters will remember things you have said before and will often realize if your story doesn't add up. These interactions can also affect where the story progresses as well.
Combat isn't a priority in the game, and is handled similarly to the rest of the gameplay, only more urgent and time-based. You'll find yourself needing to use items you've gathered throughout the game to chop down zombies or load guns with bullet shells you've found laying around. Choices you've made previously can also affect how you fight against zombies, such as possessing different equipment or having other characters with you.
Due to the game being separated into episodes, this section will cover the main characters, who have appeared in more than one episode. For the "secondary" characters, check the episode section in which they appear.
Lee Everett is the protagonist of the game. He was born and raised in Macon, Georgia where his family owned a pharmacy drugstore.Lee is an African-American and is 37 years old. Before the apocalypse Lee was a history professor at the University of Georgia. He was also convicted for the murder of the, presumably Georgian, senator who had an affair with Lee's wife. Lee was being transferred to prison at the time the zombies started appearing, the car hits one of the zombies and crashes, Lee survives. After that he makes his way towards a nearby house, where he finds a little girl named Clementine who is alone, and from that point he takes care of her. Lee's personality is determined through player choice.
Clementine is an 8 year old girl who survived the first days of the apocalypse alone, before Lee found her. Her parents presumably died in Savannah, Georgia. She is of Asian-American ethnicity. After Lee finds her they are dropped off at the Hershel Farm, by Shawn Greene, after which they take a ride with Kenny and his family to Macon. Clementine is a very strong individual, as shown by the way she acts in many difficult and dangerous situations. It would be more appropriate to say that Clementine and Lee look after each other, rather than just Lee looking after her.
Kenny is first seen at Hershel's farm, sleeping with his family in some hay in the barn. He used to be a fisherman before the apocalypse. Kenny is a likable, hard working man who cares about his family very much, and can preform feats of great bravery when the need arises to protect them. Otherwise however, he can be described as a somewhat cowardly man, as he doesn't help Shawn Greene. Kenny is usually calm and level headed, unless his family is in danger.
Lilly is the (un)official leader of the survivors located in the Macon drugstore owned by Lee's parents. She is Larry's daughter. Before the apocalypse began she used to work at the Robins Airforce Base, not surprising seeing how her father is a military man. Although strong willed and quick to take charge, she usually caves in at the demands of her father, whom she loves very much.
She is also one of the characters from the comic book series to make an appearence. Not only was she the focus of the companion novel "The road to Woodbury", she would also eventually kill major characters in the comic series proper.
Larry is a retired military commander, and Lilly's father. He is difficult to get along with, and usually has a very sour disposition. Larry has a history of heart related problems, and soon after Lee along with Clementine and Kenny's family enter the drugstore he suffers a heart attack which requires nitroglycerin pills to treat. He seems to know about Lee's past and the fact that he's a convicted murderer, which makes him very distrustful and even hateful towards Lee.
Carley is a journalist working for WABE in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a surprisingly good shot. Carley saves Lee, Clementine, Kenny and his family as they enter Macon and are attacked by walkers. This put her at odds with Larry and Lilly who were against bringing in any new people to the drugstore. She has a romantic interest in Doug.
Due to the branching nature of the storyline in The Walking Dead, not all the specific choices have been listed; instead just a basic outline of the main story elements are described below.
Set shortly after the initial outbreak, the story starts out following Lee Everett, who has been arrested in Atlanta and is being transported out of the city in a police car. After a car crash, he escapes into a small nearby neighborhood already hit by invading zombies. He soon meets 8-year-old Clementine, a girl who has been hiding out in her tree house for a few days waiting for her parents to come home. They set off to find a safe place nearby in case her parents return from their vacation. they soon meet up with other survivors, as well as several characters from the graphic novel's original storyline such as the Greene family and Glenn. After spending some time at Herschel Greene's farm they leave and encounter another set of survivors holed up in a pharmacy, and it is revealed that the (assumed dead) owners of the pharmacy are Lee's parents. After going to a local motel to siphon gasoline, they return to the pharmacy, which is soon overrun with zombies and they flee back to the motel.
