The Walking Dead

A new cinematic for Overkill's The Walking Dead introduces the game's third survivor, Grant, a kindly grandfather-type with a penchant for storytelling who appears to be on a quest to reconnect with his granddaughter. You will no doubt be shocked—shocked—to hear that it is absolutely bleak as hell. 

Grant's trailer is an interesting contrast to the previous two. Aidan appears to almost relish his newfound freedom to bash skulls, while Maya is clearly still in a state of shock when we encounter her. Grant is all business: Indulging in a brief respite from the grim business of getting where he's going, but otherwise unfazed by the horrors around him. He's clearly a man with a job to do, and he's going to do it.

It's a cinematic trailer and so how (or even if) that translates into gameplay is an open question. Overkill's The Walking Dead is a "four player co-op action FPS" which sounds a lot like the Left 4 Dead games, and it's fair to say that meaningful characterization wasn't central to that experience. L4D is a fun shooter, but given the choice I'd rather dive into something a little more varied and narrative-focused.

Barring further delays (remember, Overkill's The Walking Dead was originally expected in 2016), we'll see what it's all about this fall. 

The Walking Dead - (RPS)


Sit down at the boiling pot, stranger. Let me tell you a tale. A sordid tale, full of fascinating lands and captivating characters. A story of wonder and flame, strangeness and warmth. Would you like to hear it? Great. Just play this rubbish cover shooter for a half hour. I ll start the introduction when you hit the first checkpoint.

Welcome to the RPS podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show. This week we re discussing some great stories that come packaged with terrible games. (more…)

The Walking Dead

Overkill’s long-delayed but soon-to-appear cooperative zombie romp has been on the go for long enough so that someone really should have come up with a better name, one that won’t be confused with Telltale’s The Walking Dead. But maybe this is all part of the brand. AMC’s The Walking Dead, Telltale’s The Walking Dead, Overkill’s The Walking Dead. Before long we’ll all own a slice of the pie. 

Anyway! There’s a new trailer out, introducing one of the playable survivors, Maya. Her zombie apocalypse origin story is your typical slice of unrelenting misery porn. She gets stuck at work—we’ve all been there—when the undead attack, leading her and another doctor to fight back-to-back, struggling to survive against a tide of pesky cadavers. But oh no! Her friend gets bitten. We know how it goes from there. 

Maya’s spotlight is the second of two reveals so far. Her pal Aidan’s trailer is much more upbeat, however. Only kidding! It’s also very bleak. 

Two years of delays have tempered my enthusiasm, but unless Valve announces Left 4 Dead 3, Overkill’s The Walking Dead still might fill a big gap. It’s also a 4-player co-op FPS, though it introduces a base camp that can be protected and filled with supplies and survivors, too. And like Overkill’s other co-op FPS, Payday, each character comes with their own skill trees and roles. 

The Walking Dead is due out this autumn. 

The Walking Dead

Telltale said last year that the final season of its Walking Dead adventure series would be out in 2018, and so it will be: The studio tweeted the first tease of the last season earlier today with an image that very deliberately hearkens back to the game's first season. 

It's a haunting callback, with a grown-up Clementine filling the shoes of man-with-an-axe Lee Everett, who bravely fought to keep her alive through the first season. Season four will also see the return of Gary Whitta, the former PC Gamer EIC who for some reason left all this fame and fortune behind to go do something else. He wrote the fourth episode of season one, and will serve as a story consultant for the final season. 

Telltale said that the first proper look at the final season will be reveal at 12:30 pm ET on April 6 at its PAX East panel, which will also be viewable on Twitch

The Walking Dead

Overkill's The Walking Dead, the upcoming four-player co-op zombie FPS, has released a developer diary showcasing the neighborhood of Georgetown in Washington D.C.. You can watch it above, as producer Saul Gascon and a few lighting and environmental artists describe what went into designing the look and feel of the town in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse.

Payday studio Overkill announced The Walking Dead back in 2014, with an original plan to release it in 2016, which was then pushed to 2017. It's now due out in fall of this year. You can learn more at the official site.

The Walking Dead

Telltale Games is holding a publisher sale on Steam this weekend, offering steep discounts on their catalog of adventure games. The sale is live now and runs through Monday, February 5. Here are some of the best deals on offer:  

There are some nice bundles in the sale too, like the Everything Walking Dead bundle, which comes with—you guessed it—all of Telltale's Walking Dead games and bonus content. It's $27 at 72 percent off. And what publisher sale would be complete without a big ol' collection: enter the $63 Telltale Collection, which gets you too many games to reasonably list for 83 percent off altogether.

