Clementine (The Walking Dead)
|The Walking Dead character|
Clementine, as depicted in The Walking Dead
|First game||The Walking Dead|
|Voiced by||Melissa Hutchison|
Clementine is a character introduced as one of the main non-playable characters in Telltale Games' The Walking Dead episodic adventure video game, a spin-off of the Robert Kirkman comic of the same name. She is voiced by Melissa Hutchison and was written by several people, including Gary Whitta. The second season of the game features Clementine as the lead character.
Clementine is a young 8-year-old girl living with her parents in an Atlanta suburb. While her parents were away, she was forced to join a group of survivors in an effort to find safety in midst of a zombie apocalypse. Through the plot, Clementine develops a strong bond with the player-protagonist Lee Everett, a former fugitive who becomes her new guardian. Being one of the first elements created for the game, Clementine was designed to act as a moral compass for the player in addition to an influence on the player's decisions, to which the player would have to reflect upon.
Clementine was considered an emotional centerpiece of the The Walking Dead game, and several journalists expressed caring for her fate in a way that few other games have been able to capture.
Concept and creation
Clementine appeared in the 2012 episodic video game The Walking Dead as a main character. According to the game's creative lead Sean Vanaman, Clementine was "literally the first idea" for developing the game, with her emotional climax at the finale of the fifth episode being established before any of the game's other dialog was written. The development team had considered the including of a child in a dark storyline was similar to previous story elements from Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead comic, but still had a difficult time of selling the concept originally. They then set to use Clementine as the "moral compass" for the main player character, establishing her as a "smart, honest, and capable girl" that would reflect on choices made by the player. Telltale had considered other backgrounds for Clementine, such as being from a single-parent family, or being the younger sister of the player character, but found that the pre-established emotional bond between the characters did not fit well, and instead opted to make Lee Everett her father-figure. This led to changing Clementine's race from white to African-American, as to give her the appearance of possibly being Lee's daughter to other characters.
Clementine's design was based on art director Derek Sakai's own daughter. Sakai described her as having "a crazy sense of fashion", selecting beloved clothing items to wear regularly. As such, Clementine was given an iconic baseball hat that serves as her connection to her parents. Sakai provided Vanaman with other advice from his fatherhood, offering that Clementine would appear smarter if she did not say as much, while still pointing out character flaws should one get out of line. Much of the game focuses on changes to Clementine's appearances and personality as she comes to grips with the new reality of the zombie-infested world. At the start of the game, Clementine is wearing a clean white dress, but it becomes dirty and soiled throughout the game, "reflecting her loss of innocence", according to Sakai.
Melissa Hutchison, a voice actress that had previously worked on other Telltale games, was selected to be the voice for Clementine. Prior auditions were held, but Vanaman found that children could not grasp the emotion of the role while adults were not able to get the voice as they intended for the character; at one point, for lack of a suitable actress, Vanaman felt that "we were going to have to take Clementine out of the game". Hutchison was able to relate to the character of Clementine, as her life mirrored that of the character, and easily fell into the role of the character during auditions, securing her as the voice for Clementine.
The bond between Clementine and Lee was considered instrumental to the game by Telltale. Gary Whitta described Lee's and Clementine's relationship as "emotionally authentic". To build this relation, Clementine was introduced as early as possible within the first episode; the specific scene of Lee having to deal with Clementine's zombified babysitter was specifically to highlight Clementine's likability, resourcefulness, and vulnerability. The writers carefully had to balance elements in this scene, as if, for example, Clementine appeared to be annoying to the player, the emotional bond would be absent and the player would likely make choices without caring about Clementine's fate. Writer Jake Rodkin stated that the difficulties of writing a child character that the player wouldn't want to abandon led to serious discussion about dropping Clementine late in the development process, a week before voice recording was to start. The game designer and writer Harrison G. Pink commented that the in-game decisions were not meant to be good because there couldn't be an optimal play-through. Clementine made those decisions even more difficult, since her presence forces the player to consider protecting her on another level. "It gets way more blurred when you involve Clementine," Pink said. "You have these decisions that are probably the right decisions for the group--she's watching, but then maybe she needs to understand this, but I might scare her because she'll think I'm a crazy person. There's no wrong choice, if you can justify it and it feels properly motivated to you, it's a valid choice."
