Since Robert Kirkman’s zombie graphic novel burst onto screens in 2010, The Walking Dead has become something of a pop culture phenomenon. The show has been one of the most successful and most watched programs in recent history, as well as spawning a spin-off show and a world of merchandise. But that’s not the only thing to branch out in the zombie-infected world of The Walking Dead. There’s also been a wide array of video games, including Telltale’s The Walking Dead, The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Michonne and 400 Days, The Walking Dead: Reckoning, The Walking Dead: Road to Redemption and The Walking Dead Social Game.
In a world where every major franchise is trying to match the Marvel formula by weaving all of its properties together into either one intricate universe, or an Easter egg laden wink to fans, it comes as no surprise that The Walking Dead might also try its hand at this. While there have been multiple lists about easter Eggs and connections between the comics and the shows (even between the show and its spin-off) we’ve decided to have a look at how exactly the video games work into this world.
Here are 15 Ways The Walking Dead Video Games Connect To The Comics (And Show).
15. Hershel’s Origins
The most successful of all the Walking Dead video games has to be Telltale’s The Walking Dead Game, which won several “Game of the Year” awards when it was released in 2012. The game is an episodic, interactive, narrative-based game where you play as a man named Lee who is being taken to prison – that is until the zombie apocalypse gets in the way.
The game makers have said that the game takes place in the comic’s universe, rather than the TV show’s, and during the game’s first “season” you meet two very familiar faces along the way — Glenn Rhee and Hershel Green.
Hershel’s storyline is unique because during gameplay you get to not only see, but also be directly a part of his origin story. You are there when a walker kills his son Shawn and it is you who’s unable to save him. A grieving Hershel understandably reacts poorly and throws you and your group off his farm. Of course any Walking Dead fan will know that, because of this event, Hershel keeps walkers locked up in the barn, as he believes that his loved ones can be cured. And now we know it’s because a man named Lee Everett came to stay…
14. What Happened To The Dixon Brothers
When the Dixon brothers were written into the show, no one could have foreseen just how popular one of them would turn out to be. But now, of course, we all know The Walking Dead just wouldn’t be the same as it is today without everyone’s favourite redneck, Daryl, and the video game developers know that as well. In 2013 Activision published a first person shooter game based on what happened to the Dixon brothers before they found their way to the group outside of Atlanta.
The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct allows players to assume the role of the crossbow-toting badass, as he sets out to find his brother Merle and tries not to get eaten in the process (spoiler alert: he doesn’t). We find out the Dixons had a father named Will and a half-uncle named Jess (who both die in the zombie apocalypse), and that Merle was on the run from soldiers who were trying to arrest him.
We even get the origin story of Daryl’s signature weapon, the crossbow, as he and Merle battle a gang who had double-crossed the older brother and stolen it. Luckily Daryl finds it on the body of a walker and is reunited with the weapon, ready to carry it to Atlanta where he’ll meet our other heroes.
13. Where Michonne Went
In the comics there is a period of time just after the arc with the Saviors and the Kingdom, where Michonne disappears for 13 issues and is later revealed to be on a boat, having run away out of guilt at the death of her daughters. Comic book fans where left wondering exactly what Michonne had gotten up to during this time — and that’s where the Telltale game comes in.
In 2016, after the popularity of the original Telltale game, the creators made a standalone Michonne special, consisting of 3 episodes that span that time when she was away. We see her on the boat from the comics and we get to meet the crew that man it as well as multiple characters that Michonne encounters along the way.
The adventure leads directly back into the comics, with Michonne facing her guilt over the deaths of her daughters (even going so far as having Rick-style visions of them), and it ends with her being urged to return to Alexandria and her group. The continuity with the comics then picks up nicely; Michonne appears on the boat, and she even shares with Rick what’s been happening in her head in relation to her daughters — something that has a whole new meaning after playing this game.
12. Pete and Siddiq
Speaking of the Michonne standalone series; it not only connects the dots with Michonne’s storyline but also shows the origin story of two other comic book characters. Siddiq and Pete are two secondary characters who appear in the comic book universe and have a connection to Michonne’s mysterious missing time period. It’s not until the release of the standalone Telltale series that we get to see first-hand what that connection is.
In the story, Siddiq and Pete are two of the characters who join Michonne on her journey in the game. Both Pete and Siddiq are present for a sizeable amount of the plot (especially Pete, who is the secondary main of the story) and both form a trusting bond with the katana-wielding badass along the way. Michonne even tells Siddiq where to find Alexandria at the end of the game, and we can only assume this is what leads him to joining the group — as we see in Issue 127, when we first meet him as an established member of the community after a 2 year time jump. Pete also eventually makes his way into the narrative, not long down the track. The Telltale game does a great job of filling in all the gaps we didn’t get to see when those comics here first published.
11. What Happens in King County
When we first meet Shane and Rick in the TV show, they are serving the King County Sheriffs Department with a rather dimwitted deputy named Leon Basset, who we later see in the pilot episode has fallen to the walkers and become one himself. Rick sees him and, though admitting the careless deputy wasn’t his favourite person, decides he can’t leave him this way and puts him down.
