Clementine, the vulnerable 8 year old girl you're tasked with protecting in Telltale's The Walking Dead, is one of the most iconic characters in games this year. In a new feature detailing the character's inception, Telltale reveals that the game was always designed to center around her. "Clementine was literally the first idea," writer Sean Vanaman revealed. "From the beginning, the designers knew they wanted a character that would act as a moral compass for the main character as he progressed through the game."
"My daughter was a major inspiration for me because she is always telling me my business," art director Derek Sakai told Game Informer in a character profile. The brutal honesty children can often impose was one of the main reasons Telltale knew The Walking Dead needed a protagonist like Clementine. "[My daughter] is only five, but if I step out of line she is always the first to call me on it," Sakai added.
The game was always meant to focus on Clementine. Before Lee was decided as Clementine's playable companion, Telltale experimented with having players assume the role of Clementine's brother. However, that decision eventually was axed because, according to Vanaman, "a pre-existing relationship would be too much to ask a player to take on."
It's clear that players feel a significant bond with Telltale's child heroine. If the critical accolades and awards weren't enough, the ongoing use of their marketing #forClementine hashtag should be proof enough on how invested gamers have become with the character.