Episode 2 starts three months after the end of Episode 1. The group is still holed up at the motel, but food & water are in short supply, and the group is going hungry. They soon encounter a couple of people that are living at the nearby St. John Dairy Farm, and the group is invited to come have some food & shelter. Some members of the group are suspicious of these newcomers, but the group decides to accept their offer. Lee agrees to help out around the farm, but encounters bandits in the nearby woods and a member of the group is injured by an arrow. The farmers agree to treat the injured group member, but soon after it becomes apparent that there are ulterior motives at play. Just as they are about to sit down for the meal Lee discovers that the dairy farmers are cannibals, about to serve them the flesh of their injured friend. The farmers become violent and Lee is knocked out, the group is kidnapped then locked in a storage shed. They soon escape the room, rescue other characters from the farmers, and flee into the woods. The episode ends with the discovery of an abandoned station wagon filled with food and supplies, the owner of which is a mystery.
After the shocking events at the St. John Dairy Farm, the remaining group members return to their haven at the motel. Lee and Kenny are delegated to scavenging supplies from a nearby drug store, however upon their return, there is friction as Lilly has suspicions that someone is stealing provisions. Meanwhile, Kenny insists the group needs to move on and head for the Atlantic coast. He gets his way, although through circumstances no one is happy with. Over the course of the episode, tensions start to reach a breaking point as the group starts to crumble. A few characters perish, while another leaves. Although, a few new faces are introduced; Chuck, Christa and Omid. Lee starts to teach Clementine how to protect herself, by teaching her how to shoot a gun, and keeping herself safe by cutting her hair to a much more suitable length. Eventually the group is able to successfully start up and operate a train engine. As the group arrive arriving in Savannah, the episode then ends with Lee hearing a strange voice on Clementine's walkie talkie.
The group arrives in Savannah, finding the city vacant. A church bell rings, drawing a zombie horde towards their location. The group escapes the herd by taking up residence in an abandoned home. While Christa attends to Omid's wounds, Lee and Kenny head to the waterfront to look for a boat. Although they don't find any working boats, they do encounter some new survivors. These survivors, Molly and Vernon, warn Lee of a ruthless survivor community within Savannah known as Crawford. Upon returning to the group's temporary home, Clementine shows Lee a working boat kept in the house's garage. In order to get fuel for the boat and medicine for Omid, the group makes a stealth raid of Crawford. Disaster ensues and the group narrowly escapes Crawford with the supplies. Once safe at home, Vernon offers to take Clementine back to his group. While considering Vernon's offer, Lee falls asleep watching Clementine. Lee wakes up to find Clementine and the new survivors missing, and suffers an unfortunate injury while frantically looking for her. The chapter ends with another message from the walkie talkie.
After a conversation over the walkie-talkie with the anonymous captor of Clementine, Lee is now determined to rescue her. Not long after, his aforementioned injury means for some distressing decisions. Lee then climbs to the roof of the hospital and makes his back to where the boat was located, only to find a note from Vernon explaining he has taken it. After a while, Clementine contacts Lee, revealing she is being kept in a hotel on River Street. Upon arrival, Lee is greeted by the captor who describes his situation. His insanity is slowly revealed, causing a fight to ensue resulting in his death. Finally reunited with Clementine, Lee makes for a plan to escape Savannah with her. Sadly, Lee's injuries overcome him and can no longer carry on. Reaching a secure location with a trapped police officer-turned-walker, Lee advises Clementine to take the gun and handcuff himself to the wall. Realising Clem has the capability to take care of herself, they have a tearful farewell as Lee passes away.
Clementine, now alone, finds her way to the countryside and spots two figures in the distance. Suddenly, they stop and direct their gaze upon her.
Each episode tends to score in the mid 80s (Generally Favorable Reviews) on metacritic.com as well as GameRankings. On July 6, 2012, Telltale Senior Vice President of Marketing Steve Allison revealed the first two episodes "sold nearly 1.7 million episodes to consumers in just our first 8 weeks with no signs of slowing down".
The Walking Dead was named 2012's "Game of the Year" by Spike TV's Video Game Awards (VGAs).
Telltale plan to release the entire season on one disc for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on December 11, 2012; as well as this, a collectors' edition will be available, containing the first 48 issues of the comic. Telltale have also announced plans to develop a second season of The Walking Dead.