SDCC: Robert Kirkman, Telltale Games Spill Secrets of "The Walking Dead"

There were plenty of dead things shambling about at Comic-Con International in San Diego, and a huge part of that was due to the immense popularity of "The Walking Dead" Image Comics title and AMC television show. Not to be outdone, Telltale Games, the developer responsible for the hit video game featuring Robert Krkman's undead horrors, hosted a panel to discuss the future of the franchise.

Asked why he teamed up with Telltale Games for a video game, Kirkman explained that he was a fan of the company -- he likes their "Homestar Runner" game series -- and was immediately on-board with the developer when they explained what they had in mind for the story.

Kevin Day of Telltale said it took a little bit of effort to present everything the developer wanted to accomplish to Kirkman, citing a key moment in convincing Kirkman, where you had to kill your zombified brother to get a key in the drugstore in the first chapter of the series.

A clip from the original game was shown, where Lee, the escaped convict you play as in the game, enters a house looking for clues where he meets Clementine, a young girl. As voicemails from her parents play in the background, Lee looks around the house, slipping on some blood on the floor. During the scene, the voicemails become more emotional, as the parents realize they may never see their child again.

After the clip, Day talked about how the game's emotional level rises to similar levels throughout, and how much Kirkman was satisfied with it.

The team then discussed the PS Vita edition of the game, which will be releasing this fall. Day called it a much deeper experience on the handheld, due to the touch-screen interaction. A special PS Vita system bundle will be released on August 20, including the full game, along with the supplementary "400 Days" DLC, on the system. You can also buy it separately that day if you already own the Vita, but there's no word on pricing at this point.

Another video was then shown, featuring players' reactions at pivotal points in the game, where certain characters were immediately killed off. It took a lot of folks by surprise.

The emotional state of the game was then discussed, with Kirkman expressing his attachment to the characters, and how upset he gets when he says goodbye to one of them. This led to another video, showcasing the conclusion of the game featuring Lee and Clementine. More reactions were shown from gamers, mostly with them crying. It ended with one user, Mortar, exclaiming, "Telltale Games, what the fuck?!" while holding back his tears.

Miller then asked when we could expect Season 2, which made the crowd erupt in anticipation. Day said, "We're hard at work" on the next season, and would be coming out sometime this fall.

The floor then opened up for Q & A, the first fan asking about what happened to beloved character Kenny. Day replied there are two sides to that situation, but he wouldn't mind seeing him again. He then hinted that his situation might be addressed in season two.

Another fan asked about character crossovers in future releases for the game. Kirkman said the possibilities were open for season two, but didn't provide any further details.

The subject of "The Walking Dead" being presented in episodic form succeeded was broached, Day saying that this structure was perfect for setting up cliffhangers, as well as controlling the pacing and timing of the storytelling.

Next, a fan asked what it would take to fire the Capcom staff and have Telltale work on the "Resident Evil" franchise. Day joked, "Storm the gates?" That got a good laugh out of the crowd with the fan approaching the panel to give the development crew a fist pound.

There were a lot of questions about season two, but Day explained that the team still needs to go over content with Kirkman over the next couple of months to make sure it works. More details should be revealed closer to fall, however, they did hint that Clementine would possibly return. The game will also be released for both PS3 and PS Vita, along with Steam/PC and Xbox 360. And judging by the cheering crowd, the next season of "The Walking Dead" can't come soon enough.

"The Walking Dead" is available now for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC/Steam, and will release on PS Vita on August 20.

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