The Walking Dead franchise draws big business for everyone involved. It only makes sense that game developers would scramble to snatch a piece of that pie. There’s a few TWD games already out in the world, namely the tension-ridden series from Telltale Games and it’s spin-offs, A New Frontier and Michonne. Telltale teamed up with Zen Studios to produce The Walking Dead Pinball, which allows players to play pinball on location maps from Telltale’s main TWD game, including the addition of player choice to determine the ongoing story. Scopely released its addition to the franchise in 2015 with The Walking Dead: Road to Survival—a game recently plagued with glitches which inspired spending freezes from dedicated players and several intense press releases from the developer promising to do better for the game’s devoted fan base.
Two more developers have stepped in to bring more undead fun to the masses this year. First up is Disruptor Beam’s The Walking Dead: March to War. While not set in the television universe and taking most of its cues from the comics, it still has events inspired by the show. In this strategy game, players develop alliances with each other in order to not only survive the walkers wandering through Washington D.C., but also the humans they encounter while building a secure home base. Players have a twenty mile map to work in, encompassing all the iconic buildings and monuments in the nation’s capital. If they’re having a hard time figuring out what to do, players have the opportunity to bring Rick and Negan onto their advisory council. Help is always needed, according to the developers. Getting by on one’s own in the game is apparently pretty difficult. March to War is free for iOS and Android devices. But you get what you pay for, and this is a new game. Expect some glitches while the developers roll out updates. The graphics aren’t stellar. There’s also been several complaints about monetary purchases failing.
The newest addition to the TWD franchise will be The Walking Dead: Our World from developer Next Games. Whereas all the other TWD-based games focus on player vs player fighting or dive deep into what’s basically a pick-your-own-adventure game format, Our World is vastly different. The game is, essentially, Pokémon Go but with walkers instead of brightly colored creatures. Augmented reality games were all the rage last year and Our World feels like it may have missed the boat by, oh, six months or so—that’s being generous since there’s no actual release date yet. That delay may be in their favor though, giving developers more time to work out the quirks which made other AR games difficult to play, or downright ridiculous due to the programs inability to read the distance to the ground accurately. Game play for Our World shows grounded characters, so there will be little chance of watching Michonne or any of the other television characters floating four feet in the air as they slay the undead. When it does finally release, the game will be available for iOS and Android systems.
Call of Duty Delivers an Undead Package at SDCC by R.C. Murphy
Developers sat down for a panel at San Diego Comic-Con to discuss what pushed them to venture into the WWII era for the next zombie game tied to the popular series. Their main focus? Michael Condrey, co-studio head for Sledgehammer, had a burning desire to terrify gamers in ways we’ve only really felt from gold-standard horror films—save perhaps one or two game titles, one of which Condrey himself directed. They really dug into their research to ground the game in reality, which developers feel will add to the scares once the undead hit the screen.
The animation shown during the trailer is all cut scenes, but still beautifully detailed. If you can call burned, armless zombies beautiful, that is. There’s blood and gore everywhere in the short clip. Several kinds of undead are featured, with more variations to come as promised by the development team. What cinches the creep factor in the trailer is Udo Kitter’s voiceover as uber creep Dr. Peter Straub.
We only get a small taste of the full story through the trailer. It’s just your standard mad German scientist premise, really. Things don’t get interesting until the playable characters are brought into the plot. The development team didn’t want a bunch of super confident soldiers at the helm, that’s overdone and tired. Instead they reached into history and plucked out the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program to find the game’s everyday-Joe heroes. There’s four playable characters—Olivia Durant (Elodie Young), Marie Fischer (Katheryn Winnick), Drostan Hynd (David Tennant), and Jeff Potts (Ving Rhames). All are members in the program sent in to recover works of art stolen by the Nazis in their attempt to claim literally everything for the fatherland. Winnick’s character brings another layer to the story, which fans can catch up on via the viral advertising campaign for the game. While the MFAA team is looking for art and fighting the undead, Marie has a more pressing mission to find her brother. It adds welcomed depth to what could be “just another zombie game.”
The voiceover cast was in attendance during the panel, except Rhames. He sent in a special video for fans to introduce them to his character. And then he was maybe, probably, eaten by zombies off-screen. Much to the audience’s delight. Udo was, well, Udo during his first visit to SDCC and proceeded to creep out everyone by reciting parts of Straub’s speech from the trailer. Young and Winnick elaborated on how involved they were in the character-creating process. Winnick also took a moment at the end of the panel to celebrate the women gamers in the audience. Tennant gave some insight on how character dialog evolved for this project, namely it involved him channeling a non-existent drunk Scottish uncle to get the appropriate level of profanity. Did I mention this will not be a kid’s game? Yeah, no.
Call of Duty: WWII Nazi Zombies is slated for wide release on November 3rd. However, if fans pre-order the game now, they get beta access starting August 25th on Playstation 4—dates for beta on other devices were not available as of the SDCC panel.
Here’s the trailer. I don’t suggest snacking while watching.