With the game's Season Two, Clementine becomes the main playable character, a choice that allowed them to continue the themes of the first season while introducing new characters and situations for the second. Telltale was first challenged to try to make Clementine feel like the character that the player, through making decisions as Lee, had groomed. One method this was resolved by was to create the first scenario of the game to put the player in control of Clementine's actions that have disastrous results (the death of one character and being separated from another) as to make the player felt as if they had made those choices and separating them from familiar characters. Further, they had to consider how to present Clementine as a character that could make substantial changes on the world and characters around her despite being a child.
The Walking Dead video game
Clementine is introduced in a post-apocalyptic world of zombies when the player-protagonist Lee Everett takes shelter in her suburban home in Georgia. She is revealed to be hiding from the zombies as her parents had left for Savannah some time before the spread of 'plague'. Recognizing that Clementine would remain in danger, Lee offers to take and protect her, hoping that they will be able to find her parents. The two characters eventually meet Kenny, his wife Katjaa and son Duck at a farm. They all head for Macon where they join another group of survivors. After having holed up in a motel for three months with dwindling supplies, the group is forced to flee due to the motel being overrun by bandits and walkers they go into the rv Kenny got working and eventually started heading to Savannah via a train. En route, Lee starts to help Clementine learn survival skills such as how to use a gun. As they near the city, Clementine's walkie-talkie goes off, revealing a man that knows of Lee's actions to this point and promises Clementine that she will be safe once he deals with Lee.
In Savannah, the survivors look for a boat and supplies to flee the mainland. They encounter another group of survivors led by Vernon, a doctor. With Vernon's help, they are able to prepare the boat for their journey; before Vernon leaves them, he warns Lee that he does not think he is a fit person to be Clementine's guardian, and offers to take the child, but Lee refuses. The next morning, Lee wakes to find Clementine gone, and while searching nearby, is bitten by a zombie. With what little time he has with his intelligence, Lee and the other survivors agree to look for Clementine. The man on the walkie-talkie reveals he has taken Clementine, and tells her she will be safe at the hotel that her parents would have been at. While making their way to the hotel, Lee is separated from the others and promises to meet them at the outskirts of town with Clementine. Barely hanging onto consciousness, Lee makes it to the hotel, and finds the man; the man explains that Lee's group had previously taken provisions from his family's car, and ultimately leading to the death of his wife and children, and goes to question Lee's other decisions. When the man is shown as insane, talking to his wife's severed head in a bag, Lee gets Clementine's help to subdue the man. They make it out of the hotel where they see Clementine's parents as zombies before Lee passes out.
When Lee wakes, he is out of strength and barely able to keep conscious, but finds Clementine has dragged him to safety. With his time short, Lee helps Clementine secure keys and a gun to escape to the rooftops, and instructs her to find the other survivors. The player has the option of having Lee ask Clementine to shoot and kill him before he turns, or to flee before his conversion. Clementine is then seen in the country, watching two figures approach from the distance.
The Walking Dead: Season Two
Prior to Season Two's formal announcement, Telltale affirmed that Clementine will "definitely be a part of" the second season of The Walking Dead. The full announcement of the game revealed that Clementine will be the player-character in this series.
