Highlights The Walking Dead Destinies allows players to rewrite the show’s story from seasons 1-4 and make pivotal decisions that could drastically change the narrative. The choice depicted in Destinies’ trailer looks at a story where Rick dies instead of Shane, with Shane continuing on to lead the group. The game should consider all possible choice permutations and flesh them out in order to provide a gratifying experience for players, who may choose to keep Shane alive or make other significant changes to the storyline.
The Walking Dead has easily been the largest prevailing piece of ‘zombie’ media in popular culture since its graphic novel-inspired AMC TV show. Honing in on the trope of man versus man being the central plot with walkers as an atmospheric backdrop, it would go on to inspire countless future post-apocalyptic IPs, whether inadvertently or not. It’s difficult to pry most comparisons away from it, especially due to how long it has lasted on the air and how multiple character-centric spin-offs are now being put out with The Walking Dead’s brand still thriving in the survival-horror genre.
One of its most beloved endeavors, Telltale’s episodic The Walking Dead franchise has yet to be overthrown in terms of a gaming adaptation, and that’s primarily due to other gaming adaptations clinging firmly to licensed content from the show and commonly doing so in abundant mobile titles. However, while it’s another game that refuses to cleave away from the most popular iteration of itself, The Walking Dead Destinies will allow players to rewrite the show’s story from seasons 1–4, and that lets them answer one of its biggest questions pertaining to how the late Shane Walsh might’ve responded to certain events.The Walking Dead’s Seasons 3–4 Could Be Much Different with Shane Alive
Knowing that fans will be able to make averse decisions in The Walking Dead’s own take on the ‘What If?’ concept is exciting, though it is limiting that it currently only includes the show’s first four seasons. It’s true that the end of season four marked a definitive turning point, but it will ultimately leave The Walking Dead Destinies on an unsatisfying cliffhanger if more seasons are not included later on as DLC.
Having a sequel committed to later seasons would be sufficient, but like Telltale’s games they would need to support carry-over save files or have a means for players to jot down which choices they had made in the previous game in order to keep their progression immersive. It’s also interesting to assume that fans could play The Walking Dead Destinies with the goal of actually keeping all the show’s events the same, with failure to do so creating a rippling effect in the narrative that would be proportionately unprecedented and consequential.
Still, the whole point of the game is to rewrite the continuity, and it will be interesting to see how large of a diversion players can generate. In this way, it would appear as if one of the biggest choices players could make aside from having Rick Grimes die off instantly is having Shane stay alive. Shane was killed by Rick near the end of season two after he had become a fully fledged antagonist with murderous tendencies.
Shane was still arguably redeemable at this point, but keeping him alive in Destinies might simply make everyone else’s lives at the camp a nightmare. Regardless, it would have been incredibly intriguing to see how Shane would’ve reacted to particular events and characters in the next two seasons, such as the group’s living situation at the prison, the birth of his daughter, and The Walking Dead’s Governor waging war against them. If Shane had been alive at this point, it would’ve been interesting to see how he would respond to Andrea being with the Governor, or Merle Dixon suddenly showing up again.
Merle is another antagonist who will be interesting to make new choices for, since players will presumably be able to choose not to leave him handcuffed to a roof this time around and so forth, but maybe if he never sees precisely how cruel the Governor can be he’ll never find an alternate path to the redemption he receives at the end of season three. Destinies will need to have all of these choice permutations considered and fleshed out if it’s going to be a gratifying experience, and meanwhile it should also be fully possible that players fight tooth and nail to keep Shane around only for him to catch the spontaneous prison illness and be murdered by Carol for the good of the group.
The Walking Dead Destinies is set to release on November 14 for PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.