What going on with Overkill’s The Walking Dead

In March of 2013, Activision released AMC’s The Walking Dead Survival Instinct, which
was the first FPS in the franchise’s history. The game was focused around inventory
management, stealth and zombie killing. Regardless of the ambition AMC and Activision had for
the game, it ended up turning into a failure. The graphics were bad for its time, the level design
was repetitive as was melee and the AI of the walkers were constantly off base. Mix that with a
story that has no real ending, surprisingly bad voice acting by Norman Reedus and Michael
Rooker, and you have the recipe for a horrible game that had potential. Even though the game
was a flop, it wasn’t the end of FPS games for the franchise.

Just one year after Survival Instinct released, The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman
made a video revealing that he and Overkill Software, the people behind Payday 2, would be
working with each other to create the “Co-op FPS shooter Walking Dead fans have been waiting
for.” He also specified that the game would be contained within Skybound comic book universe
of TWD, not the TV show. Aside from that, and a teaser trailer, the only other information we
learned about the game is that it was supposed to release in 2016. Now it is 2018 and the game
still hasn’t come out. What happened? Well, a LOT happened between 2014 and now so lets
start with E3 2015.

Since Kirkman/Skybound announced their partnership with Overkill software, there was
very little information regarding the status of the game. At E3 2015, Starbreeze Studios, the
company that owns Overkill, revealed a booth for their new experimental platform StarVR. One
of the games played was a prototype of Overkill’s TWD turned into a VR experience. They also
included a new live-action trailer alongside the gameplay from the VR experience. We had
gameplay and an awesome new trailer so the future for the game looked bright. Then 2016
came along with another E3. No Walking Dead content from either Overkill nor Starbreeze. As it
turned out, the game was unsurprisingly confirmed for a delay into 2017. There was, however, a
reason as to why the project made this decision and it is fairly complicated.

At the time, the parent company, Starbreeze Studios had been forming a partnership
with Korean publisher Smilegate. Smilegate saw the potential of The Walking Dead brand
Starbreeze had acquired and decided to add $40 million dollars to the development team to
expand the content in the game as well as promote the game for Asian markets. This was the
excuse for 2017. However, in May of 2017, Starbreeze had a live stream where they talked
about all of their games and projects they were currently working on. The Walking Dead was
one of them. Here they revealed that the game would be pushed to a 2018 release date. That
is until December 10, when Starbreeze had a live stream event exclusively for the game. The
live stream was almost entirely about the narrative and the game’s relation to The Walking Dead
universe. We got another gorgeous trailer featuring a playable character, Aidan. Which brings
us to now.

The latest news comes from Starbreeze Studios. In 2017, Starbreeze seemed to have a
major loss in profits, putting them in a pretty bad position. Their only hope was the IP they had
rights to The Walking Dead. Since then, the company has been promoting the game as best
they can so that hopefully it becomes a success and they earn the money they lost in 2017 back
in 2018.

The Walking Dead is set to release in fall of 2018. So far we don’t know if the game will
be featured at E3 2018 but judging by the company’s desperate financial situation, the game will
most likely be in playable form at the expo.