‘The Walking Dead’ Game Season 3: Could Michonne, Negan Spin-Offs Lead To More ‘Walking Dead’ Games?
Disclaimer: The following editorial contains spoilers for the game, TV show, and comic of The Walking Dead.
“Sometimes, you gotta play a role… even if the people you love hate you for it,” said Pete during The Walking Dead: Season Two.
Look, let all of us Walking Dead fans come together and just admit it: We need more video games. With Fear the Walking Dead not living up to most fan’s expectations and the regular show continuing to infuriate their fanbase with poor writing, there need to be video games that let us take our aggression out on those who succumbed to the zombie virus. We need to deal with the challenges that come when someone is bitten and when our camp is under attack by bandits and we’re faced with the decision to run or to fight.
Luckily, Season 3 of Telltale’s The Walking Dead, as announced earlier this year, will release sometime in November 2016 and give us an older, more mature Clementine as she defends what is being called “a new frontier.”
Yet, for as good as the game is at times, that may not be enough anymore to keep fans entertained. The ballad of Clementine is a fantastic one, even after the disappointment that was Season 2, but we need more to keep us interested in the premier zombie franchise. We need a game that isn’t going to make us pay for bonuses like the social games, nor do we need one that’s rushed like 2013’s The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct. We need a game that captures the charms of the comic book, TV show, and Telltale game to give us something that not only keeps gamers interested but also adds something to the lore of a franchise that has so much history.
As it stands, The Walking Dead has released two spin-offs in 2016: the Michonne miniseries game and the Here’s Negan comic, both of which provide backstory for both comic characters. With how well each were received, could we see a company — either Telltale or another — develop a new Walking Dead game? If so, what are the best topics and ideas for developers and gaming companies to cover?
Please note the following well-talked-about topics for the Telltale series will not be discussed in this article:
- How Kenny managed to survive the herd in Savannah.
- What happened with Clementine and Christa after Omid’s death at the start of Season 2, including the fate of her baby.
- Where Christa went after her and Clementine got split up.
Other than that, everything is pretty much fair game. Grab your controller, hammers, and Los Angeles Dodgers hat because we’re going walker/lurker/geek/roamer/infected/creepy-crawlies hunting.
A-Town: One of the many things that Season 5 of The Walking Dead did right was bringing our main characters back to Atlanta for the first time since Season 2, giving us one final look at the city that went from a sprawling metropolis to a shadow of its former self due to the zombie outbreak. As popular The Walking Dead YouTube reviewer TrevsChan2 pointed out, the writers even put some easter eggs in for Episode 6, “Consumed,” including Rick’s tank. Although the arc ended on a sour note as the writers randomly decided to kill Beth Greene off, fans are still talking about what once was one of America’s most well-known cities and how, thanks to napalm bombing (Operation Cobalt, as Fear the Walking Dead named it) and a zombie apocalypse, A-Town now belongs to the dead.
However, as the hospital arc showed us, the city isn’t all abandoned, and the idea that everyone either managed to find their way out of the major cities or died in the process is a foolish one. Chances are, there are groups still surviving in big-name cities — Atlanta, New York, Boston, Dallas — and maybe even re-building their own type of society there. I can’t be the only one who’d want to see a game take place in a major U.S. city two or three years into the apocalypse after all of the destruction and chaos, right? This may be a turnoff to some because we’d likely have to start with entirely original characters who have zero in common, but Fear has proven that the franchise can succeed with no connection to the original comic and show if the characters are well-written.
Come on, you know you want to walk the abandoned streets of New York or even London like you’re Rick Grimes strolling into Atlanta on that horse of his. It’s been made clear for so long to stay away from cities, and a few years into the outbreak, there has to be so much left without any form of government left — or is there?
The Rise of Carver: Despite only appearing alive in just two of The Walking Dead: Season Two’s five episodes, William Carver — portrayed perfectly by legendary actor Michael Madsen — had a lasting event on the storyline and was responsible for several deaths as the hardened leader of the Howe’s Hardware community. Although Carver is far from Negan or even the Governor in terms of popularity and reputation among the series’ fandom, that doesn’t mean the fur coat-wearing man was at all a bad character when it came to his writing and portrayal by Madsen. In fact, many fans and gamers openly voiced their displeasure with how poorly the character was seemingly handled after being set up early on as the big bad of Season 2 — and potentially as one for the future a la both the Governor and Negan.
