Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The Walking Dead Game: Season 2 Trailer

I never liked "Clementine" from The Walking Dead game. She's the central focus, and the relationship between her and Lee is what the entire first season is built around, and I think that's part of why it goes right down the toilet by the end. I just bonded so much more with the other characters, but the game assumes I care more about Clementine. Even though Duck and Ben felt like more honest portrayals of young survivors. I wanted to protect those two. They felt real to me.

So finding out that we're going to play as Clementine in season 2 does not fill me with confidence. I'm not surprised, just disappointed. Seven new, interesting characters were introduced in "400 Days", but nope. Let's just go with Elmo. Okay.

My issue with her is that she didn't feel like a real child to me. The other characters felt like people I could actually run into, but Clementine is a fantasy. She performs unrealistically well at actions and traumatic moments that adults would have a harder time with. She shows far more patience and eloquence than anyone twice her age. She can drag full-grown men three times her size and is a perfect shot with a gun after one brief lesson. She's there to give the player a goal, and not get in his way. No different or better than any princess in another castle.

I think the people who claim she's this fantastic, well-written character have either never met a child, or are just letting their paternal or maternal instincts cloud their judgment. She's not cute. She's not clever. She's not convincing. She's Pikachu. A manufactured prop to make Lee more interesting. A kind of strawman, whose godawful dialogue is only there to set up iconic-sounding trailer lines from the real star of the show.

I know that people don't talk and act in real life the way they do in the movies, and I guess games are no different. But she never acted(or reacted) in a way that a kid in her own universe would. It's as if she was written by someone who likes the idea of a child, but can't accept the reality of children. Children are loud, selfish and ignorant most of the time. It's not always their fault, they're kids. They don't know better yet. That's the point. It takes decades to grow up, even with a head-start. Telltale Games could have just as easily replaced her with a puppy.


I'm not cruel. The final scenes did reach into my blackened, withered heart. But that's because I care about Lee. I wanted to honour his choices(at least whatever choices Telltale Games didn't just negate and railroad). The final moments of TWG are moving IN SPITE of Clementine. I don't think a lot of people understand that. In fact, I don't think many people understand why the first season worked when it did, or why it ultimately failed. From the looks of the new trailer, Telltale Games sure don't.



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