E3 2013: THE WALKING DEAD Fleshes Out Zombie Apocalypse with 5 All-New Tales

E3 TRAILER: The Walking Dead 400 Days
E3 TRAILER: The Walking Dead 400 Days
Credit: Telltale Games

After critical acclaim with multiple “Best of the year” awards, it’s no surprise that Telltale Games is continuing to work on their new hit, The Walking Dead. With the newly announced DLC for season one, 400 Days, the team is trying something a little different to help further flesh out this undead world.

The DLC episode will be coming in July 2013 at only $4.99 – but you have to have Season 1 installed in order to play it. A new bundle containing all of Season 1 plus the DLC episode will make its debut on the PlayStation Vita at the same time. 400 Days is actually slightly longer than any of the individual Season 1 episodes, due to the nature of the DLC.

In this, you’ll play through five unique stories as five characters – though the connections from story to story will make themselves apparent as you go along. You can play the stories of Vince, Shel, Bonnie, Wyatt, and Russell in any order.

“Even though you have all these stories of the first 400 days of the apocalypse, you don’t have to play them in a linear fashion,” a Telltale representative told us during a behind-closed-doors demo at E3 2013. Each of their stories takes place at a different point on that timeline, with a focal point of a truck stop appearing in most if not all of the tales.

The story we saw belonged to Vince – again, they stressed that while you don’t have to play them in order, his is the earliest, taking place on only Day 2 of the outbreak.

Vince's story starts with him going execution style on an unseen character, and he then hears sirens in the distance, which leads to your first choice - whether to ditch the evidence or not. It apparently doesn't matter much what you do there (though the choice likely spins off in conversation later), as we're now on "Day 2" of the apocalypse, and he's a prisoner in a bus transport. The opportunities for interaction come fast and furious, despite being locked in chains, with the Telltale "reactions" happening throughout (Vince lied about his guilt, for example).

A prisoner starts attacking another one, and that leads to the first major decision, and the first big twist. It's interesting to watch someone else playing as it all unfolds, wishing I could be in control and change some of the decisions. It's several minutes of gameplay until the zombie outbreak itself makes an appearance - and it's up close and personal when it does.

Overall, while this is clearly DLC for the first season - same basic mechanics, same look, same emotional sequences - everything that put the first one into every game of the year conversation - are all present, it's also impressive that in a fifteen-twenty minute demo, showing only one story, you'll be so engrossed and emotionally connected that you'll come out feeling affected by each character.

Telltale says it was important to bridge the seasons with DLC so that we can "see different slices" of the world. "It's important from a world building point of view to see how the world falls apart through all of these stories. All of them are interconnected, and they're connected to Season 1 - and crossover with Season 2."

Of course that means these characters themselves may or may not directly appear in the next season – if any of them survive, of course, but no matter what, the choices you make will carry over in that now-signature The Walking Dead style.

Newsarama Note: While Fables: The Wolf Among Us was originally scheduled to appear at E3 2013, Telltale said they’re focusing on 400 Days and instead holding Wolf to “a future event.”

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