When the interactive online game The Walking Dead: Dead Reckoning was released we finally got to see what happened to Leon and to the Grimes’ home town as a whole. In the game, where you play as Shane Walsh, you start investigating strange occurrences in the town and it’s not long before you’re having to fight off locals who have become walkers. During that time, you not only get to see how the apocalypse initially affected the small town, but you also get a small glimpse into what Shane went through – including shooting his ex-girlfriend who he still had feelings for. No wonder he’s so messed up.
The game ends when Shane decides to go to the hospital to check on Rick after receiving text messages from Lori. He leaves Leon in charge of the police station and, as he walks away, we the audience see Leon being attacked from behind by a deputy that was bitten earlier in the game. Poor dumb Leon didn’t stand a chance…
10. Andrea and Amy’s Parents
When we first meet sisters Amy and Andrea in both the comics and the TV show, they are already on their own, hoping their parents are alive out there somewhere. Unfortunately the Harrison family never get to reunite in either medium, and because of the Walking Dead: Survival Instinct game, now we know why.
In the game, while playing as Daryl Dixon you run into an older man and his sick wife at one of the places housing survivors. During a conversation with the man you find out that his name is Terry Harrison and he mentions that he came out this way to look for his daughters, Andrea and Amy. In the game you can try to help them as much as possible, but the end result is still pretty much the same. Mrs. Harrison becomes too sick and turns, having to be mercy killed by Terry.
You can choose to leave Terry in order to save another survivor, and then hear him screaming in the distance, obviously being killed (and if you choose to go back and look, this is confirmed by you). The other option is to take him along with you, where he will promptly board a helicopter with an infected passenger and his fate is pretty much sealed.
Considering that Survival Instinct is set in the TV universe, this then confirms the end of the Harrison family after the death of Andrea is season 3.
9. Joining The Survivors in the Social Game
The Walking Dead Social Game might be one of those annoying Facebook games that your friends keep sending you notifications for, but we’d be remiss if we left it out of this list, since it connects directly to the TV show and its characters.
In the game you play as a survivor who is with the group in Atlanta, and are given various missions by characters like Andrea, Michonne, Daryl, and even Rick. You also go to many of the same locations, such as Atlanta (including to the scene with the tank where Rick is stuck), the Greene family farm, and even Woodbury (around where the last chapters take place).
The story diverges a lot from canon, even going so far as to add new survivors to the group so there are people to go on missions with. The game also eventually takes you to the gates of Woodbury — something that never happens in either the comics or the show. Still, it’s a fun little adventure that’s a hell of a lot better than Farmville. You get to kill zombies. Enough said.
8. Telltale is Set in the Future
One major connection that keen-eyed fans have picked up on is that the second season of the Telltale game takes place much later than the majority of the comics, skipping ahead by almost a year. The first season of the game took place in the first 100 or so days of the outbreak, which is around when the group finds shelter at the Green farm in the comics. In fact. according to the Wikia pages, Carl is accidentally shot by Otis the same day that season 1 of the game ends.
After that, the second season takes a massive time jump — taking place 843 days into the apocalypse. Compare this with the majority of the comic book story, which takes place up until 623 days in. It wasn’t until the recent two-year time jump after the defeat of The Saviors (127 issues in) that the comics even caught up to the video game timeline.
And of course the third season of the game already has its first two episodes available, featuring a much more grown up Clementine, so it’s safe to assume that the games might once again leap-frog the timeline of the comics. It’s disappointing news for anyone who was hoping for a crossover anytime soon.
Telltale’s The Walking Dead Game starts off in the same state as the comics and TV show (Georgia in case you couldn’t tell), but while the latter takes place in areas like King County and Atlanta, the games begin in the town of Macon — where the protagonist Lee Everett is from. The iconic Walking Dead Glenn Rhee was also born and raised in this small town, but more on that next in the entry.
The TV show decided to add a little Easter egg for keen-eyed (and eared) fans of the Telltale game, in the fourth season premiere. When out scouting and scavenging, Michonne references the town of Macon twice; once verbally to Daryl and once visually as she runs her finger over a map. The shot shows a brief moment where Michonne’s fingers pass over the town name on the map, giving fans of the games nod and an excuse to cry over Lee and Clementine again.
The only thing cooler than this little Easter egg would have been actually seeing the location onscreen, even if only for a brief moment. Having Michonne walk past a smashed window in front of an electrical store full of TVs, or Daryl finding a walker corpse dressed in a pharmacy uniform would have really been the cherry on top for game fans.
6. Glenn Appears
While anything Glenn-related might be a touchy subject for some folks at the moment, fans might feel a bit better knowing that they can get a third fix of their favourite former pizza delivery boy, outside of the comics and the show. In the Telltale game’s first season, Lee and Clementine run into a familiar face when they get to Lee’s home town of Macon, which makes sense seeing as Glenn was also born and raised in Macon.
