Formerly One for the Worth of Two: Combining Characters and/or Shifting Roles
Something that I've mulled over for a while now is combining some characters that serve similar purposes but required more time devoted to scattered and unfocused character development into one character. This would reduce the feeling that some characters feel redundant next to others or otherwise have little to no purpose in to the plot, leading to a needlessly larger cast of characters who only serve one specific purpose before being killed off.
How do you feel about the very concept of composite and decomposite characters? What are the merits and flaws of each? Which do you prefer? What are examples of your points, Walking Dead or otherwise?
What characters do you think could've been combined to streamline the undergone this process story into a more focused narrative? Why?
As the first example of this, I think Glenn in A New Day probably could've been removed in favor of just using Doug.
Even though I actually kinda liked him myself, I think he was one of the characters we could've done without in favor of giving Doug some non-determinate screentime since one of his scenes were cut. From what I've been told, Glenn was apparently a pizza delivery boy who's debts made him turn to thieving from cars (thanks, @VengefulKenny!). Now, while this information reveals not only why he knows the sparkplug trick but also explains his smug, kinda sketchy vibe at times, I can't help but think Doug could've been the one who wanted to save Irene. The fact that Carley, who previously disobeyed Lilly's orders and drew attention to herself by saving Duck, seemed to not wanna bother helping her for no particular reason beyond stereotypical jealousy amongst women would've made more sense if it were Doug that did this.
I always thought Molly and Jane were very similar but I think Molly resonated more with the fans. I honestly think season 2 would have been better if they gave Molly the role Jane took.
Story wise, it could have made sense if Molly was the one who saved Kenny instead of the "I got lucky" explaination. They could have decided to travel together, meet Sarita, Mathew, Walt and find the ski lodge and reunite with Clem. In general the story would have played out the same except it would have made it more interesting because Molly was an established character like Kenny, making the final choice of choosing between the two that much more difficult. It can happen in the same way since it is known Kenny and Molly did not get along and maybe the tension would have built up during the time they have been together.
And this is exactly one of the reasons why I don't like most of the first part. Why exactly would they bother traveling together or even saving each other if they don't get along? Plus, it'd just give Molly way too much incentive to be picked.
Luke and Carver have a history of conflict but are lackluster characters. Kenny and Jane are great characters but give little evidence of disliking each until NGB. If Luke were less heroic/vanilla and Carver more sympathetic season 2 would not have had Kenny or Jane or 90% of the problems it does.
Season2!Kenny and Carlos was likely meant to be a single character during the initial planning stages much like how Carver started out as an evil Kenny. This would've made the seeming foreshadowing and the episode title "A House Divided" make perfect sense.
I go back and forth on whether the same should be done with Sarah and Sarita, who was almost certainly a quick decomposite character.
Recent example, I know, but two characters that could've just been one are Tripp and Conrad.
Tripp just baffles me in how pointless his character feels with each proceeding entry of ANF--why is this guy here? He doesn't really add anything to the story or even worse the series that we haven't seen already, his design is pretty eh imo with a somewhat dull color scheme, and he's somewhat notable for having less of a solid character in an installment some describe as having a really underdeveloped cast. I think part of this is the fact that, aside from being the [Urfrfrfr] of Prescott(a doomed town we spend relatively little time in) and being one half of a Beta Couple(which is a shitty parallel on arrival, honestly), he's pretty weak for what the story seems to consider Javier's best friend.
Meanwhile, I have repeatedly called Conrad "a better Kenny than Tripp," not because he had a vaguely similar motivation/arc going on(which I honestly don't care one way or the other as long as it isn't the same exact character yet again), but because he actually meant something when placed next to Javier from a storytelling standpoint.When you get down to it, the main purpose of Mariana and Francine's existence seems to be nice females who get murdered by the villains(or the same exact villain, in this case) to kickstart their drive to face the New Frontier. The thing is, while they technically have the same basic goal(kill Badger and make the New Frontier answer for those they've hurt), Conrad took it a lot harder, becoming somewhat reckless and aggressive in his anger at losing everything he cared about within an hour, all because a former athlete he liked showed up after tangling with Badger's platoon. This arguably made him the darkest member on the group, even being willing to use ex-NF member Clementine as a bargaining chip if it means getting what they want.
