Ian Howe and Kent Muddle AMA - Answers!
Ian: Hey everyone and thanks for all of questions and comments about the game. I’m going to try my best to answer everything. I’m a long time Redditor, huge fan of games, music, movies and pretty much everything weird and wonderful, so feel free to ask me about anything you like. Related to the game, we’ll do our best, but please understand we’re in the middle of a very complicated situation that involves lots of people, companies and contracts and it simply takes time to figure everything out. We want to make sure it’s all done as well as possible and so I hope your patience will be rewarded!!
Kent: Hey guys, intro post from me too. I'm very happy to be involved in this. For best results I am very happy to answer questions about story details revealed up through episode 2 of the final season. Anything past that I can only vaguely hint at. I'll leave business and logistical questions to Ian.
As the post above says, I was at Telltale for about 8 years, and was a director on Game of Thrones, Wolf, Batman 1 and 2, and Walking Dead the final season.
Thanks for coming by for the AMA!
VercingetorixF2: What exactly should we expect for a ‘slight delay’ for Episodes 3 & 4 for TFS?
Ian: So I would guess this is everyone's number one question - I can't give you a definitive answer at the moment. What I can say is that the team is not currently working on the game and until we're back into production, it's going to be nearly impossible to give an accurate answer.
What I can say is that we will announce new dates as soon as we know what they are, there is no reason for us to hold that information back, so it will be public immediately that we can talk about it with confidence.
TundraPike: Extra content/DLC- Since many players have already purchased the season ticket, I am worried about how to sustain the costs of finishing the game. While many players do wait for the whole game to be released before purchasing, a lot of the fans most invested in the story already have purchased. Do you foresee any possible DLC to be purchased after the game? (...)
Ian: It's not something that we've spent any time discussing and it's not currently planned, but that doesn't mean it won't happen. Our first priority it to complete the story, once we feel that we're in good shape to do that, we'll look at all the other possibilities and we love hearing the ideas and suggestions.
TundraPike: Future Games- After the end of the final season, is there any possibility of other video games within the “telltale/comic” universe? Or any similar style of story driven game within the walking dead universe?
Ian: Simple answer is yes, there are nothing in active development yet, but we're always talking about how we can tell interesting stories in games. I'm really spending a lot of time at the moment looking at new technologies and how that can allow us to deliver strong narrative based games.
TundraPike: Clementine- Seeing how popular she is as a character, I’m sure there is lots of potential to use her/Melissa in other content, regardless of her fate. Do you guys own her rights or is Clementine content finished after the Final Season ends?
Ian: I can't speak to contractual points, but it's clear that Clem is such a beloved character, but it can be very dangerous for commercial influences to impact on story and character development too much, just because we could do more games, doesn't mean that we should
TundraPike: Just to get to know you better, what were your decisions at the end of season 1, season 2 and season 3?
Ian: Great question....and I'm not going to lie - I'm not there yet, I wasn't expecting to be working on this game, and it's been on my "to play" list for some time, so I'm actually really looking forward to catching up with you guys and going on the journey.
scaredsprout: How did you guys make the decision to do only four episodes this season instead of five? Did it just happen naturally due to the story, or was it because of budget constraints?
Ian: I can't answer the episodes decison question because I wasn't involved in the project at that stage, Kent may be able to chime in here though?
scaredsprout: Does Skybound have any tentative plans or goals to continue interactive storytelling games? Are you guys at all interested in purchasing the rights to other games, like The Wolf Among Us S2?
Ian: And to answer you last question, yes, absolutely you can expect to see more of this type of game from us in the future.
Regarding TWAU2? I think it's unlikely as there are rights associated with the game, which adds more layers of complexity.
Kenny'sGloriousStache: I was wondering... AJ seems to have a problem with people coming up from behind him... Does he have a condition? Like autism as some have suggested or is he just super on edge due to the whole, you know, Zombie Apocalypse that has been going on for 8 or so years? ?
Kent: AJ doesn't have a specific condition, but as you suggest, is super on edge due to his unique upbringing. He believes that being alert and ready for action at any moment is important to surviving in this world.
mrblackop714: Can you name some of the devs you are hiring? If so, please name some or allow them to announce it themselves on their social media.
Ian: 'd love to post a list to give you guys some comfort that we're working with the previous team, but please understand that these are people's careers and it wouldn't be fair to go public with some of this stuff.
At this stage, we're still in discussions with various members of the team and I met over 40 of them last week to discuss our plans moving forwards. They know what we're trying to do and as soon as the lawyers have done their thing, we'll be able to speak more openly.
One thing you should know is that we'd like to celebrate the team and their work over the coming months, so expect to see some cool stuff that looks back on the creation of the series
mrblackop714: When will the team's first day be?
Ian: The best answer I can give is - As soon as possible.
We're all desperate to get back into production and I wish it was less complicated, but we want to make sure people are taken care of and that we do thing right.
ItzLarryTheLeopard: Can you please try to include most, if not all the ideas for the final two episodes and possibly even try to squeeze in some extras? (like the flashback for Sandra)
Kent: We're currently intending to make the game as it was planned to be made before telltale shut down. We had a very strong plan and I believe in staying as close to is as possible. I won't spoil what (if any) flashbacks may occur
ItzLarryTheLeopard: Is Gary Whitta still onboard? Can you hint if he has anything to do with the other rumoured returning character?
Kent: Gary was involved in very early creative work at the start of the TFS, but has not been involved since actual production of the episodes started.
ItzLarryTheLeopard: To Kent, how exciting does it feel to you & the rest of the team to be able to finish Clem's story? Was there ever a moment you doubted it would be possible?
Kent: I am beyond pumped to get a chance to finish the season. I could not have hoped we'd be so lucky to have Ian and the rest of Skybound come in and give us this opportunity, for which I am extremely grateful.