You can also nab a few freebies if you're unsure of Telltale's treatment of various IPs. The first episodes of Batman: The Telltale Series and Minecraft: Story Mode are free to download for a limited time.

 Last November, Telltale laid off nearly a quarter of its staff in order to make "fewer, better games" going forward. The studio said these layoffs will not affect any ongoing games.  

The Walking Dead

Payday studio Overkill announced in 2014 that it was making a new co-op FPS based on The Walking Dead, "with elements of action, role-playing, survival horror and stealth." It was expected at the time to be out in 2016, but that eventually became 2017, and then 2018. As far as I know there's been no update to that schedule, but the studio recently teased a big announcement of something that will take place on Sunday. 

What's unusual about Overkill's TWD situation is that despite the passage of more than three years since the first announcement, we still know virtually nothing about the game except that it's a shooter set in the world of The Walking Dead. A "gameplay trailer" released for E3 2015 (via hinted at the Washington angle but was otherwise just a pastiche of generic zombie apocalypse visual elements.  

So the big announcement could be a hard release date, but I think it's more likely to be a first proper look at what the game has in store: Whether it will be a straight-ahead run-and-gunner like Left 4 Dead, a more narrative-driven experience (as I hope GTFO will be), or something else entirely. Zombie Payday? Heisting supplies instead of cash in a world struggling to emerge from the ruins of an undead uprising isn't the worst idea for a videogame I've ever heard.   

The curtain will rise on whatever it is at 12 pm PT/3 pm ET on December 10. There's a countdown you can stare at while you wait at

The Walking Dead

Every few years, someone claims that adventure games are dead. But adventure games never died: they just changed. "I think what they really mean is the death of point-and-click adventure games," says Ron Gilbert, creator of Monkey Island and, more recently, Thimbleweed Park. "Games like Gone Home, Firewatch, and everything Telltale makes are adventure games, and they can sell millions of copies. But if we limit the description to point-and-click games, I don't know that I fully disagree. These games are a niche market now, but if you make them cheaply and efficiently, they can still do well. Dave Gilbert [no relation] has carved out a nice fanbase."

"What's interesting is that those articles usually come out after a high-profile adventure game is released that's less than stellar," says Dave Gilbert, founder of point-and-click revivalist Wadjet Eye. "Suddenly a game speaks for all adventure games, and the whole genre is dead. This is a narrative that only seems to apply to adventure games. Roguelikes 'died' then came back. So did the platformer and the RTS. But people love talking about how adventure games died, or are dying. Even developers themselves! But I've been making them for 11 years and they continue to sell and support my family, so it's hard to take that kind of thing seriously."

"When people declare things dead in the moment, the odds of them turning out to be wrong are usually close to 100%, so it's easy to brush this kind of thing off," says Sam Barlow, creator of experimental mystery game Her Story. "I think part of it comes from a certain self-consciousness and a certain desire for the medium to hurry up and grow up. Adventure games often feel like an awkward middle ground between the proper narrative games we aspire to and our cruder earlier attempts."

Barlow explains that one of the adventure genre's greatest struggles is the idea of the player controlling the story's protagonist. "They become stuck in the weeds of the plot," he says. "I kinda like the fact that a lot of modern games have reduced the emphasis on the specifics of the actions, and focused more on dialogue and higher-level character choice. I'm interested in finding ways for players to be a part of the experience of a story without having to throw them into the busywork of 'being' a character."

Francisco Gonzalez, founder of indie adventure studio Grundislav, thinks that adventure game designers often stubbornly cling to older design tropes. Mazes, illogical puzzles, excessive in-jokes and too much fourth wall-breaking are just a few of the elements that bother him. "If your game absolutely needs a maze, keep it brief," he says. "Add some sort of puzzle element that allows you to navigate it without having to map it yourself."

"So many point-and-click games these days seem to have random puzzles that don't help move the narrative forward," says Ron Gilbert. "A good adventure game should also be about exploring a world, and in many games you're just teleporting from location to location. Firewatch and Gone Home are about exploring a space, and more point-and-click games need to do a better job of this. Build me a world I want to live in."