Another issue that bugs me about these two is that, driving Tripp's problems home, I recall a few moments where it seriously felt like the writers mixed up the two, with Tripp being the angry dick and Conrad being the chiller, more sane one. For a great example, one moment in Above the Law has Ava give Tripp the one-hitta-quitta for not backing off due to his issues with the New Frontier and Eleanor's continued presence among them; now, this is fine and all, but why wasn't this Conrad if you agreed to his deal?
Don't get me wrong, I appreciated the self-reflection and "redemption" his character had (especially after dealing with Season 2.5 and it's "morality"), but at the same time, I thought Conmad was pretty interesting as an anti-hero alongside Clementine and wanted to see a little more of that going into the episode.
While I appreciate his admittance of being at fault there, I think it would've been better if we actually got to see some of that cool down in person.
They really don't even handwave it away by having him or Clementine mention that they talked things through in quarantine and came an understanding--he's just suddenly cool now, with Tripp being the aggressive one, and probably the only "interaction" Clementine has with him in the episode is telling Tripp to deal with it if you give Conrad the gun.
I think it would've been a stronger moment if Conrad was being a dick again, got some karma in the form of Ava cumbstomping him, he and Javier bicker for a bit, and then, when seeing the gun is up for grabs, he hesitates for a bit before giving us what we got.
I honestly feel that, if it wasn't for certain little things about Conrad and certain scenes with Tripp, you could just give his screentime to Conrad, Kate, and Eleanor and his "backstory" to Eli to remove him from the main plot and get a better(read:more streamlined) narrative for it.
Let's see. I would say Tripp/Eleanor.
Tripp had a lot of screentime in Episode 2 and that's why I think It's better to go with Eleanor to the junkyard in Episode 1. I would somehow reverse the "Who Stays In Richmond" thing. Tripp would be the Mechanic/Inventor of the group that creates the weapons. The New Frontier (especially David's squad) will need new weapons and David vouches for him. Tripp wouldn't want to stay because he will be worried about Eleanor (but will stay anyway lol).
While Javier and Eleanor walk in the woods together with Jesus(Conrad and Clementine, determinately) Eleanor can ask Javier what he did before the outbreak and also tell us more about herself (how she was a doctor/nurse, how she lost her family, how she met Tripp and Conrad, etc.). She can also mention that she and Tripp were romantically involved (if you don't go with her to the junkyard). After Clementine tells the group about what happened to AJ, I can see Eleanor being the one to hug her. Then the garage situation happens.
After Javier beats up Badger Eleanor goes to see what's going on (since she will see Javi hanging from the window) and will probably act as a moral compass - will tell him to leave Badger and that it's over.
The betrayal thing, well, I don't see Tripp betraying us, he is very loyal. Also, I don't want Eleanor determinant. So the situation will be: Joan suspects that there is a plan against her and orders her people to capture Eleanor since she is the most naive one and will threaten her with killing Javier, Tripp, Kate and the others if she doesn't tell her everything about the plan.
That's all I can come up with for now ^^'. I would like you to tell me how you would expand Eleanor's screentime, too, @DabigRG
I'm sure it is more probable than "I got lucky". You could ask the same about why Kenny stayed with Lilly for so long if they didn't get along. He got the RV working and he could have just taken his family and left with Lee/Clem if they were on good terms. In a dialogue option during Long Road Ahead he mentions that he doesn't get along with Lilly but that doesn't mean he wouldn't trust her. The same could have been said about Molly. Maybe Molly saved Kenny because she still thought he was with Lee and she stuck around to try and find Lee again. Kenny also said if it wasn't for meeting Sarita, he would have been out of it. So whose to say Sarita wouldn't have been a good mediator between the two. Then after Sarita dies the conflict starts.