With how well the novels surrounding Philip/Brian Blake’s turn to the Governor did both sales-wise and among fans of the comic book, a similar story revolving around William Carver’s descent into madness could have the same success with those who played through Season 2 of the game. Whether it’s starting in the early days of the apocalypse and establishing Carver’s life pre-outbreak (Was he a family man? Did the loss of someone like a wife or a child lead to his obsession with Rebecca?) or putting us right into when he first came up with the idea for Howe’s, giving Madsen more time in a role he openly proclaimed enjoying, as told to IGN’s Greg Miller in a 2014 interview.
Other potential storylines that could come with a Carver-centered story include more characterization and development of those from the 400 Days DLC (though that might be tough, as it’d mean making the appearances of characters other than Bonnie canon), a reunion with the cabin crew, and even how strong the Howe’s community was. Remember, we only got to see small bits and pieces, but just how big was it? Are we talking Alexandria-size, where there’s 50 to 60 people, or is it something bigger?
Bonnie and Mike, Virginia’s Most Dangerous Duo: This is a tough one only because we have no idea if either of these two — who were last seen driving away from an injured Clementine in the Season 2 finale — will show up in Season 3. But, with the time skip that’s most definitely going to happen between the end of Season 2 and the start of Season 3, giving gamers a chance to see where our least-favorite redhead and one-eared man went after leaving Clementine to bleed out in the snow.
Although Mike was a bit bland at times, Bonnie had some fantastic characterization from her first appearance in 400 Days to the bonfire scene in No Going Back. That said, how much would the events later on in that episode, from Luke dying to them leaving Clementine behind, affect her mentality and sobriety? Could we see Bonnie try to find some place where she could get hooked back on drugs again? What about Arvo, the Russian who Clementine should have shot at any given time and, for some reason, escaped with Mike and Bonnie?
Ideally, this could tie into a reunion with some of the characters from Howe’s and give us more of a reason to care about the community if we do one more run through the game. With how big of a development Howe’s was, it’d be silly to think that the only survivors were Clementine and friends. Again, Telltale could potentially run into the issue of fitting characters from 400 Days in there because of the various endings the DLC had, but Tavia and one of Carver’s grunts could certainly work.
Hi, I’m Negan: Although I’m sure the majority of fans would kill for a chance to use Lucille in a first- or third-person shooter, doing a game about Negan and his origins may not be the best idea because Robert Kirkman is currently doing a monthly side-series titled Here’s Negan with the same premise. However, that version is about the comic version of the character, meaning that the TV version, who is played so wonderfully by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, is up for grabs.
With how poorly Survival Instinct was received, some may be skeptical of another origin story with a main character from the show, but you’d also have to think more companies would jump at the chance for a Negan game now than they would have for a Daryl one in 2012 when Activision first began development. Granted, Daryl was certainly popular, but he had far from the popularity in 2012 that Negan has now in 2016. Again, who wouldn’t want to use Lucille to destroy walkers and bandits alike?
No Hay Borders: Alright, this could be a fun one as right now, as Fear the Walking Dead is exploring the early days of the outbreak outside of the U.S. — namely in Mexico. We know from what’s now considered a throwaway comment in Season 1 from Dr. Edwin Jenner that the French were close to coming up with a cure, but what is going on in other countries? For countries that majorly suffer from issues cartels, terrorism, and human trafficking, how much would an apocalypse and the destruction of normalcy affect those groups?
Earlier this year, Kirkman published The Alien, a short mini-comic that featured two survivors dealing with the first month of the outbreak in Barcelona, so there’s clearly some interest in what’s happening outside of the states. This may be a hard idea to actually do because of language and culture boundaries, but would you really pass up taking down zombies in Japan with a katana?
The Walking Dead: ___ Miniseries: Although the Michonne miniseries underperformed with critics, that doesn’t mean Telltale should be discouraged from doing other similar stories involving some of our favorite comic book characters. Whether it’s an origin story like the early days of the soon-to-be-fully-erased power trio of Abraham Ford, Eugene Porter, and Rosita Espinosa or a series about a still-alive comic character such as Paul “Jesus” Monroe, Telltale knows how to make a successful, emotional series that will get us to care about our characters.
The Michonne series didn’t go as well as people planned, I think, because they tried to force too much into what really was their first origin story. The comic book version of Michonne is poorly written, and unfortunately, Telltale had to pay the price for years of Kirkman writing Michonne as essentially a sex object. But with a character like Abraham or Jesus, two fan favorites who were always written so perfectly? With both set to play meaningful roles in Season 7 of the show, now may be a good time for Telltale to talk to Kirkman about a potential series on either of the two Walking Dead legends.
Who or what would you like to get their own game? Make sure to chime in on the conversation by leaving a comment below.
[Image via Telltale Games]