Full disclosure: The Walking Dead: The Game, is my all-time favourite video game. A while back, Gary Whitta teased a little that we'd get something to hold us over till season two, and today I got to watch a little bit of that little something. The part I saw was Vince's chapter, which is only one of five that, according to the developer, will even out to the length of a single episode.
The chapter starts out strong, with player character Vince executing an unknown, off-screen victim. Shortly thereafter, police sirens blare and Vince quickly makes a break for it. He has a few options as to how to dispose of the weapon. Regardless of the player's choice, Vince ends up en route to prison. Whilst there, the player takes part in an extended bit of dialogue with two characters. To put it simply, one is convicted of statutory rape, but is characterised as the honest crook. The other is a bit shiftier and dishonest, but both are convicted criminals guilt of some pretty heavy stuff. This comes into play later.
You're going to draw some parallels between Vince and Lee. Both are convicted murderers, and both start out their stories on their way to prison. This time, no one is knocked unconscious for an indeterminate amount of time, and we get to see the apocalypse begin in real time. Out of nowhere, one of the prisoners starts to choke the guy in front of him. A prison guard tries to intervene with a shotgun, and what follows is a tense situation in which Vince can deal with the situation in a variety of ways. He can call for action, try to reason with them, or just remain silent.
The guard ended up shooting the prisoner, but he didn't score a perfect headshot. The prisoner reanimated soon after, and bit the guard. Luckily, the prisoner zombie was chained to the floor. After some light puzzle-solving and button mashing, the episode reaches a climax when Vince is forced to make a thought decision. Being a prisoner on his way to be imprisoned in a prison, Vince is chained to three other prisoners, and the only way to escape is to shoot off one of the prisoner's ankle bracelets. At this point, it becomes clear that all the dialogue was building up to this one choice.
Most of these stories can be considered self-contained, and it actually wouldn't be such a bad thing, but it's clear these character's stories intermingle with each other, and we can more than likely expect to see some season one characters as well, since this is said to act as a sort of bridge between seasons one and two. According to the developer, the final choice can play out a couple of different way, and he assured us that our choices will carry over from season one to 400 Days, and from there to season two. Basically, it's The Walking Dead: Season 1.5. Be sure to hang on to those saves!
Mechanically, this is more of the same, but people don't play The Walking Feels for the pointing and clicking. They play it to be put in high-tension situations and being forced to make difficult decisions on the spot. They want a well-written story wrapped in an interactive experience, and Telltale certainly delivers. The chapter I watched was shocking, brutal, funny, intense, and harrowing. Everything I've come to expect from Telltale.
The Walking Dead: 400 Days will ship as DLC for the first season of The Walking Dead: The Game at $5 for PC, PS3, XBLA, iOS and Mac this July. For those who have yet to play the first season and own a Vita, a version containing season one and the DLC will be released sometime in August.