Remember that the Pharmacy/Motel Group was under Lilly's leadership to begin with: Kenny just clashed with her a lot due to their differing mindsets, but just left things up to her anyway when he wasn't taking things into his own hands. Meanwhile, Lilly's priority was maintaining the group's safety and stronghold through strict rules, organization, and a consistent base, often clashing with Kenny because he challenged that, though she occasionally eased up on certain things for the sake of everyone's survival. There was something of a stability and mutual benefit from sticking in the same group together
Meanwhile, Molly became a loner after her sister was taken away and preferred to keep it that way even when she teamed up with the Train and Cancer Groups when they infiltrated Crawford. I get that she'd probably have a respect for Lee after all that(assuming he didn't shoot her), but I doubt she'd stick around with the guy she never got along with after learning what's happened. And again, the fact that she saved Kenny's life would give her too much of a lead for a number of people.
Well, as proof that she is definitely the more interesting and useful of the two ironically enough, Eleanor's role as the closest thing they have to a doctor/nurse meant that most of the handwaves for her lesser amount of screentime were very justified. Medic's are hard to come by, after all, and very valuable, so it makes sense for her to be put in charge of watching over Kate and being let out of quarantine by Ava through Dr. Lingard's vouching.
So the only place where I see allowing her to have more screentime would work is the bridge segment. She already operated on Kate and was watching over her the whole night when Javier wasn't doing so and she wasn't driving the car. Tripp already got a bunch of scenes in Prescott, which are some of his better scenes because he had a purpose there, and so I think his decision to personally escort the recovering Kate to Richmond would give him something important to do while also getting him out of the way to give Eleanor more non-determinate screentime. One of the issues with Tripp's character that shows as early as that point is that he doesn't really contribute much of anything to the group roster or dynamic that another character couldn't have and it also felt like he had no real purpose or direction now that Prescott was gone, leading to a few instances of him acting in ways that were illogical and even out of character from how he was established; I feel like that wouldn't be as much of an issue with Eleanor, given that she offered to sneak a/two effective criminal(s) out over night against orders to save one of their families. I would even make more sense if she persuaded him to escort Kate while she stays with others with the logic that he'd be able to protect Kate better than she could if they ran into trouble and she'd have 5 able-bodied people protecting her from any danger that comes their way. This would allow some time for players who went with Tripp to get to know her a little more than in the setup we got and perhaps explore why her fling with Tripp stayed a one time thing and explore whether she can get along with Clementine, thereby making the later scenes of Tripp talking to Javier on the way to the factory and Clementine's reaction(or lackthereof)to Eleanor seemingly siding with Joan more weight.
I know we still have a finale to see through, but I'm gonna post this now to express my displeasure with a different character's usage at one point.
Also, for those select few who will no doubt read this and do a double-take at who posted this, I know what you're thinking: Is this a cheap gimmick to get some discussion going in this thread or is this a serious suggestion to improve the game's story on the poster's part? I don't really think it matters anyway, but still--You decide!
While this thread is mainly dedicated to combining characters to better serve the plot, an example of a decomposite character we could've had in ANF is Mariana, who'd be filling the roles of ...Mariana and post-Part 1 Kate.
Mariana is a character that constantly see people wishing she had lived to be a part of the story past getting abandoned/buried andcomplain about not getting to see more out of her existence, a criticism that has become a bit weird past Badger's death, admittedly. While I'm still happy Gabe is the one getting the focus/development and relevance in the story, I don't think she really needed to die to trigger that considering how irrelevant she is in general. But alas, if we absolutely had to lose someone to Hate Sink Badger in order to get the plot really rolling, Mariana was perfect for that role.
With that said, how would everyone have felt if Mariana had been the one being escorted in the back of Eleanor's car rather than Kate, who'd help watchover her instead? Again, if you really need someone to get shot, it can still be the sweet little girl but instead of producing dip for the chips or even getting an impromptu tonsilectomy , she have be the injured one that Kate, Gabe, Eleanor/Tripp, and determinately Javier himself have to rush back to Prescott, perform the operation on, and smuggle into Richmond to eventually be treated by Dr. Lingard.
