Just a few days ago at E3 2013, I met with Telltale Games for an exclusive showing of their upcoming DLC, The Walking Dead: 400 Days. As someone who fell in love with the gritty realism, multifaceted characters, and nail-biting suspense of The Walking Dead: Season 1, I’ve been waiting for a new installment to the award-winning series for ages. Ladies and gentlemen, the wait will soon be over. Take a look at the group interview with Telltale’s senior director of marketing, Richard Iggo.
Q: What exactly is The Walking Dead: 400 Days?
A: “The Walking Dead: 400 Days is a collection of five short stories on one DLC episode. It’s five short stories that tell you the tale of the apocalypse from day one to day 400 in the eyes of five different, brand new characters.”
Q: What can you say about how 400 Days will connect with the rest of series?
A: “The Walking Dead: 400 Days provides really good connective tissue between Season 1 and Season 2, so even though it isn’t a direct continuation of that story, it is still connected to that world by the choices and decisions that you made in Season 1. The decisions will manifest themselves in 400 Days and beyond that, the choices that you make within the DLC will move forward into Season Two of The Walking Dead as well, so it’s all connected.”
Q: Where will the game take place?
A: “All of the 5 stories take place roughly within the same area. It’s a truck stop on the Georgia highway, and the theme behind this entire game is, if this place could talk, these are the stories that it would tell.
Actually, this truck stop is very close to a lot of the events that you saw in Season 1. In the beginning of Vincent’s story, which initiates right before the apocalypse, you’ll see a very obvious flashback to a location in Season 1. Some of these crossovers between the seasons, and even between the stories within 400 Days can be quite subtle, or really, really strong. Lots of fan service is included, it allows you to really dive deep if you so wish, and notice these microscopic things and big standout moments.”
Q: Will people who have the season pass get 400 Days for free?
A: “No, 400 Days is separate, it’s DLC.”
Q: About how long will each chapter be in 400 Days?
A: “It depends on the story, but once you add all the chapters up into a single unit, it’s about the same length as an episode from Season 1, 2-3 hours.”
Q: What did you learn from the success of Season 1?
A: “We learned that it’s fun to brutalize peoples’ feelings [laughs]. We just want to do more of the same and improve. We’re in the business of telling stories. It’s obvious that we’ve been successful in terms of making people care about characters and events, we want to do more of that.”
Q: Were you surprised to win game of the year at the VGA Awards?
A: “I can truthfully say that we were absolutely surprised. We went to the Spike VGA awards thinking hey we might get something but we really truthfully didn’t expect to win. So it was incredibly gratifying on numerous levels. The sales are rewarding but the biggest impact on the entire studio was seeing those examples on YouTube of people breaking down and crying while playing the game, there’s no bigger reward than that.”
Q: What differences should we expect in terms of storytelling and gameplay?
A: “I think it’s fair to say that we have a really successful formula, but there will be polishing on some things. We do take notes on what works and what doesn’t. The nice thing is, we can actually see and respond to what people are really enjoying or disliking and we can make tweaks along the development process.”
Q: Can you play the chapters in 400 Days in any order?
A: “Yes, whatever order you want. You get to piece together the events in 400 Days and see how these life stories overlap in your head until you get that Matrix/Animatrix moment in the end that brings it all together.”
If you haven’t seen the trailer, take a look below: