Spoilers warning. While I try to keep the spoilers to a minimum, there are some references to the events of season one that could be uncomfortable for those who have yet to play.
The Walking Dead's between-season DLC "400 Days" was only just announced in the days prior to E3, but Telltale Games was ready and willing to show us a portion of it in their private booth during the event. 400 Days tells is a collection of five stories, each loosely connected to each other via a truck stop/diner. Each story is unique to specific character, spread haphazardly through the first 400 days following the start of the zombie apocalypse. Overall the five stories should add up to the length of a single episode from Season One. These are the facts as we know them.
The rest, well, we'll have to speculate a bit on the rest. Will the stories of 400 Days cross over with the story of The Walking Dead season one? We saw at least one clear reference to a location in the first episode of season one, but nothing overtly effecting the story we'd already experienced. I don't believe Telltale's intention is to provide any further insight into the events of season one. Rather, they just see an opportunity to share more of the post-apocalyptic world... and maybe set the stage for season two.
So then, will 400 Days be setting up the story of season two? Many decisions will absolutely carry over into Season 2, much like each episode influenced the next in season one. A dev confirmed that characters could show up as well, but exactly how significant or impactful the events of 400 Days will be going forward is unclear. My feeling is that 400 Days is meant to set the stage for season two, but I wouldn't mind being wrong.
Clementine, Clementine, Clementine? No one asked about Clementine, at least during our demo, but it was absolutely on my mind and certainly on the mind of anyone else who had played season one. I didn't want to ask, because I didn't even want to think about the answer. It would be an unfortunate mistake to include Clementine in 400 Days, honestly. If season one had a flaw it was making Clementine the sole focus of the franchise going forward. In a series like The Walking Dead, where every character should be... expendable, it's worth spreading the spotlight around a bit.
Okay, let's jump into what was shown during the demo then. Lucky us, we got to see the entirety of one of the five stories in 400 Days, which was both amazing and torturous -- how long do I have to wait for the rest? We met Vince, whose story takes place at Day 2 of the zombie apocalypse, effectively making him the first chronological story in 400 Days. It should be noted that the stories can be played in any order, each a standalone experience, but inextricably tied together and influencing the stories further along.
I don't want to spoil any of Vince's story, so I'll leave the details out -- other outlets have provided a much more details description, but I'm uncomfortable doing so. Instead I just want to touch on what players can expect. Basically, Vince's story was exactly like the gameplay and storytelling we experienced in season one. From conversations and that have far reaching significance to sudden decisions that have very immediate and unchangeable consequences.
What's was startling to me about watching Vince's story was how stressful it was to bear the knowledge that the story would be so quickly ending. Would this be the decision that ultimately spiraled into a sudden conclusion? I expected the worst at every turn and I was still surprised and alarmed. Also new was the feeling of not liking the playable character. Lee, I know, could be played as a likable guy or a terrible maniac, but I didn't feel that range with Vince, though there was absolutely room to customize the experience. It was... nice. I'm glad that Telltale gave Vince somewhat of a character foundation as I was able to appreciate the short story much more that way.
One feeling in particular was very, very familiar going from season one to the 400 Days DLC, the feeling of impatience. The short demo (oh so short) was over before I knew it and now here I am, waiting. Always waiting. Lucky for us we don't have to wait 400 days for 400 Days. Expect the DLC to come to all of the platforms season one is currently available on in the month of August.
Oh, one last thing. Right after the demo ended we were shown a brief teaser image for season two of The Walking Dead with two characters wearing hooded jackets sitting in the shadows. One figure looked like a young woman or girl, the other a man with no immediately noticeably features. Telltale Games, you are the worst. Season two is coming later this year.
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