ElfMan: Will there be a physical copy of the whole series released for the Nintendo Switch after the finale or will Switch owners need to download the series on a season by season basis?
Ian: Good question Elfman13 - I'd like to do that, but I honestly don't know how possible that will be? All I can is that if we can find a way to make it happen, then sure.
mrblackop714: Do you guys plan on selling any merch or anything to help fund this game? I personally would be more than happy to buy something or even donate if it means the old devs are being taken care of and are given the time and resources to finish the game as intended
Ian: Thank you....we all appreciate your comments.
We haven't considered that road, maybe we should do a kick starter
I can say that I personally would love to do some cool merchandise for the series and we're definitely going to be looking at option.....we already have a LOT of ideas
stnkyl: will we get to know why and how each student ended up at a school for troubled youth?
Kent: Very minor spoiler, episode 3 is actually planned to have a scene about why a number of the characters ended up at the school. I think you'll find it interesting
BeardedxMiget: I think I speak for all of us when I say we need a Lee flashback/vision. Lee returning like Mufasa from Lion King would be cool too.
Kent: I support, but will not create, Lee appearing in the clouds to give Clementine life advice. Some fan art of this, please. (keep that hair short.... says the giant man face cloud....)
zeflipsplash: So, with the future of TWD looking bright enough, is there any chance for other Telltale titles, such as TWAU S2 and GOT S2, to be saved by Skybound Games too ? I understand it sounds legally difficult, but if the last episodes of TFS go well, why stop there ? The release of these games would make the loss of Telltale a bit more bearable.
Ian: Our 100% priority is TWD and I'm honestly not looking past that at the moment. I think it's unlikely to happen but never say never.
DrKuro: Is the game going to keep the same gameplay system and graphics? Is Telltale Tool an available tool to you or do you have to restart everything with a new engine and graphics?
Ian: Yes, we'll be working with the same tech and tools as previously
DrKuro: How much of Episode 3 and 4 is already done and how much of the original team is back working on the project? Have you been having a hard time trying to get back some of the original crew?
Ian: Episode 3 was close to complete, but there is still work to do. Episode 4 was in pre-production, so lots still to do on that. Nobody is currently working on the game due to the ongoing legal discussions. Telltale have been incredibly helpful in trying to make this happen quickly and the staff that we've spoken to have been extremely enthusiastic about coming back to complete the game. The only areas where we aren't able to get people back is where they've been offered other roles, which is totally understandable.
IronWoodLover: Is Jared Emerson-Johnson coming back to finish episodes 3 and 4's OST? He's been composing the tracks for the game ever since Season 1, the very beginning. It would be a shame not to have him compose the tracks for the series finale.
Kent: I'm definitely planning to ask Jared, as soon as production actually begins again. I've worked with him for years on various titles, and he's no question my top pick for the music. We had already made some of the 403 tracks before telltale shut down.
IronWoodLover: What will happen to the official Telltale forums? Can we at least expect them to be up until the series end? If not, is there any way the community could crowdfund their upkeep?
Kent: I'm not sure legally where the Telltale forums reside, or what their fate will be.
Killershot107: Hey u/KMudle, are there going to be multiple ending for Episode 4? (I don't know if you have already answered this)
Kent: No way I'd spoil that before it happens. I can confirm your choices will have important effects on how the game ends, though.
SongBirdsWrath: when did the team decide that Lilly should return in The Final Season, was it early in development or did you have a few different candidates for a returning character before deciding upon her?
Kent: I'm not sure about waaaay back but Lilly was the top candidate for returning character for most of development. Out of those to pick from, she had the most potential to make the story more complex and interesting with her return. She went through several different iterations and roles before we settled on her current part in the drama of TFS.
Fury2014 Do you think that you will be able to finish at least EP3 this year?
Ian: OK, given that you guys have been so supportive and patient, I'm going out on a limb and will say yes, I fully expect Episode 3 to be this year and I'll be very disappointed if we can't make that happen.
and what happens after I type a response like this, is that the PR people run into my office and try and take away my computer so I don't say anything else
CuratorInTheMaking: I just think that the setting of S4 is interesting. It takes place at not just any school, but a former boarding school for troubled youth? What is so significant about this setting and why was it chosen for the story?
Kent: There's a lot of reasons why we liked the school as the setting for the season.
* Clem getting to be among her peers, giving her an equal footing in a group for once
* Child cast provides many fresh character types for the long running series
* Isolated setting giving Clem a unique "in" after having been a hardcore traveling survivor for so long
* Child society not being hung up by the infighting and power struggles that define adult groups, resulting in a more likable main cast than most seasons
* School setting is visually different from what we'd done before
* and mooore!
CuratorInTheMaking: Louis is my new favorite character in the game. He’s funny and extremely talented with the piano, but can’t understand why he would have been brought to a school for troubled youth. Can you tell me a little about Louis’s life before the apocalypse? If not, will we learn more about it in future episodes?
Kent: Louis's past is planned to be revealed in 403 (depending on your choices!) I agree that he's a great and likable character.
4k60fpsHDR: Hey there u/Kmudle! Love your work!
You guys remember Luke... right?
I'm not saying he deserves a reference in TFS, but I totally am saying that.
Kent: I totally remember Luke! It was his birthday....
Mathias512: While the walking dead series has featured multiple endings in previous seasons, these endings generally relied purely on choices made within the final episode of a season. With this being the final season. can we expect multiple endings that are influenced by choices made beyond just the final episode?
Ian: This is from one of our wonderful editorial team - Yes! Your choices all along in how you encourage AJ, who you romance, how you treat your friends, that all adds up in the final episode
GermanShep39: Hi Ian, is Clementine confirmed for Smash?
