The Walking Dead Survival Instinct is a game based on AMC’s smash hit drama The Walking Dead. This game is do-whatever-you-need-to-survive first-person action game that features you taking control of Daryl Dixon, brought to life by TV series star Norman Reedus, alongside his overbearing brother Merle, voiced by Michael Rooker. This looks like it is going to be a great game for fans that love The Walking Dead. I recently got to ask Glenn Gamble, principal FX artist/system designer at Terminal Reality some key questions about the game and many details were revealed. Read our full interview posted below!
GamerFitNation: The Walking Dead is such a well-liked show and comic book. How much does it mean to the team to create an authentic Walking Dead experience? How has it shaped the development of the game?
Glenn Gamble: There’s a lot of (healthy) pressure that comes from working on such a high end property. We’ve been fortunate enough to work on some great properties in the past, like Ghostbusters, so we know about these expectations. We’re looking to keep it as authentic as possible. If you’ve seen the show, you should be able to pick up our game and understand exactly what you can and can’t do. We have been really focused on our source material. The show has really come into its own and since the game is based on this, we crafted the game to complement the more action based nature. However, having AMC’s show bible helped out tremendously as well.
GamerFitNation: The Walking Dead is an emotional experience. How hard was it to portray the bleakness of this apocalyptic society and choices that plague gamers throughout the roller coaster ride that they will be in for?
Glenn Gamble: As we were developing, we almost all got to pitch a story idea for a survivor or two. It became this “wow his story is grim, but I have one better” and so on and so forth. Once the writers got their hands on it, it all got rewritten to be a more cohesive narrative, but you really got to see how dark certain people you thought you knew could go.
In the end, we roped a lot of that in. The Walking Dead Survival Instinct is set in the early days of the apocalypse while Rick is still in his coma. We are seeing the introduction of this strange new world through the eyes of Daryl. We contrast with the series a bit, because there is still a glimmer of hope that things may one day return back to normal. People are nicer or are just hiding out till the military can show up. However, we all know the outcome, as things aren’t going to get better. So the decisions the player makes as Daryl to survive suddenly become far more grim, knowing that leaving someone behind means almost certain death. Props to the writers since that alone creates a far darker story than any of us could have imagined.
GamerFitNation: Is there going to be an online multiplayer mode like Co-Op or a survival mode that gamers can expect to play?
Glenn Gamble: Considering time is the enemy of every game, we just simply didn’t have the time to give it the justice it would deserve. Multiplayer, either co-op or competitive, is a lot of extra work. You have to do a ton of extra to incorporate it into the game to accommodate the addition of another player. It just didn’t seem right if we short changed the time it would take to make and tell Daryl’s story. Definitely something we would like to do if given the chance in the future.
GamerFitNation: The success of Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead has been a surprise to many. As you might have heard, it won Spike’s Award for 2012 Game of the Year. How has that shaped the team’s vision for The Walking Dead Survival Instinct and how committed are you to making a quality Walking Dead game?
Glenn Gamble: Before I start, I just wanted to say to the Telltale team, you really did a great job and hit it out of the park. Serious, good job! When designing a game, you want to play as many games as you can to try to see what works and what doesn’t work. It is a way to add to your bag of designer tools. We played all sorts of games that in one way or another shaped what we were doing with The Walking Dead. In fact, when the Telltale game was announced, we were already knee deep into production on Survival Instinct. Telltale’s version is more focused on an episodic adventure, and we focused in on first person survival. Looking at it as a gamer, how amazing is it where we can have two totally unique, but complimentary Walking Dead games at the same time!
GamerFitNation: The story of The Walking Dead is one of tough choices and severe consequences. How were the writers able to create a cohesive story that explains the brothers’ journey in this zombie wasteland while remaining true to the core ideals? How did Robert Kirkman contribute (If so) to the story and what has been his overall impression of The Walking Dead Survival Instinct?
Glenn Gamble: We had two very talented authors who wrote the script for the game, with the second season progression of the character Daryl at the core. I know everything we do goes through a rigorous approval process as well, but that is about all I can comment on since that really isn’t my area of expertise.