he Walking Dead is an episodic, graphic adventure video game series developed and published by Telltale Games and Skybound Games, based on The Walking Dead comic book series. First released in April 2012, the series currently spans four main five-episode seasons, an additional episode as downloadable content, and a mini three-episode season, with the fourth and final season being released in 2018 and ended in 2019. The games have been released to personal computers, game consoles, and mobile devices and have had both digital and physical releases.
The series, like the comic, starts with an epidemic that turns the dead into zombie-like “walkers” that decimates civilization, and takes place along the United States eastern seaboard. The series focuses on the character of Clementine, a young girl that is cared for by Lee Everett during the first season, and subsequently travels both by herself and with other groups in later seasons after Lee sacrifices himself for her. During the second season, she becomes the adoptive caretaker of AJ, an infant left parentless. When Clementine later joins with a survival group called the New Frontier in the third season, they strip AJ from her, and Clementine works with another survivor, Javier Garcia, to rescue both their families from the New Frontier. During the final season, some years later, Clementine and AJ join other teenagers holding out at their boarding school to protect it from bandits and walkers. Some of the characters from the comic series, such as Shawn Greene, Glenn Rhee, Hershel Greene, Michonne, Siddiq and Paul “Jesus” Monroe, have appeared during the video game series.
The games in The Walking Dead series eschew typical puzzles and exploration found in most adventure games and instead offer a stronger narrative and interaction with other characters. The game mixes such scenes with more action-oriented ones based on quick time events to elicit excitement during the games. Telltale introduced the feature of having numerous determinants that could result from the player’s choices, such as which of two characters to save during an attack, that influenced the story in later episodes and seasons, and the company has used this aspect of player choice in its subsequent adventure games.
While the series was primarily developed and published by Telltale Games under license from Skybound, the studio effectively shuttered in late 2018 in the midst of the fourth main series, The Final Season. Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead and of Skybound, felt it was necessary to finish off Clementine’s story, and hired some of the Telltale staff to finish off the series. Skybound also took over publishing duties for the other games in the series.
The series has been praised for its strong narratives and impact of player choices. The first season was particularly noted as having been considered as revitalizing the waning adventure game genre, which had been languishing since around 2000.