Ian: My community manager says: I wish
seiitunes: Was there any major or even minor character who was scrapped before the game release? Did it alter the story in any way?
Ian: To get the right story for Clem, season 4 went through multiple drafts an stages. We did have to let go of several characters so that Clem could grow more.
DestroyTheSauce: Is it possible that we'll see James or other characters apart from Violet and Louis becoming romance options in the final two episodes?
Ian: From the editorial team at Skybound - Violet and Louis are the only planned romances - that's a lot of choice for your first time dating!
stnkyl: will we get to know why and how each student ended up at a school for troubled youth?
what about marlon and brody, since we wont get to know anymore about them, how did they end up at the school?
Ian: As with most people in TWD world, the kids' biggest concern is survival, so we won't be diving into the past too much.
NaughtyDawgs: I’m itching to know if there are any plans, or talks for merch, or digital products like dynamic themes, or the soundtrack.
Ian: Thank you for your kind words and support. Right now, we're focused on the game itself, but there are great opportunities for digital and physical merchandise to honor Clem's story that we are actively looking into.
Mrfinderskeeperz: Will The Final Season have a physical release for the Switch?
Ian: That's currently in our plans, but nothing 100% confirmed at the moment, we'll be making announcements in the near future, but I'd love to do some really interesting stuff with the physical releases. Maybe we'll hide Kenny's hat in one of the boxes like a golden ticket
WideAwakeFastAsleep: I’ve always wondered, what’s the process for developing an episode like, from script to end result? All this time I’ve always assumed that the whole season is finished before being put out!
Kent: I find this to be a common misconception. Time for a breakdown!
Traditional Telltale Episode Production
- Season Arc Creation (this is done in a creative conference before the seasons starts, and refined by creative leads to act as a backbone for the whole season. It typically evolves.
- Episode 1 Outline (this is where the structure of an episode is creatied, and the broad design strokes)
- Episode 1 Writing (this is where the design structure is approved, and the work of writing individual lines of dialog is worked on)
- Episode 1 Voice Recording (this is where the approved script is recorded by voice actors)
- Episode 1 Wiring (this is where content programmers take the dialog files and make sure they are playable, at least enough to give cinematics something to work with)
- Episode 1 cinematics to First Playable (this is when the cinematic team takes the voice and first pass wiring and makes a rough cutscene version of the episode, to be reviewed by all the leads)
- Episode 1 rewrites/redesign (after reviewing the First Playable, creative makes changes to the episode as fast as we can. This is the most volatile phase, which can result in minor or major changes depending on the quality of FP)
- Episode 1 Pickup Recording (a second set of recording sessions for new writing) (often we cheat this a little and record some pickups with the episode 2 recording sesssions)
- Episode 1 Re-writing and Re-cinematic work to Ratings (now the re-writes and re-design are done, and we're making the ratings build, which will be submitted to ratings agencies and has to be a moooostly done but unpolished version of the game
- Episode 1 to Submission (here the game passed Ratings, and is being polished and having music and sound effects and VFX and other bells and whistles added to make it as good as possible before the deadline)
So during ALL THAT, episode 2 is being written during episode 1 going to ratings, and the production work of the episode 2 FP starts around episode 1 ratings. The production leap frogs like this until the game is done.
It's a lot of work!!!
PurpleLightning15: Will there be a DLC?
Ian: Not currently planned....but you tell me, should we do extra content, and if so, what would you like to see?
PurpleLightning15: Will there be any comics about Clementine and her adventure?
Ian: There are none currently planned, but never say never.
highestbidder23: All I really wanted to ask is if there’s any info on when TFS will be back on sale. I had just reintroduced myself to this series shortly before Telltale collapsed and the game was pulled from stores, and thus never got to buy the game. Falling back in love with TWD all over again has been great and I’ve been eager to actually get a chance to play TFS now that it’s back on!
Ian: We'll be back on sale as soon as possible, I'd hope we can do this by the end of October.
CrispyCakeBatter: Will the ending be modified in any way by you guys, are you guys allowed to change work on it or are you only here to release it?
Ian: Skybound has always worked closely with Telltale on the story for the game, so we've always been heavily involved in that process. So in that regard, nothing is really going to change, the same people from both teams will be involved in completing the story.
IrishChamomile: When Clem mentioned "the siege of Richmond" in Suffer The Children did she mean what happened in A New Frontier, or did Richmond get attacked by someone else later that we didn't see? Many players are confused by this so if you could clear it up that would be awesome!
Kent: This refers (admittedly kind of broadly) to both Clem's time with the New Frontier before the events of Season3, and the events of the season we play as Javi.
greenteaandhoney I'd just like to address some of the apparent bias in the game towards Violet over Louis, story wise. I'd like to ask some questions on it as well, if you don't mind.
If the player chooses to go with Violet in Episode 1, you get a scene with Brody and Violet. In this scene, the conversation you can have with Brody will make her death later on in the episode more meaningful, because you can reminisce about going to the beach together. You can also learn that Violet has some sort of grudge against Brody because of what happened with Minerva, which is a major conflict of the story as we find out later on.
If the player decides to go with Louis, you get some wholesome banter between he and Aasim, which is always appreciated.
In Episode 2, when presented with the choice of going with either Louis or Violet, the player can almost be tricked into going with her. Minutes away from a war, Violet says that she needs help checking DEFENSES. This is up against helping Louis play PIANO. It's quite obvious which option is the more helpful one, and which one the player would be more likely to go with.
If the player does go with Violet, you don't even check defenses, and just stargaze instead.
