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Telltale offering free Walking Dead digital copy to Xbox 360 disc players affected by severe hitching

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

The Walking Dead developer Telltale Games is offering a free copy of the game's Xbox Live Arcade version to players suffering severe hitching with the Xbox 360 disc version, and the studio believes it has found fixes for problems with loading save games.

Players began to report hitching and other issues shortly after the game was released on disc in mid-December.

After collecting reports from players and investigating the situation, Telltale determined that the severe stuttering issue, which rendered the Xbox 360 retail version nearly unplayable, only affects owners of the 4 GB Xbox 360 console who do not have a hard drive attached to the system.

According to the studio, this particular problem concerns neither players of the XBLA version on a 4 GB unit, nor players of the disc version on a 4 GB console that has a hard drive attached. Telltale says installing an Xbox 360 hard drive on a 4 GB system will fix the hitching. But for players who don't want to do that, Telltale has put a system in place that will provide them with a free copy of the five-episode series on XBLA.

The studio has posted a claim redemption form (Microsoft Word document here) with detailed instructions for the process. Owners of the Xbox 360 retail version do not have to ship the disc to Telltale; instead, they must send via email or snail mail the completed claim form, proof of purchase for the retail Xbox 360 game and proof of ownership of a 4 GB Xbox 360. Once Telltale has verified those items, it will email the customer codes for all five episodes on XBLA. According to the company, the process could take as long as four weeks.

"We value our customers and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused," Telltale said upon announcing the claim program.

It's worth noting that the total size of Season One of The Walking Dead on XBLA is 2.85 GB, more than 70 percent of the 4 GB of flash memory on the hard drive-less Xbox 360. Players can always delete completed episodes to make room for new ones, as long as they keep their save files.

to fix the issue, get a hard drive or go digital

Telltale has also been looking into a devastating issue with XBLA save games. Some players who attempted to load a new episode from an existing save game found that The Walking Dead would instead load the first episode and immediately overwrite their save file, erasing as many as four episodes' worth of progress. This problem also affects players of the retail Xbox 360 version, although according to Telltale, it only affects those who are playing offline with an online-enabled Xbox Live Silver or Gold account.

In a forum post, Telltale support representative MattP said yesterday that the latter group can solve the problem simply by playing online with that account, or using a separate offline account.

MattP added that Telltale believes it has found fixes for both issues, and recently submitted solutions to Microsoft for testing. Pending approval, both fixes would be included in a future patch for The Walking Dead. As for players dealing with different problems on Xbox 360 or other platforms, a Telltale PR representative told Polygon that they should keep an eye on the Telltale support forums, since the studio is continuing to investigate bug reports.

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