With the widely acclaimed comic book series The Walking Dead also becoming widely adapted, creator Robert Kirkman has involved himself with the brand as thoroughly as possible. Recently, this has meant pushing his purview into the realm of video games.
Adding to his contributions to the hit TV series on AMC, Kirkman began collaborating with TellTale Games on their episodic point-and-click adventure RPG, The Walking Dead, which concluded its five-segment run just last week. The results were impressive. Our The Walking Dead reviews scored all five episodes at a 4-out-of-5; its moral dilemmas and story arc produced one of 2012's most captivating gaming adventures. But as Kirkman now surveys the gaming landscape, his work with TellTale drawn to a close (for the moment, at least), what does the writer think of Activision's slightly more... incensed The Walking Dead first-person shooter? A new interview explains why he's sitting on the sidelines... and on the fence .
Speaking to Game Informer, Kirkman revealed that he remains quite detatched from the production of Activision's and developer Terminal Reality's upcoming game, The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, simply because it’s a project of AMC, the network producing the television series, and not a direct inspiration from his comic books — the reason he became so invested with TellTale and frequently inhabits the writer’s room of the show.
“That’s actually something that AMC is heading up and it’s based on the television show. I’m not as involved because that’s their thing. I’m looking at stuff. I’m aware of its existence. I know Activision is working very hard to make a cool-looking game and I’m hopeful it will be something that is worthy of the Walking Dead brand, but it’s not something that I’m actively, intimately involved with. Telltale’s game is based off the comic book, so I have a bunch more control over that than I do with what AMC does.”
But does Activision at least get the Robert Kirkman Seal of Approval? Right now it's not clear.
Little is known yet about The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct; outside of its mood-setting announcement trailer from earlier this July, all that's been confirmed about the game is that it's a prequel to the TV show starring Daryl and Merle Dixon (players control Daryl), as the brotherly duo battles walkers (zombies) on their way to Atlanta. Not exactly avant-garde when you hear it off the bat:
"I know there is a quote out there where I said, 'It would be dumb to do a first person Walking Dead game because there are so many that it wouldn’t be something that would be competitive in the marketplace, and you’d always be compared to Left 4 Dead so why bother.' I don’t think AMC read that quote.
"But I will say that this game is very much the Dixon brothers’ game. These two characters don’t exist in the comic, so the ability to play as those characters and learn more about those characters, who are very popular in the show, could actually push this game over the top and make it a worthwhile experience. That’s what I’m hoping on."
It's what we're hoping on, too. The remarkable success of TellTale's adventure has proven that The Walking Dead has legs for groundbreaking, dynamic, engaging video-game fiction. Activision has hinted at a mixture of stealth and action gameplay in Survival Instinct, and while the publisher's pedigree (not to mention the decapitating direction of the TV series this season) doesn't bode well for an equal marriage of the two, abandoning our optimism already is far too premature.
How would you like to see The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct distinguish itself from action-oriented zombie shooters like Left 4 Dead?
The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is slated for a 2013 release on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.
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Source: Game Informer