Overkill's The Walking Dead Gets Long-Term Bump Back

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Steve Anderson
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Overkill's The Walking Dead Gets Long-Term Bump Back

Bad news for those hoping for a good Walking Dead game that isn't episodic in nature; the Overkill release of The Walking Dead has been shifted clear back to the second half of 2017. While this isn't bad news in isolation, it's still a blow for anyone who was hoping for that sweet zombie-blasting action any time soon.

The good news is that the game will come with a little extra investment push; reports note that Starbreeze, the game's publisher, picked up a hefty $40 million in investment from Korean game maker Smilegate. Starbreeze gets to develop, publish and distribute the latest Crossfire title from Smilegate, and given that Crossfire has around 500 million users to date, that's a pretty big score. Plus, Starbreeze can in turn bring both PayDay 2 and The Walking Dead to Asian markets with Smilegate's distribution platform, which opens up a whole new market.

Just why this means a delay for The Walking Dead is as yet unclear, though it's likely that Starbreeze is back-burnering most everything so that more development manpower can be put on the case with Crossfire. That's not out of line, especially given that Starbreeze is getting a hefty eight figures out of the deal and access to a new marketing platform. Good news, in a sense--it improves the likelihood of success for Starbreeze and gives same an opportunity to put more games out later backed up by a whole lot of funding and some good sales besides. Reception among the gaming community, meanwhile, seems less than stellar, with many facetiously accusing the studio of delaying to find better ways to bring microtransactions into the picture, as well as some not-altogether-unearned negative comparisons to The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct. While that game wasn't anything particularly disastrous, it certainly wasn't the masterwork of zombie-killing and settlement-building excellence we were all likely hoping for for a game with the Walking Dead name slapped across it.

The optimists, meanwhile, are thinking this is a good deal; more time to put into game development plus a big slug of development capital equals a package that should mean great new offerings beyond The Walking Dead. The pessimists, meanwhile, are more skeptical. Just which of these two schools of thought will come out ahead will wait until 2017 to find out. Hopefully this delay improves the final product, as opposed to just being a delay that makes the game worse and kills the marketing buzz that's already gone into the project.

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