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Telltale Games isn't the only developer making games based on the insanely popular Walking Dead franchise. Developer Terminal Reality is also working on a first-person shooter based on AMC's The Walking Dead television show. Players will take on the role of Daryl Dixon (the show's crossbow-carrying survivalist) as he and his brother Merle attempt to survive the initial outbreak of undead.
The Walking Dead's story takes place a few months before the events of the TV series and will follow the two brothers as they attempt to reunite with Merle's gang. The developers emphasized that you won't be running into undead infested towns with your guns blazing; the gameplay will focus on survival. Meaning, a mix of silent kills and evasion is the best strategy if you don't want to get your face chewed off.
The zombies aren't your typical bumbling and predictable undead, as they use more than their eyes to detect Daryl. Making too much noise by stepping on broken glass can draw a group to your location, and walkers can also pick up on your weeks-without-a-shower body odor. Basically, this means you have to keep moving. Staying in one "safe" spot will eventually lead walkers to you, which emphasizes the game's theme that "nowhere is safe." Corpses litter the ground in once-populated towns, but any one of them could only be mostly dead. A random "possum" system ensures that you'll never know which bodies will continue to lay like a sack of potatoes or which will suddenly lash out and attack. Also, like the show, you can quickly become surrounded by walkers if you aren't careful, and the shambling undead aren't particularly easy to kill.
To kill a walker, you're required to destroy it's brain. You will be able to chop off limbs to slow them down, but only a blow to the cranium takes them down for good. If a walker manages to grab you (which happened quite a bit during our demo), you can fight them off by quickly mashing the attack button. Alternatively, if you can time an on-screen prompt correctly, you can pull off a gruesome instant kill. Generally, you'll want to avoid these unpleasant events--that's where stealth comes in.
You can pick up a variety of melee and ranged weapons, including slow-swinging fire axes, knives, baseball bats, pistols, shotguns, and rifles. As we mentioned before, gunshots are a surefire way to attract a group of rotting flesh eaters and ammo is scarce, so caving in their skulls with a melee weapon is the prefered way of dispatching the undead. Taking the stealthy approach lets you pull off execution moves by sneaking up on unsuspecting zombies. But if you want to stay out of danger completely, throwing glass bottles, flares, and other distracting objects can lure roamers away from your path.
The Walking Dead will also have a survivor system (which we weren't able to see in the demo). As you progress through the story, you'll come across survivors. They can join your crew, travel with you from location to location, and be used to help gather supplies, ammunition, and whatever else you might need by sending them off on scavenging missions. Sending them out on a mission is a gamble, and it's possible that they may never return. However, to help them make it back unscathed, you have the option to equip them with weapons and other items--increasing their chances of being successful.
There’s also an element of choice in The Walking Dead. At certain points in the story, you can choose which locations you'll pass through. Some paths may take you through rural farmland while others have you navigating zombie-infested urban towns. You'll also have to choose which survivors you take with you and which ones you'll leave behind. Each playthrough of the game can be different from the last, giving players the incentive to have multiple jaunts through The Walking Dead's post-apocalyptic zombie world.
The Walking Dead Video Game will be releasing on the Xbox 360, PC, and PlayStation 3 in 2013.
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