Kent: So Louis vs Violet choices are always to some degree about their priorities. Violet is more concerned with getting shit done and being prepared (specifically in 402) and Louis is more concerned with enjoying himself. Anytime you choose Louis over Violet you are ignoring the more immediate survivalist option. This is on purpose. Louis might be a bit of a slacker, but he's not an idiot, and when it matters he's still dependable. BUT he values LIVING when he has the chance. What does the player value more? Staying alive, or feeling alive? That's Violet vs Louis. And both are correct. And both bear different but equally good wins in the end. (also yes we learn more about Louis AND Violet in 403)
Emrefication: Are the last two episodes going to be dubbed in other languages too like the first two episodes?
Ian: We plan to continue the localization options from the first two episodes wherever possible, however there may be situations where we cannot support all the language options from before due to limited time and resources. We will do our utmost to avoid this.
reddit4bellz: you could maybe just subtitle it. Not with the voice dubbed. to save time.
Ian: We absolutely will be doing that as a minimum, but where possible, we'd like to deliver all the fully localized versions
NoahF0920: Hello! Thanks for doing this! How will the transfer of the employees from telltale happen? Will there be a completely new studio, new voice acting booths, computers, etc? Thanks again!
Ian: I can't go into details but the team will be working directly for Skybound to complete game
OllyBaker: Are you making any other walking dead games after the final season?
Ian: I hope so!
ConnectedVG: So... which Team are you in? TeamKenny or TeamJane?(:
Ian: At the moment I'm in TeamIan and so should you be because we're getting the game finished!
Bluesfire: Will we ever know Clementine’s last name?
Ian: What do last names matter in the apocalypse anymore?
PeriwinkleYeti: hello! when will the player choice stats become available?
Ian: we'd like to get everything back on line ASAP, this is on the list of things to do, however, it's a very, very long list
emercrump: Is there going to be another funny roof death scene? We had some pretty funny scenes in Season 1 and 3 where the player falls off a roof and dies.
Kent: We've got some death defying drops in upcoming episodes. Not sure if they'll be as funny as Lee missing that jump with Molly tho :P
emercrump: Also in another question you said we’d find out more about Louis(determinately) in episode 3. Can we expect the same for Violet?
Kent: Same for Violet. Only one of them is around in 403 for a while, and you learn more about the character you saved (but learn something else about the one you didn't)
net00: In TWD: A New Frontier, Clementine does not know AJ survived his disease until David tells her when they were trapped inside the warehouse that had stolen supplies. But before that, it's not clear what was Clem going to do for the future, as far as she knew, AJ was dead and she had no one left, what were her plans? why did she need a car so badly when she met Javi on the road?
Kent: I was honestly not involved in TNF at all, so I'm not sure.
BlackArrow129: How did you guys come up with the ending to the final season and the overall arc to the final season? Without spoiling anything.
Kent: Pretty hard to not spoil on this one, but I will give the broad strokes response of: we thought very hard about what would be an ending that fans would love, and would feel like a fitting conclusion to the very specific and harrowing journey Clementine has been on. Sorry that's kind of marketing speak, but I'm very excited for the fans to see it when it's done.
MindlessChord: There has been some pictures going around lately showing a logo that says "The Walking Dead: Season four". It has raised some questions in the gaming community-Let's clear it up! Did Skybound change the name to possibly make room for another season, or was it simply an old working title?
Ian: I don't think that was any thing deliberate or intentional that we did in order to create mystery, we're sadly not that organized (yet) so this is intended to be the final season. That said, I really love storytelling in games and when it's done well, as with this series, it's obvious how emotionally attached we can become to the characters, so I think it's a good bet that you'll see other games from us in the future, that aim to tell great stories.
HammondK37: My most pressing question is where is Kenny’s hat? Or any other characters returning? Edit:Also thanks for completing the game
Ian: YES.....WHERE IS KENNY'S HAT.....WE MUST BE TOLD (yes, I know I'm shouting)
remorse667: Do you know if there was a scene that was previously drafted in season 4 but later scrapped? If I recall correctly, Kenny's death scene in season 1 was scrapped and Mike being shot in season 2 were scrapped from the game.
Kent: TFS has been pretty consistent since actual production started. There aren't any bits as large as entire scenes that were scrapped, more like sections of scenes. Anything that changed drastically was far before there were actual visuals or playable game created for those sequences.
Killershot107: Will your decision to let Tenn draw you in his picture have consequences in Episodes 3 and 4?
Kent: Not outside of dialog callbacks. It's not a magic prophecy, as fun as that would be.
4k60fpsHDR: Have you guys ever considered doing an end season recap narrated by Lee, Javi, Luke, etc?
Like the one at the end of Game of Thrones.
Kent: I can confirm we have very rad end season stats planned, but it won't be a voiced video thing ala GOT
jackharmon1234: Might what happened before season 4 (McCarrol Ranch, the time on the road and so on) be expanded upon?
Kent: McCarrol Ranch is expanded upon in a future episode.
pre_parade: Will we be seeing the Garcías or any further references to them this season?
Kent: There may be references, but as I've said in previous interviews, the Garcias do not appear in TFS.
BMFDN: Will we have the option, in Ep. 3, to torture Abel? Can we skin his face off and wear it as a mask while we feed him his own intestines please? How long would that take to code?
Kent: Abel and Clem need to have a very serious 'talk' in 403. How grisly that becomes is up to the player. (that face ripping thing though, that would seriously be a very expensive effect to model and rig, the particle effects, that would be a lot... so no on that)
mrblackop714: How many telltale devs are you hiring and what were their previous roles? What are they doing now?
Can you name some of the devs you are hiring? If so, please name some or allow them to announce it themselves on their social media.
When will the team's first day be?
Are you guys opening a new office or are the people you are hiring moving? I heard that the current sky bound games office is 6 hours from the old telltale one. Are telltale devs making the move, working from home, or going to a new office?
