Activision has released a gameplay trailer for its upcoming zombie survival adaptation.
Telltale’s take on the Walking Dead story was arguably the best game released last year. That game was essentially an interactive narrative which acts as a sidequel to the graphic novels. This new game, The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct (formerly titled: AMC's The Walking Dead Video Game) from Activision, is a first-person stealth adventure which serves as a prequel to the television show.
Different developer, source media, graphical style, and ludic genre; it seems like we shouldn’t be able to make much of a comparison between the games, but they do have something in common: the attempt to recreate the stress and high-strung emotions of a survival situation, by forcing the player to make difficult decisions.
The best part about TellTale’s The Walking Dead is the branching storyline. The player is frequently making decisions about who to save, who to befriend, who to give which responsibilities to within the group, and ultimately deciding the fate of every major character.
Survival Instinct will attempt to put that same story-telling style into a first-person adventure game. Players will have to, not only deal with a changing survivor group, but also have to sneak around Assassin’s Creed style, ganking, distracting, or avoiding zombies as needed.
The plot will surely appeal to fans of the show: players will take on the role of Daryl and Merle Dixon as they make their way across the southern United States toward what they believe will be a safe place in Georgia. We all know how the story ends, of course: The two meet up with the survivor group from the show on a freeway just outside of Atlanta. Their path to that eventual point however is up to the player to decide. How many other survivors will the pair try to protect and feed? Will they get that food by scavenging, robing, or hunting? When they encounter walkers, will they go through them or around them?
These are the perfect characters for this purpose, if we need to use characters from the show. The Dixon brothers are rather morally ambiguous at the start of the series, so any kind of back-story can be made believable.
It sounds like, if they do it right, Survival Instinct has a lot of potential. I’d be hard-pressed to believe that it will have the pure emotional impact of the TellTale entry, but for those who require a bit more ‘game’ in their video game, this should be a fun title.
The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is coming to all major platforms sometime in 2013.