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Changing The Walking Dead's Clementine

One of the big questions in the Walking Dead video game "offseason" was whether we'd see Clementine again. Now that we know she's returning for the upcoming second season of the game, the questions mount. She may be coming back, but who exactly will she be?

Note: There are spoilers ahead, so I suggest you stop reading if you have not played the first season of Telltale Games' The Walking Dead. Better yet: Go play it instead of reading this.

Clementine was a big reason The Walking Dead worked for me. Her relationship with Lee was something that filled in the spaces of a game built less around gameplay than its characters, their relationships with each other, and the decisions you make for them. Given how important the characters and story were to the game, Lee and Clementine's relationship colored everything else in it. If the first season was about her growth from being helpless to learning the hard lessons of survival, I'm very interested to see what the writers at Telltale Games have in store for us in the second season.

As players, we will be forever changed by what we've previously experienced – just like Clementine – and we can't see her in the same light. The end of the first season, with Lee's death and her striking out on her own leave her in much different circumstances both physically and mentally. I would be very disappointed if, in season two, another parental figure takes Lee's place and the same dynamic is simply repeated.

I expect Telltale to thrust players in an equally challenging situation for season two; testing our perceptions of Clementine up to this point. How does she relate to other survivors given what she's gone through? How has her personality changed? What else has happened between any time that has elapsed between the two seasons that might have affected her? We as players are going to have to make some tough decisions as Clementine, and how will our previous perception of her and who we think she is influence what choices we make?

Even from a gameplay perspective, season two could be a different experience. What will combat be like when controlling a child versus being able to rely on Lee's brawn? If we have to control Clementine for the action portions, they could be a lot more tense with less room for error. Or perhaps we'll play as other characters or there will be fewer outright action sequences instead.

Like most zombie stories, The Walking Dead is less about zombies than it is about people themselves. I think season two is going to say a lot about Clementine and what we as players think about her.

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