The Walking Dead Season: A New Frontier will offer players the ability to import game saves from any platform, but for those without a game save a Story Generator has been created allowing players to pick up roughly where they left off.
"It’s been four years since we launched The Walking Dead Season One, and so much has happened since that game exploded for us! For the first time we had millions and millions of players and it’s been skyrocketing ever since," explained Telltale CEO Kevin Bruner. "Now we’re here, four years later. We've released “400 Days”, Season Two and explored a whole new aspect of the The Walking Dead with the “Michonne” mini-series. We now have 14 different Walking Dead episodes spread across a dozen or so different devices. When we were getting ready for “A New Frontier” we faced a problem: how do we make sure all these players can continue their story when they may not have their old device and save game, or their platform isn’t supported any longer?"
The answer was to create a Story Generator based on the choices made from 44,000 playthroughs - a number experts said was "statistically significant". From these 44,000 playthroughs some 2,200 choices from each were mapped - including lines of dialogues players selected, things they clicked on, inventory used, etc. These all adds up to more than 96 million data points.
Some fancy K-centroid analysis with an eJaccard distance function allowed Telltale to see the paths players took in the game, and it turns out there were 42.
"There are 42 different "styles" of playing Walking Dead so far," explained Bruner. "That’s what the data shows us. And when we looked at what made each path different, it all made sense. Some of you are pragmatic, some of you are family driven, some like joking with Kenny, some HATE Jane, some empathize with Sara, and of course, those big branchy choices were there as well. The game is kind of like a weird "personality test" that lets you know who you are (or at least who you’re pretending to be).
"Now all we had to do was figure out the right questions to ask, and then we would know which of these 42 paths YOU are probably on."
The Story Generator starts with these 42 paths, and with each asked question eliminates some of them until only one path remains.
"This is how we quickly get to a version of Clementine that will feel right for you, even if we don’t have your old save games," says Bruner. "It obviously won’t be 100% accurate, but it’s within a statistically measurable distance from what you probably did, and that distance is small. The math checks out."
The Walking Dead: A New Frontier will debut Episode 1 on December 20.