The Walking Dead Social Game’s open beta lurches onto Facebook

AMC and RockYou today announced The Walking Dead Social Game, developed by Eyes Wide Games, has launched on Facebook in open beta.

The Walking Dead Social Game is based on AMC’s hit show, in turn based on Robert Kirkman’s long-running comic series following the journey of Rick Grimes and a fluctuating cast of survivors as they navigate through a post-zombie apocalypse world. The game’s story begins a few weeks prior to the TV show’s pilot episode, with players being rescued by Shane Walsh and brought back to the survivor’s camp he leads. Players receive various missions from other camp members, which seem to largely be based around going out into the world to scavenge for supplies.

The game is a mixture of strategy, role-playing and survival horror genres, with players using combat, stealth and distraction to fend off or avoid “walker” zombies (so named because they roam around the landscape). Players go out in the world and engage in turn-based fights with zombies, starting out with simple melee weapons and gradually acquiring firearms from the in-game store. As experience is earned in the title, characters can have attributes like stamina, accuracy and movement range upgraded. Meanwhile, players can return to the survivor camp in between missions to rest, further the story and spend experience points.

There seems to be an option to play co-operatively, but none of our friends are in the game yet, so we can’t fully comment on these mechanics. That said, some zombies that appear in missions are labeled as friends and we’re invited to share game invites with those people once we’ve killed their undead avatars.

When we first heard about The Walking Dead Social Game, the original release date was planned for sometime in April. That date came and went and not much was said about the game until now. Although the show isn’t schedule to start back up again until October, the comic series has recently been enjoying a significant amount of attention because its one hundredth issue just came out last month and was recently featured in the digital comics app ComiXology.

Facebook games that tie-in to TV shows aren’t massively popular on the social network, but they can do brisk business if attached to the right brand. On one hand, games like Being Human and Spartacus: The Game have mostly faded from public view after brief stints in the limelight, while titles like CSI: Crime City and House M.D.: Critical Cases are still enjoying well over 100,000 daily active users.

The Walking Dead Social Game will probably land among, and possibly surpass, titles in the latter category. This is because The Walking Dead is a very strong brand, with the show having set several viewer records for AMC and the comic series being constantly praised by critics and even winning an Eisner Award.