Ian: So it's tough to give detailed answers to these great questions, however, I've done my best to give some more information below;
Skybound is in LA and TT is in San Rafael in the Bay Area, so yes, it's not a commute that would be practical! We'll one way or another find a place for the team to work that's practical for them.
In the development of any game, it's often not a fixed team, people roll on and off of projects all of the time depending on where the game is at in it's development cycle and this is no different. So, that means there are people who were on the team who were close to rolling off onto something else, it's unfair to ask someone to come back and do a couple of weeks work, especially if that would get in the way of another job offer, so this is just one example of some of the challenges we face.
Every single member of the development team has a unique personal situation and we have to take all of that into account, so there really isn't a one size fits all solution, we have to look at it on a case by case basis and that's why it's not a quick process.
Thanks for the questions though, I appreciate it and wish I could give you more detail, but it wouldn't be fair to the people involved.
Ian: Regarding the story, the process of developing the narrative isn’t changing, there is a long standing collaboration between the writers and Skybound over story approval and all the same people will still be involved.
Luciann10: I know this has become a tradition at this point, but is there any chance you guys will bring back the Rewind option? Because, let's be honest, Rewind was a key-feature and removing it doesn't really make any sense.People should be able to decide whether they want to "stay true" and keep the choices or if they want to change some(i hope this didn't come off as rude. I apologize in advance if it did! )
Kent: Some real tea about Rewind: despite the feature's verbal fanbase, as I understood it, the amount of users that actually used it were extremely small. Under 10 percent. And the amount of bugs it caused were crazy huge. Telltale never had a AAA sized QA team and it was a pretty easy call to get rid of a feature few used that bloated QA time beyond our resources. Also sadly for TFS a feature like rewind would have to be implimented from the start, it would be very difficult to impossible to code it in 2 episodes into the game. It won't be returning.
Luciann10: (This might come off as silly and/or naive) Can you tell us Kenny's status if you choose to stay at Wellington? Does he wander off and get killed? Does he eventually commit suicide like in that original ending that was supposed to be in A New Frontier?
Maybe, just maybe, will there be a chance for him to return?
Kent: Kenny's ending is intentionally left ambiguous for TFS. The harsh would of WD doesn't always give you closure. Clem has to move forward, and make something new.
Luciann10: This isn't really a question, but more like a concern.It's regarding relationships. I know the script is done at this point, but i hope you won't focus too much on ships so that the story falls flat.
Kent: I've seen the 'relationships ruin the story' concern, which I think is only valid if the story is already bad. Relationships are a tool in a story to give you deeper connection to the characters and make the stakes of the drama matter more. When done well (as I think we have) relationships and the events of the plot only strengthen each other.
Luciann10: Since you are getting the team back together, I assume you will try to stay true to the original vision and not alter things, right?
Kent: As a member of the original team, as I understand it the process for creative approval of ideas between skybound and the team will stay the same as it was before telltale shut down, meaning we'll be close to original vision (almost everything was approved before we stopped)
weeglezofficial: my only question is! will we at least ever possibly figure out why she never goes back to richmond since tnf ending option had bring back aj or leave him be.
Kent: We have a reason why Clem doesn't go back to Richmond.
MandyMarieB: (I’m late to the party and just finished Batman 1 this week, and am so absolutely in love with it. Can’t wait to start 2, but am so sad to know there won’t be more to this Batverse after that!!!
Kent: I hope you like Bat2. It may be the most 'me' thing I've ever directed, and it's incredibly dear to my heart. Please enjoy
xReflexx17: How old are each of the Ericson kids?
Kent: We actually avoid specific ages, it's more like how old are the characters in relation to each other.
ADULTS: Lilly, Abel, Raiders
OLDER KIDS: Clem, Louis, Violet, Marlon, Aasim, Ruby, Mitch, Brody, Marlon, Omar
YOUNGER KIDS: Tenn, Willy
PalmerTrees37: idk if this will be a spoiler if you answer or not but. Will there be Determinant deaths this season, so far there have only been deaths that you couldn’t prevent so I’m just wondering.
Kent: There are some determinate deaths this season. We actually follow a strict rule of "If a player choice causes this death, it can only be caused by player choice" avoiding any deaths that happen later if a player chose to avoid that death earlier (ala Sarah, Nick, Pete)
BlackArrow129: Lee had to make many sacrifices for Clem, and the ultimate sacrifice as well, but will Clem have to make many sacrifices for AJ in episodes 3 and 4. Not asking about the Ultimate Sacrifice.
Kent: The entire premise of the season is that building a home requires sacrifice. What exactly that is, remains to be shown.
VanLo: I just wanted to chime in and say that Season 2 of Batman is perhaps the best Batman & Joker story I've ever experienced, comic or no. It was an absolutely incredible journey with so, so much good about it. So thank you very much for that.
Kent: Thank you so much! It's totally my favorite thing I finished at Telltale. The team killed it on that one, and I loved every minute of making it.
4k60fpsHDR: Happy to hear no more characters will get the Nick treatment. Very happy that this is a rule among the creative team.
Kent: Yeah, I was annoyed by that personally, when I was doing cinematic work on season 2. Deaths matter, and aren't just a way to tie up loose ends, in my view.
boumissie: will there be anymore dark themes this season? themes that haven’t been explored in the walking dead games yet?
Kent: There's been 3 full seasons now trying to think of a dark theme not explored yet is difficult. I will say some of the reasons the youth are 'troubled' are pretty unique, though not perhaps darker than stuff we've seen before.
WideAwakeFastAsleep: Will Clementine ever eat a clementine in TFS? ?
Kent: There are no plans for this. Sadly. Poor girl needs some vitamin c, probably!
