The Walking Dead lurching onto Facebook in April

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By Mike Thompson Comment

AMC’s celebrated television series The Walking Dead may be wrapping up its second season, but fans won’t have to go long without zombie-killing; a tie-in game is coming soon to Facebook.

The Walking Dead Social Game is the result of a newly-announced partnership between AMC and publisher RockYou, with Eyes Wide Games handling development. The concept is based on the question we’ve all asked ourselves while watching the show: “What would I do in order to ride out the zombie apocalypse?” If players are willing to mount up, get armed and stare down the undead hordes (unlike series creator Robert Kirkman, who says he’d kill himself in a similar situation), the Facebook game will let players engage in turn-based strategy play to fight off waves of “walker” zombies. While the game won’t follow the adventures of Rick Grimes and his fellow survivors, it was confirmed that players will be able to explore the world established in the show. Also, players will interact with the show’s characters from time to time.

Early screenshots may surprise fans of both the comics and the television series. Visuals are cartoony and lushly-colored, as opposed to muted tones that are so often present in the show (which, in turn, mimic the black-and-white illustrations of the comics).

We’re told gameplay will consist of two distinct parts. Initially, players will have to set up and improve base camps out of which they they can operate. Once a camp is established, players will then have to send out raiding parties to scavenge for supplies. According to Josh Grant from RockYou., players players will need to choose how they navigate the world and fight zombies. Choices will include combat methods (melee or ranged), whether groups stay together or split up to find cover and whether or not party members should be used to create diversions to distract the zombies.

Grant also promised that “many proven social mechanics” will be present in the game, including recruited to guard other players’ camps while they’re away on missions (or just absent from the keyboard). If the camp does get overrun by walkers while a player’s away, Grant hinted that the friends might reappear as zombies.

The Walking Dead Social Game is set to launch some time in April, after the second season’s finale on March 18. While the game would undoubtedly benefit from launching while the show is still airing, AMC will show TV ads for the game during the season finale. However, it seems like AMC is relying more on viral word-of-mouth than anything else to generate awareness for the title.

The lack of cross-promotion during the show’s off season could prove risky. We’ve seen games like Jersey Shore, Camelot: The Game and Spartacus: Gods of the Arena suffer from post-season declines in monthly and daily active users; most of these games fail to recover. Camelot: The Game, in fact, was taken offline less than a year after it launched.

Zombie-killing games are still proving popular on Facebook, as demonstrated by The Last Stand: Dead Zone’s recent appearance on our Emerging Games list. While The Walking Dead IP is certainly popular, the game may face a tough time in terms of discovery and acceptance from fans between the launch date, the different visual style and the focus on killing zombies instead of the human relationships that The Walking Dead rotates around.

Note: The earlier version of the story credited AMC as confirming details about the game. Credit should have been give to Josh Grant from RockYou, and this has been corrected.

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