The Walking Dead comic books, first published in 2003, contain many of the same themes featured in AMC’s current TV adaptation, and even a brain-dead “walker” could figure out that the milieu is ripe for the video game world: crammed in to an epic struggle for survival, it’s got the flesh-feeding cadavers of Left 4 Dead, the guns of any shooter on the market, and the philosophical brooding of Heavy Rain.
Later this year, fans who’ve fallen in love with the series can look forward to all three in Telltale Games’ episodic The Walking Dead, which promises to be heavy-handed on storylines from Robert Kirkman’s comics while also debuting a new protagonist. Over on the developer’s website, the first part of a video diary series entitled “Playing Dead” has gone live alongside a trio of in-game screenshots focusing on the title’s comic book-inspired art design.
As Rick Grimes lies comatose in his hospital turned war zone, The Walking Dead game opens in a separate part of Atlanta where our protagonist, Lee Everett, escapes captivity after his van crashes “via the apocalypse,” according to lead designer Sean Vanaman. He’ll befriend a young lost girl named Clementine as they try navigate a changed world inhabited by the dead, and they’ll meet several characters from the comics including Herschel and Glen along the way.
Based on the look we got at the The Walking Dead during last year’s Comic-Con, it seems like much of Telltale’s early vision for the game is well intact. Humans can prove just as adversarial as a horde of hungry zombies, and characters will be forced to weigh out tough moral decisions with each newly arising challenge. Certainly, the fact that Lee is essentially an escaped convict will have an impact on how others in the world perceive him, and Clementine — while Vanaman stressed she’s not just a device for escort missions — will add the unique lens of a child’s eyes amidst all the chaos.
The new screens released also go a long way to depict the style of the game and its meshing of hand drawn and digital renderings. Whether it’s the voracious zombies ravished with bloodied and broken skin or the noticeable strife in the eyes of humans attempting to survive, Telltale looks to be staying grounded in what’s made The Walking Dead such a phenomenon over the last several years. We can’t wait to sink our teeth (figuratively) into more details as they develop.
The Walking Dead releases in episodic downloadable offerings starting in mid-2012 on the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, Wii, PC, and Mac.
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