OVERKILL’S THE WALKING DEAD
Giving TWD fans the FPS of their dreams… or nightmares
It took just two minutes and 29 seconds of a cinematic trailer for us to fall for Overkill’s The Walking Dead.
We knew the game was coming, of course; it was initially announced back in 2014, complete with confirmation that The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman was involved, promising a “completely new” co-op experience for fans already familiar with the smashhit TV show and gruesome graphic novel series.
Thing is, we’ve been burnt by TV tie-in games before (looking at you, Family Guy: Back To The Multiverse). Beyond Telltale’s breathtakingly brutal episodic games, the franchise has otherwise churned out some pretty mediocre titles, even though everything about TWD, from the weaponry and environments to the stories themselves, seem so achingly well suited to an FPS.
Enter Overkill Software. Promising a four-player, co-operative first-person shooter set within The Walking Dead universe (and if that sounds familiar, it’s because this is the same studio behind Payday 2, another four-person, co-op shooter), Overkill wants to bring us that ultimate TWD FPS.
The studio promises that each of the four playable characters will boast their own special abilities, skill trees, playstyles and stories, too, but the key to their survival will be partnering up and working together (something Rick Grimes and co would no doubt concur with). How you play, however – slow and stealthy, or all guns blazin’ – is up to you.
It’s a no-brainer
Who’d be content in an apocalypse? Well, OTWD’s Aiden, apparently, the first playable character unveiled by Overkill. Even as he steps through the debris of a decimated Georgetown, Washington DC, it seems he’s so confident in his abilities, he’s happy to deliberately draw out malingering Walkers and introduce them to his nail-studded baseball bat.
We don’t quite know what to make of him just yet. It’s true that our brief glimpse into his pre-apocalypse life hints at a joyless one, depicting a guy frustrated by both his work and his familial responsibilities… but we can’t help but wonder just how bad it must’ve been for him to be chirpier now. You know, in an apocalypse. By comparison, second character Maya seems a lot more frustrated by her new circumstances. She doesn’t want to do what she has to to survive.
But it’s not the characters that intrigues us most, It’s the world
around them. The backdrops and setpieces stuffed with detail, all brought to life by thousands of tiny worldbuilding props; discarded suitcases, cracked glasses, the rotting remains of those still belted up in the cars they’d hoped would take them someplace safe. The TWD universe has always excelled in environmental storytelling, and it seems that Overkill wants to carry on that legacy.
“One of the most important parts of [this job] is always to ask the question, ‘Why?’”, explains environment artist Jacob Claussen in a recent behind-the-scenes developer diary. “Why did the pool of blood happen there, or why did someone barricade their windows? Because then you can give everything a meaning. And if you can give everything a meaning, you can get a sense of a lived-in world.”
No, we’re not sure why it’s taken this long to put The Walking Dead’s universe into a first-person shooter, either, but we’re so glad the wait is nearly over.
“How you play – slow and stealthy, or all guns blazin’ – is up to you”