Events & Attractions, Games

ScareLA’s Monsters in Gaming: Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead Recap

Telltales The Walking Dead Game cast at ScareLA
The Walking Dead voice cast: Nicole Vigil, Cissy Jones Lin, Melissa Hutchinson, David Fennoy, Mara Junot, and Nicki Rapp

One of the themes of ScareLA 2017 was diversity in the horror and monster world.  To capture this they featured a number of panels focused on a specific niche or genre related to horror and Halloween.  One of those, which was presented as part of day two of the show, focused on monsters in gaming and featured voice actors David Fennoy, Melissa Hutchinson, Nicole Vigil, Nicki Rapp, Cissy Jones Lin and Mara Junot of Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead.  With the final season of the series being announced last month, the timing of this panel was perfect and allowed the voice cast to reflect on the journey of the series, its emotional impact, and what it’s been like working on a game that has in many ways changed the gaming industry.  Even if (spoiler alert) some of these voice actors’ characters have since been killed off in the series.

Early on in the panel, the cast spent most of the time focused on the theme of how different The Walking Dead has been as compared to other games.  Aside from The Last Of Us, which, came out around the same time as season one of The Walking Dead, kids weren’t really main characters in video games, a point both Fennoy and Hutchinson pointed out early in the panel.  “The writers at Telltale, when they set out to do season 1 actually had no intention of continuing Clementine’s story,” said Hutchinson during the panel.  But thanks to the player reaction and the statistics related to Lee protecting Clementine in each episode, she didn’t become a “one and done kind of thing.”  Interestingly, even though Clementine was meant to be a one time character, Fennoy felt upon first reading that the whole story was really about Lee and Clementine and how their relationship helps Lee “find redemption.”

The panel also discussed how The Walking Dead brought an emotional element to video games that you hadn’t seen previously.  “To have the kind of connection they built between Lee and Clementine, who are atypical leads in a video game but to give them a massive heart and a story and make you actually care what button you push. That’s pretty remarkable,” pointed out Cissy Jones Lin during the panel.  During the same discussion, Nicole Vigil added, “Up until that point [The release of The Walking Dead] it was not quite as emotionally engaging. Of course, you’re always pulling for your protagonist and fighting against your antagonist, but up until this point, there really weren’t too many games that had people so emotionally engaged and connected to all of the characters that they were in The Walking Dead.”  The emotional element also came up in the fact that in The Walking Dead players uncover Lee’s true character and how his choices reflect who he truly was.  Fennoy added, “And who you really are, as a person, as a player.”  Later in the panel, Fennoy shared that the two most common things he here’s from fans are, “I’ve never been as involved emotionally with the characters in a video game and I’ve never cried in a video game”

As Fennoy turned to the audience for questions the discussion was less deep, which you can see in the response below when asked, “If you had the chance to give each of your characters a gift, what would it be?”

Vigil: “I’d give Lilly back the bullet she put in my face.”

Hutchinson: “I was really affected negatively personally in season two when Clem finally meets a dog friend. I was like yes and then no.  So I would probably give Clem a dog that doesn’t die. And it’s like a non-barking type, you know, just like a best friend. I think she needs a buddy.”

Fennoy: “I’d give Lee advice, ‘Leave that hat alone. Don’t worry about that hat. Clementine can go bare-headed.  Just cuz that hat is on the ground, doesn’t mean you have to pick up that hat.'”

Junot: “I’d have to say, it’s unconventional, but a flat iron.  Just because I like to think in practical terms. So, you know, the hair would stay nice, you can cook with it and it can also serve as a weapon. I mean, it’s kind of a three-in-one deal, so why not?”

Rapp: “For Lilly, if I could give her a group to lead that would believe in her, I would do that.”

Jones Lin: “For Katjaa I’d give her some ADD medication for her kid.”

An audience member, of course, asked what details if any the cast could share about the upcoming fourth and final season of the game, but the details provided were limited.  “You know, we don’t really know until we get into the studio,” explained Hutchinson, the only remaining active voice cast member. “She’s [Clementine] seeking out somebody still, so I can pretty much say that will be the driving force of season four.” “If she says anymore, she’ll have to kill you,” added Jones Lin.

Hutchinson did elaborate on her personal hopes though adding that she hopes Clementine remains alive and “that it’s glorious and it makes you cry.”  The positive was short lived though as Nicole Vigil chimed in with, “It’s The Walking Dead, so whatever you’re pulling for, get ready to have your heart ripped out of your chest.

The panel ended with the cast talking about the overall recording process and how little they had to change their lines due to the writing and directing on the games and shared some of the traits they most connected with in their characters and then lined up on the stage for a group photo opportunity of the cast.

The fourth and final season of The Walking Dead The Telltale Series will be released sometime in 2018.

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