At the very least, each of the character's reasonings and motivations would be more unified and understandable, doing whatever it takes to help a little girl instead of only blindly seeking vengeance for a wave of death. Not to mention Kate would get to show what she's made of, using her informed leadership and strategy skills to help direct the group in the most practical method to achieving their goals, justifying her placement on the front cover. But most importantly, it would have made some of the choices more interesting and difficult, as you be doing things like either staying behind with Clementine or flee the scene with your family as you try and save Mari's life, as well as agreeing to use Clementine as a bargaining chip or shooting away a chance to get medicine for your injured niece.
Mariana's continued existence in the team would also help balance out the roster a little more in terms of it's dynamics, gender ratio, temperaments, and character alignment. Personally, I never really saw her as being an active combatant and major player in the story that A New Frontier has been going for before and after release and, to be perfectly honest here, I didn't really want that out of her either. The most I saw out of her potential-wise is acting as a Supporting Character for the rest of the Garcia's, acting as their Morality Pet and being a direct foil to Gabe specifically for a little Sibling Yin-Yang. Given that what little characterization she had struck me as being someone who is even-tempered and sensible, but also frivolous and somewhat apathetic, I can see her doing things like putting on a happy face to try and keep everyone from worrying too much about her, being a bit(rather than a lot) concerned if she hears that you effectively sold out Clementine to get her medical attention, and, at the risk of turning this into Battle of the Sexes, siding more with Kate and Eleanor's points regarding David and the New Frontier.
The bridge segment, how could I not think of this??
I know that my idea for Tripp being Inventor sucks... so... yeah...
I wish we had a character like that, you know. Like Rocket from The Guardians of The Galaxy.
You're right, if Tripp was the one escorting Kate it would have been better. Eleanor has been pushed away and I never liked that. As much as I like Tripp, I have to agree that Eleanor is more interesting and deserves more love. I like her better than Tripp, in fact.
You know, she looks like the type who gets along with everybody. Clementine was like "I don't trust her. No reason lol". I was like "Screw that, I am leaving with Eleanor."
Did you know that in deleted audio Tripp seemed to know Badger and who The New Frontier are? This would have made him more interesting in my opinion. Having a past with The New Frontier would be a good part of his backstory.
In the deleted audio he immediately recognises Badger while he doesn't in the final game. He just remembers him from the junkyard(determinately) and describes The New Frontier as "the freaks that brand themselves"
The New Frontier were after Clementine, she was the reason the hostage scene happens. Makes sense since she is a known troublemaker.
Bonus: Eleanor was going to drive Tripp's van if you left with her. She says "Sun's up. Tripp probably noticed the van is gone by now." Probably it would have mattered and we were going to arrive earlier in the junkyard, but still run into The New Frontier...
I only read so far bc spoilers ugh....but I don't understand the big to do over Mariana's death. It's sad sure but it was a bold move on Telltale's part that actually worked. It was well timed and made me go "woah these guys mean business" it didn't feel hasty or sloppy and unlike Carlos getting shot actually had an impact bc hey if ur in a herd and the settlement guards are gunning down walkers someone is bound to get shot, right?
Yeah, sorry, i just didn't think I should say anything. I mean it'd be neat if that's what they went with but it's really kinda random, not to mention possible redundant from the New Frontier's standpoint.
You think of Rocket Raccoon, I think of Rotor the Walrus--Wtf?
Samedy-Same! The female cast beside Clementine and Ava have gotten the lesser deals this installment.
Yeah, the fact that she says that after Eleanor got along far better with Javier than she did and expressed concern about how Clementine just shot someone makes it even more conspicuous. Had enough of that shit in Season 2.
Huh. No, I did not. That is interesting. What is up with this game and scrapping/ignoring things that would've made it more so?
Makes sense, but I'm glad they went with horses instead. Just wish there was some other difference and they indicated that Francine helped them with that part.
I feel even more uncomfortable now...
XD I don't even know who Rotor The Walrus is! I had to look him up just now.
