At the risk of sounding "hipster". I liked The Walking Dead before it was cool. Back before AMC announced their intentions to release a blockbuster television series, I was following Rick Grimes and co. throughout the excellent series of graphic novels. Robert Kirkman's version for the zombie apocalypse was unique, not just for the comic medium, but for the zombie genre as a whole.
When the TV series hit it seems every man, woman, child and Walker knew about The Walking Dead, so much so that friends would say "did you know it was based on a comic series?" as if this was some kind of rare and secretive information that not even Reddit knew about.
While the TV show isn't horrible, it certainly doesn't capture the spirit of the emotionally driven novels I had fallen in love with, putting aside real emotions for soap opera melodrama. That's why I jumped for joy at the news that Telltale Games were working on a episodic series that would take reference from the novels rather than the TV show, with Kirkman having involvement in the project.
The first episode arrived and it was everything I hoped for as a fan of the comics, delivering an emotional experience that truly needs to be seen to be believed. It was followed up by the second episode which took things to a whole new level, and Telltale show no signs of slowing down after announcing that they will be returning for a second season.
Then something terrible happened. Something that leaves a horrid taste in my mouth and literally has me bursting with anger. Activision announced that they want a piece of The Walking Dead franchise, and The Walking Dead FPS was announced.
"Heller, more Walking Dead is good right?" I hear you ask from behind your screen. No, no it isn't. Not when it is based on the vastly inferior TV show, and not when it is being developed by Terminal Reality.
Putting aside the fact that I'm not the biggest fan of the television show, the game throws players into the world of Darry and Merle Dixon, two southerners with a predilection towards racism, sexism and hunting. Sounds like quality story material right there!
The game will place you before the events of the TV show, leading players through the journey of the two brothers as they make their way to Atlanta where they believe that they will find safety.
First of all let's just get this out in the open. Merle openly exclaims his hatred towards African-American's during his first appearance in the show, talks about things he'd love to do to a particular woman and is quickly killed off before the end of the first season. Sure, they could cut out his personality, but then that's not staying true to the source material now, is it? Does that sound like a character you'd like to spend a good 10-12 hours with?
Of course that's assuming that Terminal Reality are capable of producing a game that will give you that much gameplay.
Their past credits include Ghostbusters: The Video Game, Def Jam Rapster and the absolutely putrid Kinect Star Wars, which is honestly the worst game I have played in years. Why on Earth would Activision put them in charge of something as important as The Walking Dead?
It's simple - they don't care. They notice that Telltale have skyrocketed thanks to the success of their series and they simply want to cash in while they can. Anyone who goes in expecting a decent experience is surely going to be bitterly disappointed.
Why am I so upset? They are releasing a game that will probably be average at best, and that happens every other week in the gaming industry. Telltale Games have already produced the best adaptation of The Walking Dead possible in the video-games medium, one that does justice to the source material, one that fans can be proud of. Now, Activison and Terminal Reality are releasing yet another FPS romp, set amongst the inferior TV program and the worth of the series will be dragged down a notch.
This is a series that should be heralded for its accomplishments, not abused for its popularity.
Maybe I'm just a fanboy, but the prospect of The Walking Dead FPS is about as tantalising as a bite to the jugular from a zombie.
By Stephen Heller - Bio