The Telltales guys make pretty good titles, and while they seem to have no problem supporting Mac/OSX at all, they are somehow very reluctant to publish anything for the Linux platform. I think this is a missed opportunity on their part, especially since most of the work should be done with a Mac port, but whatever. That will not prevent me from playing some of their games on Linux. I will show you how to do that briefly below, but first let me get three things out of the way:
- As far as I am concerned, Telltales’ productions are not really games. I think the world “entertainment” is much more fitting here. Point’n click adventures ARE games since they ask you to look for clues and solve problems and require a certain level of trial and error. The Walking Dead (and many of other Telltales’ titles) have simplified the concept so much that it has almost become a visual novel (that Japanese love, even if there’s only one image changing every 20 pages of text). It does not mean it’s not any good, but it’s just not a game, since you are almost as passive as when you are watching a TV series - and most of your choices make no difference at all anyway.
- Telltales does episodic content. I probably hate episodes about as much as I hate DLCs in general. For TV series, it kind of works, since you get a new episode every single week, so your memory does not completely fade away in between. But games, seriously ? It’s not uncommon to wait for MONTHS before the next episode comes out, and for what, one hour of content ? Seriously ?! If each episode had at least 3-4 hours of length, it might be slightly more tolerable, but that’s not the case. So, I would only recommend buying Telltales’ titles when they are available as a full season and not before.
- The below solution involves WINE. Yup. I’m pragmatic. I take what works. Of course I would prefer a native version (and 90% of my video games purchases are for games ported to Linux), but it seems that all hope is gone with Telltales (and it’s not like the community has never asked or even begged for it) at least for now. Fortunately, WINE actually works pretty well in this use case, and can prevent me from having to care at this point. And no, I don’t dual boot any more, I have wiped my Windows partition for a while already. Hopefully this will be an option for other folks out there on Linux who don’t mind trying things out and see how good it can be.
Now, let’s get down to business.
I am not going to cover the Steam version here, but I am pretty sure it would work just as well. I have purchased the game via GOG (since they started offering Telltales’ titles not too long ago, and DRM-free is preferable when available), and you end up with two files, an installer and a .bin file.
- First, make sure you have PlayonLinux installed. It should be easily available in most distros out there.
- There is no available installer for now for GOG The Walking Dead Season 2, so we will install it as non-listed program.
- When asked, create a new virtual drive for this program.
- Enter a name for this virtual drive. In my case, “WalkingDeadS2”
- “Use another version of Wine” when asked to select which one.
- In the list, you may only have “System”, but PlayOnLinux enables you to keep several versions of Wine installed in parallel. I would recommend you install the latest staging version (1.7.47-stating at the time of writing) and select that one when installing The Walking Dead Season 2. I tried with a couple of earlier Wine versions and it refused to work for some others.
- Choose a 64 bits Windows install.
- It will then ask for the executable file to install. If you got your file from GOG just like me, it is probably something like “setup_walking_dead_season_2_22.214.171.124.exe” while the version number may differ.
- The GOG installer should start up just fine, and progress till the end - it will throw an error at once point as it fails to find a shutdown command, but take no issue with it. The install worked.
- When asked by the GOG installer, do not launch the game right now (while you could), but exit the installer, and choose the file called “WalkingDead2.exe” as shortcut when asked by PlayonLinux. You can then rename that shortcut if you like. Then choose “do not add any other shortcut” and you are done - you now have a Walking Dead S2 launcher icon right in your PlayonLinux menu.
Here’s the whole process in video:
Now, if you are wondering how well it runs, here’s a video taken from my Linux laptop (a X220 from Lenovo running Linux Mint 17). It’s not a recent laptop by any standard, and only has Intel integrated graphics. Since The Walking Dead S2 is not a demanding game, it runs fine even under WINE in these conditions. For anything faster than this hardware it will be hard to find anything different compared to a native version seeing how well it runs. That’s how far WINE (and WINE-staging) has come, and this is really remarkable from a technical point of view. Obviously it’s still a hit and miss solution (many games refuse to run on WINE still, and DX11 support is not planned until the end of 2015) but when it works, it tends to work really well.
Note: the below captures shows a summary of The Walking Dead Season 1 - so if you do not want any spoiler, do NOT watch this video :)
By the way, I did the game from start to finish in this configuration, so I can also confirm that there are no bugs down the road preventing you from completing the game. So you can safely buy on GOG and enjoy it nonetheless on Linux.
Now, if you are wondering if it’s a good game to begin with, let me touch on that briefly. If you have never played The Walking Dead before, I would recommend you start with Season 1 since it’s the best one so far in terms of writing and story (while I did not like the trope they used in the last episode, which feels completely artificial). Season 2 is OK overall, while the writing is often lazy (why is everyone ALWAYS relying on a little girl to do everything important around?) and some characters are hardly believable and there’s too many characters dying every hour (ok, it’s The Walking Dead but do they need to have so much bad luck?) - but there are some genuinely good scenes and touching moments.
It’s not a bad way to spend the afternoon or the evening.