I know right! They always scrap the good stuff! Dammit. They probably scrapped A LOT of cool ideas...
A New Frontier deleted audio
There you go Tell me what you think.
Yeah, Francine was cool. But Telltale wanted her dead... Poor Conrad.
Following up on my previous post here, I'm gonna copy and paste this back&fow between me and @Louche because it is 1 in da mornin and I'm a lazy fuck talking bout lazy stuff:
Well done with the Conrad bit.
as I recall some telltale staff member seemed to think Conrad pointing his gun at Gabe was revenge for Gabe doing the same thing before while he was still mourning Francine's death.
Yeah, I figured as much.
Yeah, sorry bout that.
Yeah, that's Sonic cartoon and comic material right there. He was actually generally the least notable member of the Freedom Fighters, too.
Oh yeah, I did hear that. Interesting stuff there, particularly for the extended Wellington Flashback. Poor Max.
I wonder if the only stuff Graysonn mentioned in the Details thread was recorded as well.
Yeah. At least he's come to peace with it and has a book to remember her by.
I hope so! Actually he made another video yesterday with scrapped content. The video with the unused lines belongs to him, too.
Here you go~
I thought I saw this on my Youtube phome page-thanks for confirming it!
Let's see, I knew about the Hoodie Models, Kate originally being named Grace, Max being the subject of a mercy choice, Francine betraying Javier, Tripp hanging criminals, the mark being meant for David's soldiers only, Badger's lines in the flashback, Kenny teaching Clementine how to ride a motorcycle, and the unused determinant choices for From the Gallows.
That Slaughterhouse section is even more interesting than I thought.
Waitaminute, Kate/Grace is Huh-Chick?!
Looks like I was right about Lonnie apparently being dead, Max dying in the slaughterhouse, afterall.
Oh look, Clementine pistolwhips her ally while he's not lookin--how "badass."
So, Rufus and Badger were originally the same character. That makes a lot of sense given that Badger.
Those cut textures are kind of odd, particularly the jacket.
Hearing Ava and Clint laughing is...kinda bitter. O-0 They almost sound like different actors.
So, we were supposed to go to David's House!
Hmm...those guards' conversation sounds suspiciously meta....
Gabe's apology is in the game.
So much effort for a period scene--clearly, they know what to focus on. Also, Claire Cleary?
Wow, they really put a fair bit of effort into the A New Day flashback.
Aw, what a cocktease at the end!
I didn't know about that the mark was supposed to be for the soldiers. That's definitely interesting.
Javier and Clementine meeting for the first time in the Slaughterhouse and teaming up to escape was an amazing idea. It would have been fun.
Glad they changed Kate's design and gave her an unique one.
Yeah! We talked about Lonnie You described it as a "plot hole". This would have been a better reason to be on The New Frontier's bad side. Poor Max
How unlikeable can Clementine possibly become? Pistol-whiping for no reason totally makes you likeable and badass!
It would have made more sense. Rather than "Oh, I shot a little girl who was just minding her own business because I wanted a good laugh!"
What's up with Javier having bullet wounds on one of the textures? O_O
Ava's laugh creeped me out, too! BTW, Jayroen made a topless Ava picture, did you see it?
Tripp's line "You're lucky I didn't hang you!" was in the game too!
When person gives you Lee feels without your permission
I wanted to see Gabe without the beanie... XD
Yeah, even if it isn't particularly eyecatching, it's still her look.
Yeah, then he, Javier, and Conrad would all have something in common. Then again, I'm guessing the choice to shot Rufus would also kinda mess with things too.
Is it? I might have to look out for it when I replay the game.
Yeah, seriously, what the missed opportunity!
So, you didn't see a notification? I told you about it. Oh well. Weird.
Anyway, he says it only if you were locked up with Clementine. After Eleanor cleans the wound above Javier's eye Tripp comes and says that he will drive us to the junkyard himself. You have the options: "Fair enough."; "I need to leave. NOW."; "We don't want your help". If you choose to stay silent he will say that line.
