The Walking Dead franchise splits off again, this time becoming a video game adaptation. Originally a graphic novel series, The Walking Dead has since been adapted by AMC into the most watched cable show currently in the history of television.
The franchise is hot and there are lots of merch already out there for The Walking Dead. Not many television series inspire action figures of their characters or melee weapon sets like machetes and knives. Yes, the stuff television Carl finds in the show is a product placement.
So if the franchise is so hot, why isn’t the game out yet?
Well first off, a quality game takes time to develop. Especially for high graphic consoles that don’t want the feel of a 1980’s side scroller or a generic flash game. Development of a game can take years for a console and is at a disadvantage when compared to say, a social media game found on Facebook.
Secondly, investors don’t care about any reason you give them. The franchise is almost at it’s apex of popularity and Telltale needs to come up with a solution to their dilemma. You know, aside from putting the game out there to begin with.
Enter the webs how, “Playing Dead” a web series designed at looking into the development of the game. Is it meant to be a take on playing possum, pretending you’ve ceased to be and joining the choir invisible? Or can it be taken as someone playing the walking dead video? Honestly the title itself is a bit unsavoury. I’m almost cranky over it for no explicable reason. I thought, “Talking Dead” was a good show name; a show that examines the series and thoughts on zombie survival. Playing Dead just invokes my ADHD to look at other things.
The show is actually by Telltale. It’s a stall tactic to reassure potential customers that this hasn’t gone away yet, and they’re oh so close to getting it done. Don’t leave yet!
In the show, developers and designers are asked what appears to be scripted questions about the game. They talk about the tone, progress and how everything ties in with the comic book. That’s time they could have been using to actually make the game.
Here is the official description of the game from Telltale’s official website:
“Learn about the game by watching PLAYING DEAD, a video series that takes you behind the scenes of the creation of the upcoming The Walking Dead video game based on Robert Kirkman’s award-winning comic series. Playing Dead is the online source for exclusive looks at The Walking Dead video game and interviews with the talent responsible for bringing the world of The Walking Dead to life. Check this space for new episodes of Playing Dead regularly.”
In the novel World War Z written by Max Brooks, a plan was enacted to give humanity the best chances of survival. This was called the Redeker plan, an intentional sacrifice of a human population in favor of a more defensible location. This is what Telltale is doing right now. Playing Dead tries to keep the interest alive and bring focus to a game that’s unavailable.
The game is touted as a adventure game but it seems it’ll be more of a Choose Your Own Adventure type as you’re not given free reign of the world unless it’s part of the puzzle or quest. In the interview with lead designers Jake Rodkin and Sean Vanaman, they discuss how the game will be split into five episodes and any decision a player makes will carry through month-to-month. So a character saved or abandoned might come back to haunt you later. This seems to be more like Telltale’s Back to the Future game, with it’s decision tree type gaming. I certainly hope their Walking Dead game isn’t as cartoon like in appearance.
The next episode of Playing Dead promises an talk with The Book of Eli writer Gary Whitta. Yes, a movie about a blind man who’s deadly with a blade. I saw the movie too, it was called Zatoichi when I last saw it reincarnated.