MimeyWimmey: Is there any sort of prominent underlying theme you have planned out for the season, besides Clem and AJ trying to find a home and secure that safe place?
Kent: The 'home' theme has many facets and is really the heart of the season. What does it mean to find one, build one, fight for one. Can Clem step up and do what she has to in order to secure a home for those she cares about? And past the physical challenges, can she integrate herself and AJ into a more stable world than the one they've been in for the past several years? Clem's personal journey to becoming someone that others rely on is also important.
mikesweeney13: When you decided to bring back a returning character, was he/she always planned to fill an antagonist role at first, or was that decision made after you chose Lilly specifically?
Kent: We'd had Lilly planned for a while, but her role took a long time to come together. She was in a different less antagonistic role first, but it felt flat and wasn't a good use of her. Her current role in opposition to Clem gave the larger arc of TFS a much needed kick in the pants. And was also used a an interesting way to show how both Clem and Lilly had become different people surviving in this world for the same amount of time.
InGenNateKenny: I gotta know, how'd you guys get the idea to get a Whisperer in the game? Of all comic tie-ins, this was one of the most unexpected.
Kent: James was actually conceived as this pacifist whisperer character before I came on board the project. I loved the whisperer war arc of the comic, and kept him in for the many cool ideas he could provide. It took a while to figure out how he fit into the larger themes, but after much tweaking he's one of my favorite elements of the season. Expect to see and learn much more about him in 403
Polina-Favorskaya: will Episode 3 be longer than the previous episodes?
Kent: Don’t recall for sure, runtime might be a little bit shorter than 2, but it’s very heavily branched based on if Louis or Violet is captured. Both 3 and 4 have a lot of variability based on previous choices.
Cool_Cookies: Will we get any more conversations about Lee /references to him in the last 2 episodes of TFS?
Kent: Oh there will be Lee references. There will be.
hiimekkomain: Hello! I was wondering, will we be getting any more romances between the other characters, such as with Violet and Minnie and Aasim and Ruby -even if one-sided?
Kent: The only full romances in TFS are with Louis and Violet. Not ruling out flirting tho.
Kenny_TwD: Will we get to know more about Lilly and how she became the way she is now? Literally killing children seems like a huge step from her character in season 1.
Kent: On Lilly killing Mitch: this was not her intention. She wanted to bring back all the kids alive, but in the end, she does what she has to in order to survive. Lilly is a survivalist above all else at this point in her life, with everyone she ever cared about dead, and has become harder than ever to make sure the lives she's trusted with are protected. This for her, requires strong will and dark deeds. We will learn more about her current situation with the Delta and the enormity of the task on her shoulders.
Kenny_TwD: But what about Lilly and Abel shooting at Clem and AJ when they were in the forest? Or the fact that Lilly can shoot Clem mutiple times for choosing the wrong dialogue option?
Kent: The 'Lilly shooting you in the forest" stuff is more to provide fail states for an action scene in a video game. She would probably shoot Clem in the leg if she had a clean angle.
And in dialog choices and the like, Lilly will chose her own life over Clementine. She's a survivor. If Clem shoots at her or tries to kill her, she won't hesitate, old feelings be damned.
PMMESTALEMEMES: Is there a reason why Mitch’s death wasn’t determinate?
Kent: Mitch's death serves a lot of purposes in the story. It's basically when shit gets real. Everything up to that point is planning and preparing, and the first encounter with Lilly in the forest, while scary, makes her seem like maybe she's reasonable or might not kill the kids to get what she wants. Lilly reverts to pure survival instincts when Mitch attacks, and then we know what she's capable of. She's eliminated one of the physically strongest kids, and we're suddenly on the back foot against her.
theunderoverdog: How long is episode 3? Asking because there was a post on (I think) one of the VA’s Instagram story saying it’s suppose to be 3 hours in duration. Wanted to know if it was true
Kent: 403 in total has a LOT of content, but it's also heavily branched. I think it will be similar to 402 in length, possibly shorter, but will be different depending on choices.
RandomRyan3: Since "Take Us Back" is the final episode name, please tell me you'll actually play the song at the credits?
It would be the perfect song to finish the series.
Kent: It is in fact the plan to play 'Take Us Back' somewhere in 404
incrediblyJUICY: Do you guys plan to make any major changes to the game or gameplay or do you plan to try to stick as closely as possible to telltale’s vision?
Kent: Gameplay will be unchanged. The only way to finish the season is to do it with the same tech and assets we were using previously.
net00: Was it ever in part of development the possible choice of accepting Lily's help during ep2 when she was kicked from the group with no supplies?
Kent: We intentionally made what Lilly was doing (kidnapping children to make them soldiers in a war) something that Clem as a character could never be on board with, so that a choice to join her would not be on the table.
Kent: Well that's enough for me for now guys, thanks for coming and for all the excellent questions. Hopefully we'll be back in touch sometime in the near future with more good news!
Till then, keep that hair short.
Ian: Thanks for all of the questions - I'm heading off to some fun meetings now, but I'll be back on line later to answer more questions - so keep them coming. Happy to answer stuff about the future plans for Skybound Games also
5 hours later
Ian: So as promised, I’m back to answer some more questions (...).
WilcoClahas: What will you be doing to avoid a repeat of Telltale’s toxic work environment?
Ian: I can’t speak to the working conditions of any other company, I honestly have no more knowledge than you about some of the alleged conditions at various gaming companies, I likely read the same news reports as you and it’s certainly been a topic of conversation in the industry.
WilcoClahas: How many former devs have you hired, and at what salary?
Ian: We haven’t hired anyone yet, nor have we made any offers, because we’re not at the stage where we can do that. It’s a long process that unfortunately can only happen in a specific order. What we have as of today, is a goal to complete the game with as many of the original team as makes sense and that’s only if those people want to come back.