Probably there is EVEN MORE scrapped content. Since in the video Graysonn said that Ep 4 AND 5 were rewritten entirely.
Seriously wtf Telltale, what's with these rewrittings? GG. Scraping the interesting stuff.
You had waaay too much fun with that Ava picture!
Damn. What an asshole.
Yeah, I figured that when Joan asked Javier if he was gonna be a problem. A hole lotta backtracking and copouts happening with this Installment.
But for real, tho, I'd think she'd be bigger.
Gavin Hammon actually said during a panel at some con that Kenny was originally gonna be the Carver-esque character, but they scrapped it.
That's what I meant when I said "Carver" started out as an evil Kenny.
I know right. Funny how they kept that line even though they scrapped the "Tripp being a strict leader and hanging criminals" thing.
True dat. Though Ava will always have a place in my hear.
Also, I love that threads like this has essentially become a place for us to chat about.
I miss her, too.
Mariana and Kate/Gabe
It is often said that Mariana's death was pretty unnecessary. But, you know, when it's all said and done, the same can be said for her existence. I was under the impression that her death and the vacancy it left in the Garcia family dynamics would at least be a minor but important driving force in each of the member's motivations and character development; instead, she's more or less substituted with Clementine for a bit and generally only brought up in passing when other girls are involved or David's legacy is in question.
So honestly speaking, I think the story could've benefited from cutting her altogether and splitting aspects of her characterization among Kate and Gabe, with the newly gained screentime being used to further flesh them out and give them opportunities to shine early on. That way, when Kate get's shot and injured, that allows more time for Javier and Clementine to determinately "bond" after fighting off Badger's crew and for the Gabe-Kate Resentment subplot to actually go somewhere instead of just disappearing.
Well, I do wish her death played a big part in Javi, Kate and Gabe's development. Especially Gabe. I wouldn't go as far to say she shouldn't have existed though. Especially when she's my favourite! Stop hurting my feelings and hating on mah girl, would ya?!
I think they should have given her more time before taking her out. Considering that Ms. Alyssa told me that she had different deaths due to rewritings and wasn't planned to survive the entire thing, her death should have been in Episode 2 or 3 (I don't know), so we can have some bonding time with her, to see her interactions with Gabe, Kate, Javier (the player and probably David(I am curious how she felt about her dad), maybe Clementine, too.
I woudn't kill her off that quick. The episodes should have been longer in order for the Garcias to shine early on and leave a good impression on the player, to show that they are capable people.
Thanks for writing about Mariana! I appreciate it!
I suppose you would. But you're welcome regardless.
That's fine. And it's cause she's an easy character-type this side of Hispanic!Clementine, who people wanted to see more of and potentially fulfill their "Clementine's Little Sister" fantasy.
The part about Carlos there is a bit confusing, though.
I like how this thread o'mine has more on-topic talk about Mariana than anything else right now.
Eh, I suppose same. Especially given she's likely the closest/healthiest relationship Gabe's ever had.
I know, it's probably just the fact of the matter brought on by this being the installment getting to me. And for what it's worth, I don't hate the diabetic riskfactor; I just didn't particularly care for her, especially given everything around her inclusion.
That would primarily necessitate longer episodes, though.
That would primarily require longer episodes. But I agree.
Hey! Did you just edit what I said?
Saying stuff like that about Ava wouldn't be nice now, would it?
I did say longer episodes were needed, didn't I?
You know, I wanted both Gabe and Mariana to develop. Cause I love both of them.
It's an unpopular opinion but I think Gabe is very relatable. Come on! Most of the teenagers are moody his age! He himself said that he wants to be better and didn't want to be in a bad mood. He is just a kid trying to figure himself out. People are giving him hard time because of ugh Clementine. But when she is whiny and edgy everyone gets past it because it's Clementine.
I found a video about Gabe. It does him justice.
Eh, I wouldn't really care about Clementine's little sister thing. I don't particularly like or care about Clementine in this season.
Mariana is way cooler imo.
What would make you like Mari more though? If she was involved in a different way/the interactions with her were different? Or...?
Tripp = Kenny