In Season Two, Clementine has been able to regroup with Omid and Christa. An encounter with a scavenger leaves Omid dead, and Christa blames Clementine for his death. Sixteen months later, the two are attacked by more scavengers, and Clementine is separated from Christa. As she looks for shelter and food, she is bitten by a dog, and is nearly killed by walkers before another survivor group rescues her and take her back to a protected farmhouse. They fear the dog bite is a walker bite, and lock her away fearing she might turn without giving her proper medical attention. She is able to secure a needle, thread, and bandages from sneaking into the house, and staves off a walker attack, convincing the group she is still human, however, not all the group appreciate her presence with them. When the group finds the house by a man named Carver who they believe will harm them, the group relocates to a ski lodge further north, where Clementine is amazed to find Kenny still alive and part of another survivor group, having managed to escape the walkers in Savannah. However, the two groups are distrustful of each other despite Clementine's attempt to mediate the hostilities. In the midst of a walker attack, they are both saved by Carver and his men who have been following them, and after a bloody stand off that costs two lives (or three, depending on the player's actions), Carver and his group take Clementine and the rest prisoner to their camp downhill.
Once they arrive at Carver's camp the group are kept as relative prisoners and are set to work. During this time Luke, a member of the group who escaped capture, finds Clementine and asks for a radio. The group agree to help and find a way out. Using help from one of the camps members, a woman called Bonnie, Clementine attempts to get the radio to Luke. Clementine is caught and Carver beats up Kenny after he hands in the radio, depending on the decision made, for Clementine. After this the group make a plan to escape, once again, using Clementine's help. They manage to attract a herd of walkers using speakers and escape the compound, Carver is killed. During the escape at least one person dies, or two depending on your decision. If you decide to keep the arm of one of the group members, who has been bitten, she will die later.
The group gets back together and they search for shelter and supplies as one of the women, Rebecca, is about to have a baby. You find two survivors from your group and one could die in the trailer park, it depends on your decision. While searching for shelter you have the choice to take medical supplies from a man supposedly getting them to his sister. Once you have shelter a herd of walkers will force you to hide in the observation deck (the shelter). During this time the deck will collapse. If you chose to save your friend in the trailer park she will die here. After you are safe Rebecca will have her baby. A member of your group will also leave. There will be friction between two group members. The following day Clementine and the remaining group will attempt to travel to a church they can see from the observation deck. However, they will be ambushed by the man who was getting medical supplies for his sister. If you chose to allow him to have the medical supplies earlier you can attempt to reason with him. During the stand off a member of your group will appear to die and you will have a choice whether to call for help or shoot her. The two sides will then start shooting each other.
To be added.
Many journalists consider Clementine to be an emotional centerpoint of The Walking Dead game, an accomplishment that few other video game characters have made. Game Informer's Kimberley Wallace describes the character of Clementine as having "broken through the barrier [of the television screen], securing a place in the hearts of many". IGN's Colin Campbell said in his article that Clementine is designed to elicit "super-protective instincts" in the player. "Without Clementine, Lee is just some dude trying to stay alive, but she (a slightly over-cooked innocent) allows him to be sympathetic to us." commented Campbell. N.D. Mackay, writing in The Herald, described the relationship with Clementine as "the heart-breaking bedrock of the game." Kotaku's Kirk Hamilton writes that Clementine is a well-done, real-feeling character in the game. "...[she] is pretty great. She's cute and funny, smarter than she lets on, yet she still acts like a kid. She's one of the most realistically drawn kids I've encountered in a video game in some time." says Hamilton. GamesRadar's Hollander Cooper and Sterling McGarvey wrote that the hopelessness of the world would be infectious if not for her constant optimism, giving you something to fight for. "She’s slow to adapt to the fact that good and evil are now meaningless, and her innocence keeps the concept of hope alive in the survivors..." they stated. The Sunday Herald states that "Clementine is the real emotional heart of this game".
During the game's episodic release, players frequently used the Twitter hashtag "#forclementine" to reflect how much the character had influenced them. Vanaman was surprised but pleased with this response, stating that "the fact that people care about Clementine is invaluable".
Melissa Hutchinson as Clementine was nominated for and won the award for "Best Performance By a Human Female" at the 2012 Spike TV Video Game Awards. Hutchinson's performance has also been nominated in the "Performance" category for the 2013 British Academy Video Games Awards.
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