Ex-Telltale Developers Share Alternate Walking Dead Endings And Other Gags

Gif: Jake Rodkin

Telltale is no more, and its smoldering remains are being sued for failing to give hundreds of employees adequate notice or compensation. There’s a faint glimmer of a silver lining, though. Ex-employees have been sharing odds and ends from their time at Telltale, and now they’ve gotten to the primo stuff: the goofs.


Today, Jake Rodkin, a director on The Walking Dead season one who went on to help found Firewatch studio Campo Santo, posted an alternate ending to the beloved zombie tale. In it, Lee, pale and sunken-eyed with the knowledge that he’s been bitten, does what any of us would do in his situation: he goes on an acrobatic zombie-punching rampage.

At one point, Lee catches the top portion of a bifurcated zombie cranium and wears it like a hat. It is, I feel, much truer to the story Rodkin and company were clearly trying to tell, but also too boundary-pushing for 2012's naive gaming landscape.

“The last week of production on Season 1, it was just me and [ex-creative director Sean Ainsworth] left waiting for any last minute bugs,” Rodkin wrote on Twitter to explain the origins of the clip. “He made this during that stir crazy week.”

Elsewhere, former Telltale marketing media producer Shaun Finney made a tall tale using Telltale’s tools:

Lee’s growth spurt is either accompanied or triggered by a cartoon slide whistle sound effect, depending on your interpretation of The Walking Dead’s underlying themes and meanings.


Then there’s little details, like this very bad drawing of former creative director Dennis Lenart, drawn by fellow former creative director Nick Herman as part of a challenge:


“The drawing of Dennis was a disaster, and immediately got put on a WANTED poster, which instantly appeared across the office, and in at least one game (TWD 101),” Rodkin said on Twitter.

Former senior writer Eric Stirpe shared his personal Mona Lisa, the cinematic test that got him hired:

Sam and Max: good as a video game, better as a puppet show.

Lastly, I leave you with this Sam and Max “Banang” Easter egg, which defies description:

“Banang was born from one of those late nights,” Herman said of the gag, which centers around silly pronunciations of a beverage on Sam’s desk. “[Voice actor] David Nowlin’s read of ‘Banang’ had me cracking up. Jake and I riffed on a bunch of stupid ideas for hiding an Easter egg, and I choreographed it that night.”

Kotaku senior reporter. Beats: Twitch, streaming, PC gaming. Writing a book about streamers tentatively titled "STREAMERS" to be published by Atria/Simon & Schuster in the future.


Mortal Dictata

I loved so much of the content here but on some level I know it’s that “just have a laugh” culture that no doubt was one of the factors that may have led to this shitty outcome of the studio not running properly.

If I recall correctly back when TWD Season One was made they had no physics engine implemented so all the “physics” stuff had to be painstakingly done bit by bit and that “joke” video must’ve taken serious time and money to put together when they were already known for being lax on quality control for bugs (something that would later harm sales and fan mood)...