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video feature

Peter Molyneux Dissects Telltale's The Walking Dead With Its Writer

by Ben Hanson on Jun 18, 2013 at 12:26 PM

Two years ago at E3 I shot a one-on-one interview between Bethesda's Todd Howard and Mojang's Notch. It was an odd pairing, but I continue to receive a lot of positive responses to the video. This year at E3 I decided to schedule more videos that have developers that are fans of each other's work discuss whatever they would like. As a co-host of the Idle Thumbs podcast and creative lead/writer for Telltale's acclaimed The Walking Dead, Sean Vanaman's list of developers that he'd like to talk to on camera was topped by Peter Molyneux. Known for games like Black & White, Fable, and the upcoming Godus from his new company 22 Cans, Peter Molyneux is a colossal fan of The Walking Dead and was gracious enough to agree to this odd interview.

Watch the video below to hear these two developers discuss the writing process, Curiosity and other experiments from 22 Cans, the best way to survive a zombie apocalypse, and even drop a couple of hints about the second season of The Walking Dead. I've added timecode notes below the video if you'd like to jump around and hear them discuss a specific topic.

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0:00 - Peter Molyneux explains why he loves The Walking Dead from Telltale Games

6:50 - Sean Vanaman talks about his personal history and how he ended up working on The Walking Dead

8:40 - The two discuss the importance of voice actors

11:40 - Molyneux analyzes the character of Clementine from The Walking Dead

13:30 - Molyneux explains his creative process and the struggle of waiting for brilliant ideas

16:35 - Vanaman offers advice on how to get in to the industry and the importance of reading

20:55 - The downside of adapting books into films and the Harry Potter series

24:23 - How reading informs good game design and the challenge of character motivations

26:50 - Experimentation in games versus a guided narrative

29:45 - Why absolute freedom in games is not as good as it sounds

32:17 - Designing the opening of The Walking Dead's second episode

34:05 - Molyneux and Vanaman discuss Heavy Rain

39:26 - Designing the beginning of a game, and the opening moments from the Fable series

45:20 - The temptation of adding a lengthy tutorial to your game

47:30 - The Walking Dead and why the team wanted to create magic for 3% of its players

51:00 - Molyneux talks about Curiosity: What's Inside the Cube and the other game design experiments that he has planned

53:52 - Molyneux talks about his quest to make "one" great game in his life, his hopes for Godus, and the changing demographics of gaming

58:20 - Lessons from playtesting Telltale's The Walking Dead

1:00:20 - Finding meaningful feedback for your game

1:05:40 - The downside of offering feedback on games from Rare and Supergiant Games

1:08:50 - Teasing the second season of The Walking Dead and balancing the trinity of the game, the show, and the graphic novel

1:13:31 - The rise of zombie/survival fiction in our culture

1:16:42 - Molyneux's old game design about the end of the world

1:18:26 - Vanaman and Molyneux explain what they would do in the event of a zombie outbreak

If you'd prefer to listen to this interview as an audio file, I've attached an MP3 of the full discussion below.