WilcoClahas: Will you ensure that they aren’t forced to work crunch or inhumane hours?
Ian: What I can say, is that I’ve always been a huge advocate of a good work / life balance, I don’t believe people working 70-80 hours a week is sustainable or healthy, I don’t do that and wouldn’t expect anyone who works for me to do anything remotely like that.
Crunch is a very non specific term, so that’s impossible to answer. However, I can say that I would never expect or ask anyone to work what would be considered inhumane hours, so unequivocally yes, I can ensure that.
WilcoClahas: Will your new employees be fired once the game is finished, or will they be moved to new projects?
Ian: Your question about what will happen after the completion of the game, I can’t answer that, because I honestly don’t know. I can say that there has been some discussion about some other longer term options, but those conversations are at a very early stage.
WilcoClahas: Skybound is based in LA, not SF. What relocation pay are you giving to new employees?
Ian: We are not asking people to relocate, we will find a solution in their current area.
xDProfessional: Players have the option to go to Wellington, and take Kenny's hat. Will we see Kenny's hat in TFS for AJ, And does Clem have her check scar if you did the Wellington ending? I heard there were problems about this. Thank you so much for your patience and time for us! I and we greatly appreciate everything you guys do!
Ian: I'm unfortunately the least qualified person to answer these questions specifically, however, I will go and find one of the people on in the Hat department and ask them. They're a scary bunch, so wish me luck
Fbase88: Any news on the physical copies on ps4 ,I already pre ordered from target and the release date changed from nov 6th to dec 30th....really looking forward to the season pass disc,I know the first two episodes are planned for the disc,then the other downloaded as released,any changes on that plan (...)
Ian: No news I'm afraid, we're totally focused on the first goal, which is the get the game back into production.
We're definitely planning a physical release for season 4, it won't be out this year though I'm afraid, that just not going to be possible.
SEIGRI-SHOCK: Mr. Ian, will "Telltale's The Walking Dead: Collection" be coming to PC? Or is it just for consoles?
Ian: Everyone is so polite here, I'm extremely impressed with the manners
Mr Seigri-shock......I don't know specifically which collection you're referring to, but I can say this, any plans or release dates that exisited before don't really apply anymore. What I can say, is that I would LOVE to see a complete collection of all four seasons released, I think that's something that we can do some really fun stuff with.
gonegoat: How much of the team is comprised of former Telltale devs?
Ian: The plan is for it to be staffed 100% by former Telltale staff, the only time we'd look elsewhere is if we can't fill a particular role from former TT people.
Stefanonimo: How's the situation with former TTG devs? How many have you contacted for coming back to end the game? And how many have accepted?
Ian: Specific to The Walking Dead team, we've been in contact with most, if not all of them in one way or another. I met most of them personally last week.....great bunch of people and it was great fun chatting with them about how we can get the show back on the road, we also spent quite a lot of time talking about Metallica and if broccoli should be allowed on pizza?
Deluxechin: So could this mean you guys could make Telltale type games (choose your own story adventure games)?
Ian: I remember reading choose your own adventure books when I was at school, and Ian Livingstone who practically invented the genre is one of life's great humans, so it's fair to say that I'm a fan.
I really want to investigate different ways of telling great stories in games, so I think you'll see some cool stuff from us in the future.
chowb321: If you want someone back you need to bring Mandy Draeger, Cinematic Artist back. She loved the series and was working on episodes 1 and 2 before moving on to the Unannounced Project. If you need more cinematic artists, She would be one of the people ecstatic to be back working on the Final Season of Walking Dead.
Ian: Thanks for the recommendation - duly noted
PineapplesOnP1zza: Are the choice statistics returning for episode 3 and 4?
Ian: We very much hope so
BluesFire: Will that include Episode 2's choice stats as well?
Ian: If possible, absolutely
melessthanthree: Any plans to compensate the workers from Telltale who made this game and were let go with no warning or severance?
Ian: Hi, sorry for getting to this one so late. I totally understand why you'd ask this, all I can say is that we're hoping to bring many of the team back to complete the game and of course they'll absolutely be compensated for their work.
Layoffs are an unfortunate reality of the world we live in and it's happened to me in the past, but in this case, the only practical thing we can do is give these guys at the very least, a contract to come back and finish the game.
GaoShiki: What protections do you have in place to avoid overworking employees or to protect them from potentially harmful business and management practices such as overwork that have created a genuinely harmful atmosphere for the developers that make your product? Is the well-being and security of developers and other employees priorities for Skybound Games?
Ian: Thanks for the question. I can absolutely say that taking care of our people is something I personally take incredibly seriously and I'm also proud to say that the other folks at Skybound are some of the most considerate and progressive people I've ever had the pleasure to work with, when it comes to issues such as equal pay, equal opportunities and employee care in general.
poogers555: Is it at all possible that Skybound may reach out to Vertigo to form a deal and be the ones to let Wolf 2 see the light of day? Obviously you guys cant answer, but if anything, could you tell us if there is at least any interest at all in possibly obtaining the rights to the project in some form? It would mean so much to all of us Telltale fans if you could somehow make this dream come true. Thank you so much.
Ian: I would love to be able to talk about this, but the truth is, there is nothing to say because it's simply not been part of our focus.
We're a relatively small, but growing company and we absolutely focused on TWD and really want to make sure that we do the best we can there.
From a personal point of view, TWAU is a game I hold in very high regard and I'd be equally keen to see a sequel, I'm not sure if I'm able to help make that happen though
Detective_Forrester: What is your favorite part about The Final Season so far?
