We hope you guys aren’t sick of zombies yet, because megapublisher Activision has announced a new first-person shooter based on Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead. Or, more specifically, a game based on the AMC television series based on Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead.
Oh, and before you ask, no, it is not related to Telltale’s brilliant episodic Walking Dead adventure game.
Developed by Terminal Reality, The Walking Dead will revolve around Daryl Dixon and his brother Merle on a “haunting, unforgiving quest to make their way to the supposed safety of Atlanta.” Players will control Daryl as they attempt to avoid detection from zombies that hunt using sight, sound and smell and will choose between fighting them or using stealth to avoid detection. According to Activision, “No place is truly safe for Daryl as he makes his way through the Georgia countryside in this new, post-apocalyptic world.”
Before you go any further, we recommend watching the teaser Activision has posted on the game’s official site, not because it offers a clear, concise explanation of how this game will play out, or highlights of interesting mechanics, but instead to witness the total lack of such things. Granted, this game won’t hit the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC platforms until next year, but based on the above description and what little you can see in that clip, it seems that Activision doesn’t really have that much concrete information to share with people. Instead, it feels like the publisher whipped up a quick montage of editing tricks and some vague, yet intriguing text in an effort to capitalize on the recent success of Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Episode 2.
Not that we’re faulting Activision for striking while the iron is hot, mind you, it just leaves us with a vague sense of unease as to what new, original ideas this shooter might bring to Robert Kirkman’s dark universe. The Walking Dead, in any iteration, has always been most successful when focused on the interactions between characters facing the end of the world, and first-person shooters aren’t really known for their poignant portrayal of human emotion.
We worry that this game will simply be another shooting gallery with shambling corpses as the primary target. That’s all well and good, and we get Activision’s financial impetus for something like this, but it seems a terrible waste of the Walking Dead brand. One doesn’t need to attach a famous name to a game about shooting zombies with a crossbow — gamers will lap that sort of thing up regardless of its backstory — and doing so will only serve to water down the brand unless Activision’s title is objectively as good as Telltale’s game. While that’s hypothetically possible, given that this new game is based on the mediocre Walking Dead TV series and is an ill-advised shooter, it seems unlikely that this Walking Dead game will be anything more than a cynical attempt to cash in on the latest horror craze.
It certainly doesn’t help things that the list of titles created by developer Terminal Reality in the past includes such pabulum as Nocturne and Spy Hunter: Nowhere To Run.