In just a few days, Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead series will reach its next chapter with A New Frontier on consoles, mobile, and PC, with the new game to also include a handy Story Generator feature to recreate events from the previous games and continue your story with Clementine.
A blog post from Telltale Games CEO Kevin Bruner shared some new details on the Story Generator feature that will be included in The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series – A New Frontier, which will allow players to generate events and outcomes from the previous seasons of The Walking Dead to incorporate into the game’s third season.
Specifically, Bruner explained that the creation of the Story Generator for The Walking Dead: Season 3 was made to accommodate for players that may no longer have access to previous consoles or systems where their save files may be located, with Bruner explaining on how player decisions will be controlled and used by the system below:
So we had a problem. How do we capture “that”, when “that” is a feeling? Well, one thing we have is mountains and mountains of data. We have millions of play throughs stored on our servers. You’ve seen the “You and 25% of players did this or that”, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Though we don’t keep any personal data, we have every single choice everyone has made. Every dialog line, every thing you clicked on, how long it took you to make a choice, etc. Literally billions of data points. So we thought, is “that” hidden in that sea of data? Fortunately, we live in the era of big data and we’re headquartered just up the way from Silicon Valley. So we found some big brains who know how to find patterns in big data.
They started truly blind. We had no assumptions about what we’d find. We just wanted to know whatever the data told us. We simply couldn’t mine the millions of play throughs by hand, so we started with about 44,000 play throughs (which our brainy friends told us was a “statistically significant data set”). We decided to map 2,200 choices in each play through. These choices are lines of dialogs you selected, things you clicked on, inventory you used, etc. So we have 2,200 choices and 44,000 play throughs, more than 96 million data points. Our brainy scientist friends decided to do a K-centroid analysis with an eJaccard distance function (this is really cool stuff, Google it for more). The way I describe it is that the 96 million data points are like a grassy hill that has different paths worn into it, and this is how we get visibility into those paths. We didn’t know what paths we’d find or how many we’d find, but now we could really see them!
Turns out the number of paths we saw was 42 (coincidentally the answer to life, the universe and everything). There are 42 different “styles” of playing Walking Dead so far. 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).
The Story Generator system in A New Frontier will essentially take into account major decisions from the player and eliminates the other paths “until there’s only one path left,” and allows players to “quickly get to a version of Clementine that will feel right for you.” Though Bruner advised that the system won’t be “100% accurate,” the Story Generator will be “within a statistically measurable distance from what you probably did, and that distance is small” for the outcomes that will available to players in the game’s third season.
The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series – A New Frontier will release for PS4, Xbox One, PC, iOS, and Android on December 20th, 2016 – you can check out several images of the Story Generator in action below: