Ever since the release of the first season a few years ago, Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead saga, telling the sad tale of Clementine, a little girl fighting her way through a tormented, zombie-filled world, has been highly celebrated. And it's coming to an end.
You can probably imagine how surprised fans were when Telltale confirmed that the next season of The Walking Dead, due sometime next year, would be the last. But, speaking with Eurogamer, Telltale’s Job Stauffer explained there’s some reasoning behind that, and, more importantly, whether Clementine could very well bite the big one when everything is said and done.
First up, the interviewer asked about why the series was coming to a close, and why it wasn’t running longer. Here's Stauffer:
“If we let it run longer at a certain point it would run into the ground. It's not really common in the games industry for a developer to commit, to say 'you know what? I feel good about this as an end point' to put a cap on it and feel good about it. To be in a position as a developer to give finality to a story and, frankly, a character that means so much to us, and so much to fans, is not something you see a lot of these days. Not only in games but across entertainment. Clementine's story began in 2012 and she's been a part of our lives, fan's lives - we effectively feel like we have raised this little girl. We've seen her come back after go away for a little while in New Frontier, and seen her mature and become strong and instill in her the ability to be able to go off on her own again. So, to write the final chapter of her story is really appealing to us. Rather than to let it run for another 40 seasons and it lose all meaning of what is special about it to us.”
The interview then implied that the company was sort of doing the opposite of the TV show, which Stauffer disagreed with.
“No, not at all. We're big fans of the TV show and the comic books. Robert [Kirkman] has said there's an end-point for the comic as well. I can't speak to when that's going to happen, but game-wise, Clementine's story arc-wise, we want to put an end point on this. We want it to have impact and meaning, with things all the way from season one having an effect on the final season. That feels a really interesting creative challenge and one that hopefully will pay off in a creative way for fans who have wanted to get back to Clementine's story.”
The interviewer then noted that they had sympathy for Clementine and didn’t want her dead. “That’s the thing,” said Stauffer. “it's been terrifying thinking about 'how do we announce the final season without fans automatically assuming she's going to die?' That's not the case, it doesn't mean she is going to die. But it means that it will be her final story arc for Telltale.”
He also talked about the possibility of returning characters, like ones from A New Frontier. “With it being a final season and being back fully in control of Clementine's story, I think everything you've done for the previous three seasons could come back into play," Stauffer said. "There are a considerable number of characters left on the table who may or may not show up. Or it could be entirely new... We know she is desperate to find AJ, who she has been separated from, and that she is on her own now. That's all we can say.”
The final season of The Walking Dead will premiere next year for consoles, PC, and mobile devices.