He continues, "I don't know that I've played a point-and-click adventure made in the last few years that thoroughly engaged me. I'm a point-and-click snob. I think two things that have hurt the genre are illogical puzzles and puzzles that don't intertwine with the narrative. I still see these issues today. However games like Firewatch get around this by not having deep puzzles. Most adventure games are all about story. In a lot of ways they've thrown the baby out with the bathwater, and that is depressing."

Olivia White of Owl Cave Games thinks too many adventure games still fall into the archaic traps of horrible logic and self-referential humour. "All the people working in the field today who do excellent work are the ones who are actively slicing away the old, rubbish parts of the genre and improving the good parts with surgical focus," she says. "Not all adventure games use moon logic, but plenty of designers are still stuck in the past."

"This is actually one of the freer genres to work within," says Sam Barlow. "There are enough limitations that it kind of encourages people to play around the edges, and I think that's important. The adventure game fan is often of a certain type, and there's been a lot of intense, fairly academic discussion and analysis of the genre. It has a lot of fans and creators who are passionate about keeping things moving forward."

No limit

I ask Ron Gilbert if the seemingly limited framework of the adventure genre naturally limits innovation. "For pure point-and-click games, it does," he says. "But people, including me, have a very rigid definition of a point-and-click game and resist change. After building Thimbleweed Park, I do think there's a stigma attached to the genre. People are often predisposed to think they won't like them, and that these games are full of illogical puzzles and bad narrative. As a creator you have a huge hump to overcome. We felt that every day making Thimbleweed."

"There have been a lot of really innovative things done in adventure games recently," says Francisco Gonzalez. "I think the main problem is that if an adventure game tries to innovate too much, then people no longer consider it an adventure game. There's a notion that you need absurd inventory puzzles to be part of the genre, but I consider games like The Cave, which has platforming elements, and the heavily story-led Oxenfree to be great examples of modern adventures."

"What adventure games do well is tell more intimate, more focused stories," says Dave Gilbert. "You wouldn't make an adventure game about a soldier fighting in a warzone. Nor would you make a beat-'em-up about a detective trying to solve a case. So can adventure games limit you? Sure. But for telling the stories I want to tell, the sky's the limit."

So what does the future hold for adventure games? "We're going to see a lot more games that shed the point-and-click mould," says Olivia White. "I think we'll see a bunch of developers adopting the Telltale style, but I'd like to see more games doing interesting things with interactive narrative like Stories Untold and Edith Finch."

"I think things are going to continue as they have for the past 20 years," says Francisco Gonzalez. "There'll always be a market for adventure games, and new generations of gamers will get into the genre through modern narrative games or the classics. But I hope adventure games will continue to evolve and not be afraid to go beyond the traditional genre trappings, embracing the move away from illogical, archaic design."

"We're seeing more games with lighter mechanics and a greater emphasis on story and character," says Sam Barlow. "I think that's something that helps the genre, because it brings in audiences who are hungry for what makes adventure games tick, and also draws in new creators who are ready to mix things up. My vision of the future is one where the adventure game creators step into the world of streaming TV, where they figure out how to use performance and video as a way of telling stories."

"More people are making adventure games than ever," says Dave Gilbert. "So we'll continue to see a lot of new and interesting games coming out."

"If only I knew," says Ron Gilbert. 

The Walking Dead - (Graham Smith)

Telltale Games have laid off 90 people today, shrinking the company’s workforce by around 25%. The company says it won’t affect any of their currently announced projects, which includes The Walking Dead’s fourth season, Batman: The Enemy Within, and a second season for Wolf Among Us. (more…)

The Walking Dead

Developer Telltale Games, best known for episodic story-driven games like The Walking Dead and Tales from the Borderlands, announced today that roughly 25 percent of its workforce has been laid off. 

As Gamesindustry reports, 90 people were affected by the wave of layoffs. Before today, the studio was nearly 400 strong. Telltale says the layoffs will not affect any of its ongoing games. However, moving forward they plan to make "fewer, better games with a smaller team."

"I'd like to express our respect for all the contributions that these incredibly talented artists, storytellers and more have made to this company, and that this decision is in no way a reflection on the quality or dedication of their work," said Telltale CEO Pete Hawley. "We have made available our full career assistance services to help our affected colleagues and friends—and their families—navigate this difficult transition as quickly as possible."

Telltale's downsize comes on the heels of two other, more dramatic shifts in the indie scene. In the past week, Gigantic developer Motiga and Torchlight developer Runic Games were both closed at the hand of their shared publisher, Perfect World. 


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