Farewell, Old Friend. You Did Good Kid 


Art created as a promo by artists from Skybound Games/Telltale

A promotional picture for the final season with Clementine and AJ pictured. This picture is also used in some select covers of physical copies of the game.

Geoffrey Gracia, staff writer, website editor, layout editor

Goodbyes. The only thing that is ever truly guaranteed. Losing someone. The worst feeling one can have is the crushing feelings of grief and wanting to have one more moment with those who have gone. 

This grief is precisely how I felt after finishing Telltale’s The Walking Dead: The Final Season and being forced to give one final goodbye to Clementine, a character I had watched grow up and mature as I simultaneously got older over the years alongside her. 

The game was also the last game that Telltale produced before their shutdown in 2019, so it was yet another farewell, instead of to a company who had played a part in my young life and who’s games I had played and lived through. 

The game itself takes place in a zombie apocalypse and is primarily a point-and-click adventure game; however, it goes beyond this narrowed gameplay mindset in its story execution. All of the games in the Telltale Walking Dead series (as well as the rest of the games in the Telltale catalog) include a “dialogue tree ” system that allows the player to choose what the character says or does in a situation. 

The game revolves around the player’s dialogue choices and situational choices to determine the story’s outcome: the game is specifically marketed to be “tailored by how you play.” 

The choices and character development are truly what allowed me and many other players to connect with the characters in the series. Even though each game’s main character can differ, it is arguably Clementine, and in the series’ final “season,” it is Clementine who we as players have to wave goodbye to.

From the very beginning, it is Clementine who we are introduced to, through the eyes of the first game’s character: Lee Everett. The first game starts with Lee on his way to prison in a police cruiser after an altercation that would later be explained in the game and gets into an accident when the policeman swerves off the road to avoid a crossing zombie. Lee wakes up and is surrounded by zombies and has to flee while hobbling with an injured leg. 

Lee climbs a fence into a residential area to discover what seems to be an abandoned home until Clementine sees him inside the house from her tree-house and radios in on a walkie talkie. We are first introduced to her when she is all alone and very young (8 years old). She only wants to stay home, hoping that her parents will return from their vacation in Savannah, Georgia (story mainly takes place in the state of Georgia). 

In the second game, you play as Clementine herself, who has to get by on her own, without Lee or her actual parents as a young preteen (11). She joins a couple of groups along the way and encounters a few old friends and some new ones. She eventually ends up finding herself in a care-taking position for an orphaned newborn named AJ. 

The third game follows an entirely different family in Javier Garcia and his caravan. But Clementine still makes an appearance and seems a lot more hardened since the end of the second game, despite it only being about two years later. However, no AJ. 

The fourth and final game follows Clementine once again, three years after the third season (16), as she steps in to fill in as a mother for reacquired AJ, who is only 5. The game revolves around what life lessons Clementine teaches AJ and how he turns out as a person at the end of it all. 

The games are essentially a path of growth. We, as players, see Clementine grow older and become more independent. But for me as well as others, we, the players, grew up as well. We followed Clementine on her extensive journey while also applying those experiences to our own. The games being spanned across different years means aging, but as we aged, so did the character. 

But through all the different games, we had to play different roles. A parent, a mentor, a teacher, and a friend. But in some of the other games, all there’s left to do is just play as a helpless observer to how Clementine has turned out as a person after all of the mentoring. 

I had played through all of the games, and when I finally came to the fourth, I had been through all of the experiences and solemn moments and felt that there was a healthy regard that I had for Clementine’s character. It had been a long journey for both of us.

I had already had to act as a parent as Lee but little did I know, having to parent AJ as Clementine was a whole new monster. It was much more emotionally provoking than it was as Lee, mainly because I could relate to Clementine’s struggles as a teenager. 

It was so emotionally provoking that I cried a total of three times. I shed a few tears when Lee came back to give Clementine a message from beyond the grave. I cried at the end when having to make AJ’s most challenging decision. But that doesn’t even hold a candle to being able to see Clementine at the very end and say my final goodbyes to the beloved characters, memories, and the series as a whole: I bawled. 

I ended up being very emotional for around a day or two because of how much I wanted to give Clementine a happy ending and the best farewell I could provide. I ended up going back and doing that. It was therapeutic. I felt delighted that I could finally put it to rest with a clear mind and feel satisfied with what I had chosen as the final ending. 

I ended up emailing Clementine’s voice actor after I completed the game in an attempt to thank anybody for the utterly unique experience the Walking Dead series was and how much Telltale’s work as a whole affected the lives of thousands that have played the games and hold in a place near and dear to their heart. 

Telltale’s The Walking Dead was much more than just a game or several. It was a lifetime experience. It was something that only comes along every once in a while that is not defined by a genre or category. I will always remember it as not only one of my favorite games/series but also as something more unique… more vivacious… more alive