Warning: This post contains spoilers for Minecraft Story Mode: Episode 4
Damn it, Telltale Games. I had such higher expectations for your storytelling abilities after nearly coming to tears while playing your Walking Dead games (especially during the endings). But you let me down with the fourth episode of Minecraft Story Mode.
Only four of the game’s five episodes are available at the moment, but the fifth should be available at the end of January. The plan was to ration the four available episodes over the course of a week and a half. Of course that didn’t happen, and I zoomed all the way through the available episodes. I’d done a bit of Googling to figure out a puzzle or two, so I’d come across a few not-really-spoilers. Pretty much saying that the end of episode four was very, very sad.
What does sad typically mean in a Telltale game? Someone dies. (The other option is a much-loved character goes away for good, but there hadn’t been any characters around long enough to make a connection like that with players.) And according to storytelling tropes, either the dog/pet pig would kick the bucket or the already sick “hero” would die of his illness. I wanted so badly for someone else to die, one of the sidekicks or even the long-lost-then-reunited friend. But I didn’t have high hopes for that happening.
Fast-forward to the climactic battle scene. The main character must launch herself into the evil, destructive Wither Storm, and her pet pig tags along at the last minute. I muttered they’re going to kill the $%#*ing pig under my breath the moment it happened. Sure enough, the pig saves the day and then dies a heroic death.
Like seriously? Come on, Telltale Games. A pet pig may not be a dog, but you’re doing the same exact thing they did in Old Yeller, Where the Red Fern Grows, and every other book/movie/story where the beloved pet dies. Killing a pet to make the main character grow up and become more serious has been done. Like done so much that it feels like a sneaky way to make viewers sad.
Want to make a reader/viewer/player sad, Telltale? Be original (you did it in the finales of both Walking Dead games). Don’t go for the easy target like the pet especially in a game geared towards younger players.
Take a look at the real consequences of war and disasters instead. Highlight the loss of the main character’s home and their old life. Cause permanent physical injury to a character. And if the story won’t be the same without someone dying, kill a friend or hero.
Just don’t kill the freaking dog.