In the first episode of season 1, we see what Glenn was up to before we meet him in the comics with Rick — he becomes involved with a group of survivors inside a drugstore in his hometown of Macon, eventually running into and helping our protagonists, Lee and Clem. At the end of the episode, Glenn hears a news broadcast on what is happening in Atlanta and decides he must go help friends of his who are stuck in the city. Of course we’ll never know what happened to these friends, since the next time we see him he is instead rescuing a fellow survivor you might recognize — he goes by the name Rick Grimes.
5. Meriwether County Correctional Facility
In the very first scene of Telltale’s Walking Dead Game, we find our main character Lee handcuffed and sitting in the back of a police car. Through conversation with an overly chatty (and not very observant) police officer, we find out that Lee is on his way to jail for the murder of his wife’s lover. We also find out that Lee is going to the prison. Yes, that prison. The one where a large chunk of Walking Dead story is based.
The Meriwether County Correctional Facility is the place where our survivors create a temporary sanctuary for themselves, both in the comics and in the show. It is also the place that would have held Lee for his jail sentence, had it not been for a well-timed zombie apocalypse outbreak.
Hardcore fans cheered at the little Easter egg link between the comics and the game, and couldn’t help but wonder — if Lee would have been one of the survivors left inside the prison walls, would he have made it to his intended destination?
4. Dale’s Picture
Many keen eyed fans where quick to point out what seemed to be a familiar face on the billboard of the 400 Days menu screen. While it’s never been confirmed (or denied), there does seem to be a small Easter egg slotted into the bulletin board – a photo of someone who looks remarkably like Dale is pinned to the board.
From the scruffy beard to the floppy-brimmed hat, the man in the photo certainly looks like it could be everyones favourite RV-driving old man. It’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility either, considering so much of the story arc takes place in the same state in the South.
If it is an Easter egg for Dale, it seems that it will remain a mystery for the foreseeable future, considering Telltale doesn’t seem to have any plans to revisit the site of the 400 days game and Dale is very much dead in the comics. Whether or not it ever gets confirmedt, we do love the idea of a constant reminder of the wonderful Dale pinned to a bulletin board out there somewhere. Dale and his old man hat legacy will live on.
3. Thomas Richards
In the first scene of the Telltale Walking Dead Game, Lee is being transported to prison in the back of a police car by a rather chatty police officer. During the conversation, the police officer shares a theory with Lee: that those who protest their innocence are usually guilty.
He gives an example of a man who was “one of the worst” but he was crying like a baby and protesting his innocence. When Lee says, “well, maybe he didn’t do it” the officer tells him that they caught the man red-handed in the middle of killing his wife. Fans of the comics soon realize that the man they were talking about was most likely Thomas Richards, one of the prisoners at the Meriwether County Correctional Facility who Rick and Co. meet in the comics.
He then tries that innocent act on Rick and the others,. Unfortunately, they find out too late about his homicidal tendencies; after he brutally murders two of Hershel’s young daughters. Maggie eventually gets her revenge on him, though, by unloading her gun on him.
When the first season of the Telltale Walking Dead Game came out, the character of Lilly was referred to on the official website as being the same Lilly who later appears in the comics at Woodbury with the Governor. The game itself referenced this fact, stating that Lilly was “Woodbury Bound” after she either flees the group or is abandoned.
Later, this revelation was removed from the game and its official website after the companion book Road to Woodbury was published. The book, written by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga, tells the tale of Lilly and her path to becoming a Woodbury resident — which was very different to the story presented in the game. Because of this the game decided to change Lilly’s character to accommodate this new version, making her a separate character who has nothing to do with Woodbury.
The in-game reference was also removed, now stating “What Now?” under her picture, instead of “Woodbury Bound”, once she leaves the group. Considering game-Lilly was the absolute worst, we hope that the answer to ‘What Now?’ is “getting eaten by walkers.”
1. The Little Girl Walker
The first line ever uttered on screen by a Walking Dead character is Rick Grimes calling out to a little blonde girl: “Little girl? I’m a policeman. Little girl?” before the sweet angel turns around to reveal a terrifying zombie child. It’s an iconic moment for the series and is still referenced to this day — but who is the little girl, and how did she get to this state?
Well the answer shows up in the most unlikely of places – the Walking Dead Social Game on Facebook. In the Social Game it is revealed that “Little Girl Walker'” is actually named Summer and that she was once in the group of survivors that our mains are a part of.
When you start playing the game, you are introduced to Summer and her parents, who live at the camp with Shane, Lori, Carl, and others. Her parents don’t last long before being killed by walkers, and neither does her Uncle Jesse, whom you find dead on your travels. Summer is so distraught by that she runs away.
The last time you see her is in a scene at the end of the episode, where she is entering a gas station as two walkers limp towards her. Of course we all know how that ends for her, because the next time we see her is at that same gas station, facing down the barrel of Rick’s Colt Python.
Are there any Walking Dead Easter eggs or connections we missed? Sound off in the comments!