When it comes to games based on Robert Kirkman’s grim Walking Dead graphic novels, we’ve gone from the sublime episodic storytelling of Telltale to the ridiculously awful Survival Instinct. Kirkman himself was interviewed at SXSW over the weekend and has revealed that the upcoming first person Walking Dead title from Starbreeze and Overkill will be “Payday-esque” and take place in a “bigger world than Payday currently encompasses.”
Confirming that the game will be “online and interactive” Kirkman said that the team at Overkill “are going to be learning a lot of stuff from Payday that they will be incorporating into The Walking Dead.” While we’re not expecting undead bank heists, it’s intriguing to know that Overkill is taking an online and co-op approach to the cortex munching apocalypse.
Kirkman also made what can only be assumed to be dig at Terminal Velocity’s Survival Instinct, comparing Starbreeze and Overkill’s positive attitude towards officially licensed games to that of 'other developers'. He praised Telltale before saying “The key is that we’re not doing; ‘Hey it’s Daryl Dixon running around shooting zombies, because you like Daryl Dixon.’... We’re telling our own stories and doing our own things almost as if they are original games.” Ouch.
It’s this kind attitude that’s clear to the success of licensed games but it’s not going to be easy for Overkill when we’ve had Telltale effortlessly giving us all the undead survival feels. Given that Overkill is working closely with Kirkman, it will hopefully have the overall tone that the creator wants. But will this be enough to take on the horde of other online zombie offerings? We already have a mass of staggering undead to deal with on various consoles.
Speaking to GamesMaster editor Joel Gregory, he's unsure if anyone can deliver more for the series than we've already had. "I honestly think that, in the wake of Telltale's stellar efforts, anyone making any kind of Walking Dead game is fighting a losing battle. Plus, if you're talking about multiplayer, first-person experiences then you're also competing with DayZ, H1Z1 and that entire genre. I'd love a proper co-op, survival-focused TWD experience, but I just don't see it happening in a way that will satisfy either gamers or fans of the show. Payday with zombies might work on it's own terms, but it's not going to have a lot in common with Rick Grimes and his band of grubby dirt-dwellers."
Overkill's title has a planned 2016 release date but platforms have not been mentioned. However, given that their Diesel engine has apparently been updated for the new generation, we're putting our brain-covered money on a PS4 and Xbox One release for the first-person survival fest.