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'The Walking Dead: Episode 2' is a story of survival, choice, and staying hungry

Starved for help


Telltale Games unveils the first 20 minutes of The Walking Dead: Episode 2 - Starved for Help

"The game is about choices," says Alan Johnson, representative for Telltale Games.

The Walking Dead Episode 2 is being shown at the studio's E3 booth, which has been decorated for the occasion. In a small corridor they're offering out "mystery meat" on the bone, alongside a table piled with bloody, prosthetic limbs. It's turkey really — I think, but it's fitting when this episode of Walking Dead. Subtitled Starved for Help, the upcoming episode tells a story of starvation, desperation, and the war within the cadre of survivors that is sparked by that. The game is about choices, but it's also about the consequences you have to live with.

Episode 2 takes place three months following the events of Telltale's first episode of the game based on the popular television show and comic. The team designed a tailored experience in which actions taken from the previous title influence the outcomes of its sequel. We are now in the depths of the apocalypse. Electricity is gone, food is gone, and the government is no longer available for help.

Every choice from Episode 1 influences Telltale's next game

The group meets Mark in a nearby airbase. He worked in some nondescript civilian capacity in a previous life and had access to food later shared with Episode 1's original crew. But within a matter of months rations began to dwindle. Now held up in an enclosed motel, surrounded by a rudimentary alarm system set up by the earlier game's Doug, we watch the crew begin to implode. Of course things could be different. In the earlier game we could have sacrificed Doug, leaving his role to be replaced by another in Telltale's new title. The motel balcony that serves as part of the backdrop in the camp may or may not have collapsed depending on whether you decided to help a suicidal girl kill herself in the previous game, or wrestle her for the gun which leads to the collapse.

Regardless the camp is still hungry. Mark and Lee stumble upon a zombie eating a dead rabbit and lament the wasted meal. They discuss the temptations of shooting a nearby crow, and consider whether it is worth risking the sound of gunfire drawing more walkers in. In between they can decide how to react — to shoot, to stand down, and so on. When they find a teacher in the woods caught in a bear trap they wonder whether it is worth saving him or if he and his students represent yet another mouth to feed. The results - and there are a few of them - can be brutal.

Similarly, your choices of dialog can and will influence the game. In a passing conversation between Lee and Mark, the demo's presenter chooses a dialog option that suggests one of the fellow survivors is a racist — an option that will come back to haunt him later when he is approached about the subject. Respect within the camp is integral to keeping the group together, and each action made by your character is followed by a pop-up stating a camp-dweller's opinion of you.

Four pieces of food between nine survivors: Welcome to The Walking Dead

When Lee is told to split four pieces of food between nine of his peers, every choice garners a response. Feeding two members of one of the group's families is seen as favoritism, and the rest of the group will react negatively. Offering food to a struggling character who has complained about being hungry will help him gain strength in a future scene.

The studio hope to produce monthly episodes on regular four-to-six week basis, however they said they might not be able to do that due to the submission process to publishers. "It will be regular is the best way to put it," says Johnson.

The Walking Dead: Episode 2 is scheduled for a June release. An app for The Walking Dead original will be available this Summer from the App Store at $4.99.

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