Ian: I'll let you know when I've played it......and given how busy we've all been, that may be a while
WontonJr: Not a question, but I just want to entirely thank you guys for taking on TWD Game's Final Season.
Ian: you're welcome and the truth is, without the passion that the community has shown, it wouldn't be happening
remorse667: What is the best place to follow for news about TFS?
Ian: the Skybound Games twitter account would be a good place to start and you can also sign up for Skybound Insiders, if you like this series, I'd highly recommend doing that because I'm absolutely certain that we'll be giving access to some cool stuff to our Insiders first
Vorean: Is there any impact we can foresee? Lost elements, or more rigid animation potentially? Or anything like extended release dates, or taking your time?
Ian: We don't really plan to change anything with how the game is going to get completed, as much as possible, it will be done exactly as it was originally planned.
We''re definitely moving release dates, we've lost almost a month of production already and there is simply no way in the schedule that we could realistically make up any time, and rushing the final episode would not be a good way to honor the series.
DrKuro: As for the future of Skybound games, will this be a chance for you to learn something for the future development of new story-driven games in this style? I'm not talking about replicating Telltale's formula, but doing something different yet in the same genre. Just out of curiosity, I think this genre has so many yet unexplored possibilities
Ian: I agree, there are lots of ways to tell stories that we have't even thought about yet and it's going to be a big focus for me as we continue to grow Skybound Games.
AMM1817: I have a question in regard to how former TTG employees will be treated and paid? I don't know if you'll be answer given the legal background of contracts and what not, but I do think Ian had mentioned Skybound was in contact with former employees? I feel horrible given the situation in which they were let go, so I guess I'm looking for some kind closure on that. Can you provide us with any reassurance?
Ian: I know the team would appreciate your concern. Yes, we're in contact with many of the former team and hope to work with them to complete the story, we're not looking to bring in anyone different to do the work
_Regis: Will The Final Season get a physical release for PC? I wasn't able to find it online, just Xbox One and PS4.
Ian: Unfortunately, very few retailers are prepared to sell PC titles, but we might look into doing something ourselves and making it available on the Skybound store or via Amazon
TheOneWhoWasPromised: Unfortunately, very few retailers are prepared to sell PC titles, but we might look into doing something ourselves and making it available on the Skybound store or via Amazon
Ian: Yes, absolutely
ResidentUseless: When Telltale announced their majority studio closure, they had other TWD-related projects in the works, such as Season Two and A New Frontier coming to the Switch and the release of physical copies of The Final Season. Will Skybound be picking up where Telltale left off in terms of these projects, or is finishing The Final Season the top/only priority?
Ian: Regarding other platforms / physical versions etc, we're going to be looking at all of these options once we get the game back into production
WideAwakeFastAsleep: If you had to cast any actor/actress for Clementine and Lee (or any of the other characters) for a live action movie, who would it be?
Ian: I think this is a great question and I'd actually love to hear some suggestions for this....I'm going to give this one some thought
GameOverTrey: Will we get episode 3 before the end of 2018
Ian: I hope so!!
rafiquix97: Mr Howe, did Skybound Games adquired all the things related to TWDG or just TFS? If it was everything, will the past season receive support with things like upload our save files to a cloud to export it to another season like the old gen versions of S1 and S2 to play with that save file in ANF? Thanks for you time.
Ian: I can't answer this one yet I'm afraid, more news soon hopefully
mrblackop714: Are you guys opening a new office or are the people you are hiring moving? I heard that the current sky bound games office is 6 hours from the old telltale one. Are telltale devs making the move, working from home, or going to a new office?
Ian: Do you have spare room at your place
I answered this above - we not asking them to relocate
Inuranchan: Who exactly is financing this game? Is it Robert kirkman or is sky bound studios potentially looking for backers?
Ian: can't answer that one, sorry
Sledx: I wanted to ask wether or not we'll ever have an official CD/Vinyl containing the twd soundtrack. I don't think something like this has ever been done with the previous seasons' soundtracks, but some of the music made for season 1 and 2 is just too good to not be purchaseable!
Ian: Thanks for this suggestion - I've no idea if this is possible, but I'm going to look into it, simply because I'm a big vinyl collector
whittiez: Regarding previous Walking Dead seasons - will support still be available for those games released in the past? Not just choice statistics, but support for bug fixes or compatibility updates as well? One example I've encountered personally seems to be PS4 specific, but I experience a bug in Season 2 which causes a small portion of a cutscene in episode 5 to lag for close to five minutes, which is kind of frustrating.
Ian: I'd definitely like to go back and do some type of complete collection so we may be able to go back and take a look at some old issues in that process
mathewjgross: for the physical copy of the final season will all the episodes be downloaded already with stats ready to go or will we have to download them each individually?
Ian: Don't know the answer to this yet, but I'll look into it
Fury2014: Who was the main initiator who made sure that Clementine’s story will be finished by Skybound?
Ian: I thought I'd address number 5 because I think it's a good way to explain how we all reacted.
When we heard the news from Telltale, the first reaction was shock and sadness. I can't speak to this personally as I'm relatively new to TWD family, but there are obviously personal relationships involved for many of the Skybound team and we've worked with TT for a long time.
So it was a mixture of sadness, concern and then pretty quickly, that became a desire to figure out a way to complete the story. So I can't point to one person specifically, but I don't think any of us thought that NOT, at the very least trying to find a way to finish the game was an option.
xReflexx17: Is there any chance of future games/DLC where we will get to play as some of the still possibly alive characters who have an unknown status? Kind of like how Uncharted and Star Wars are making side stories that focus on other characters. I think it would be really cool to see a game where we continue the story of someone like Molly or Christa.
Ian: My view about side stories is that only if we feel there is a really interesting story to tell. We won't be doing it unless we're really excited about the idea.