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When it comes to Telltale, people completely misinterpreted “story is tailored by how you play” thing

Gamingtodaynews1b - When it comes to Telltale, people completely misinterpreted "story is tailored by how you play" thing


You see, people seem to mistake plot for a story, and they are actually different things, let me explain:

Plot is basically things that happen throughout the story. Think of it as a structure of the whole thing. A foundation so to say. Let's say that basic plot of TFS is – a girl who is raising a kid ends up in a school lead by kids during zombie-apocalypse, she fights against a group that wants to take kids away, develops attachment to kids, turns them into powerful force to be reckoned with, defeats the enemies, characters are happy, most survived. As you can see, it's stripped down to its core, and that is the part that our choices don't change. The choices in Telltale Games affect plot minimally, therefore structure remains mostly the same with couple of differences here and there.

Now, let's see what the story means – it is basically the context of the plot. Character interactions, relationships, motivations, themes, interpretations, etc. – that's story. Let me give you one of dozens of interpretations of TFS we can create through our choices:


Clementine, a broken, lost and violent survivor, is struggling to raise a kid and tormented by a horrible thing she did. She ends up in a school filled with kids, but because she spent years mostly alone, she doesn't do well with others. Her violent tendencies become more and more disturbing, as she calls an unnecessary murder committed by AJ to be justified and calls others weak for not agreeing. Group throws her and AJ out because of it, but she returns because she knows that they need her and she and AJ need shelter, though part of her seems to want to protect them out of guilt for what happened in the farm. In preparation to fight Lilly, she turns kids into soldiers, starting to grow attached to them. Still, violent part of her is still there, so she tortures Abel in front of a kid. James and the group start bringing her lighter side more, and it starts reminding her of Lee, a man who was like a father to her. Finally, she has a chance to kill Lilly through AJ, but she can't, because that's not who she is anymore. In a near death experience, she remember how she accidentally killed many innocents to find AJ, which reminds her of the reason she became so detached and it's one of the reasons why she decided to protect the kids in the end (that's the beauty of flashback scene, it can be interpreted in so many ways). By the end, she is unsure of whether she did a good job at raising AJ, but at least she managed to protect the group and become a better person, that's enough for her.

I obviously cut out tonnes of interactions and moments, simplified the plot and story. This was one of the dozens of interpretations of the story that I managed to create through the choices without changing the structure much. As you can see, story is almost always different depending on how you play. Like, for most players, Clementine was kind, helpful and nice to others and was a good mother figure. Or she just remains violent, because she thinks it's necessary, and that's another beauty of these games, the choices are rarely black and white, so that creates even more interpretations. I feel like this is lot more interesting than making a story clear cut and dry like Detroit: Become Human, and add tonnes of narrative directions with varying degree of quality.

Anyway, that's my two cents, what do you think?

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