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Out March 19, for Xbox 360, PS3, PC and Wii U, THE WALKING
DEAD: SURVIVAL INSTINCT is packed full of zombie goodness. To get more insight
into the chaos to come, FANGORIA recently sat down with Terminal Reality’s
Principal FX Artist/System Designer, Glenn Gamble.
Before the interview started, Glenn commented:
“I just wanted to say I have loved FANGORIA since I was a
kid. I always wanted to get into FX for movies with my heroes growing up being
the Tom Savini's and the Sam Raimi's of the movie industry. I count myself
lucky that I didn't fall too far from that life goal tree, working in the game industry
doing FX and design. “
FANGORIA: THE WALKING DEAD: SURVIVAL INSTINCT follows
brothers Darryl and Merle Dixon in their adventures to the presumed safety of
Atlanta during the opening days of the zombie apocalypse. Why were these two
characters chosen to be the protagonists of the new game, and how much will we
learn about the duo by playing the upcoming release?
GLENN GAMBLE: There are a thousand reasons why we went with
Daryl, and honestly I can’t think of a single reason why we wouldn't have
chosen him. At the time in our development process, when our attention started
to turn toward the story, season two was airing on AMC and Daryl was really
becoming a character onto his own. We all thought he was a compelling
character, and he was trending well with the fans. He was a TV show exclusive
character, which didn't hurt either. The game was being designed as a survival
game and if you recall back to season one, the first time the audience was
introduced to him, he was hunting a deer. More and more, he just seemed like
the best fit for the game we were making.
So, once the decision was to make Daryl our hero, we started
looking at what we could do with him. We scoured the show for any comments he
made about his past. What it all kept coming back to was the character progression
he makes in season two. We wanted to answer some of the question of, ‘Why does
he change so much?’ What most people don't think about is that until the most
recent episodes in season three, Merle and Daryl haven't really shared any
screen time together. We wanted to go back and give these interesting
characters a bit more time together, with a story about where they came from.
Considering there have been few stories told during the time Rick is in a coma
and the world is starting to fall apart, we felt this gave us the most latitude.
Not to mention, it gave us the opportunity to tell you where the crossbow comes
from (and no it isn't from the side of the road).
FANG: THE WALKING DEAD: SURVIVAL INSTINCT will be the second
video game, following 2012's Game of the Year THE WALKING DEAD. In what ways
will these two titles be similar, and what are the main features that will be
included in SURVIVAL INSTINCT that was not featured in the Telltale series?
GLENN: As a gamer, it is really cool that we can have two
separate but complementary WALKING DEAD games out at the same time. However,
short of being set in the same franchise, however, the two games are very
different. The awesome Telltale game is based on the comic and is more of a
story driven adventure. SURVIVAL INSTINCT is based on the AMC show and is a
first person survival game, so it is more action orientated, where players have
to make dynamic decisions and use the items they find for combat and
survival. Instead of watching the story
from a third person perspective, we want to ground the player in the universe,
which is one of the reasons we went with a first person camera. It is much
harder to see what is coming when you can't angle the camera around the corner
in front of you (though we do have a peeking option to help you with that).
FANG: Will THE WALKING DEAD: SURVIVAL INSTINCT include any
form of multiplayer? What was done to ensure the upcoming release is a success
in this crowded genre?
GLENN: In a word, thinking. As Daryl, you will have to think
in order to outwit our Walker A.I. This means being environmentally aware and
checking your corners for Walkers. Think of it as a high stakes game of cat and
mouse, where you constantly have to evaluate the situation in front of (and
sneaking up behind) you, hopefully without drawing too much attention to
yourself. It is a single player search-and-survive game with minor resource
management. You can play the game run-and-gun style if you want, but that is
like ringing the dinner bell. Firing weapons alerts every Walker in the area to
your presence and is a good way to get torn apart. Walkers are incredibly aware
of their surroundings while looking for potential food, are drawn to
"human sounds" like breaking glass or footsteps. They respond to this
external stimulus, but that doesn't mean they all react the same - they are the
undead after all. Just like on the show, we can't predict what a Walker is
going to do every time. Some are quicker to react than others; some may take
the long way to get to the player, etc. We have had more than a few deaths in
playthroughs because someone forgot to check a corner and got taken down by a
sneaky Walker. This is why I prefer using distraction items, like throwing a
bottle so it breaks in the distance. The strategy has its pros and cons, of
course – it might make it easy to get by a group of Walkers, but then you have
to be double sure to not attract that group when engaging the next one. I’ve
seen other players here who want to kill every Walker as they go, but that is too
risky for me. It is up to you, and we encourage everyone to come up with their
own play style.
FANG: Will players need to have some understanding of the series
that came before it to fully appreciate the storyline you guys are cooking up
in THE WALKING DEAD: SURVIVAL INSTINCT, and what sort of surprises will be
included in the game for those of us who can't get enough of the comics and
GLENN: That is the beauty of doing a game focused around the
start of a series. Anyone, fan or not, can jump in and participate. For the
fans, they will hopefully get more out of both the characters Merle and Daryl
in seasons two and three, because they have an interesting relationship that we
are expanding on. There are a few things about Daryl that may surprise you
about his past, like the last moments he had with his father. That said, I
don't want to spoil anything, since a big part of any WALKING DEAD experience
is the story. But I am not completely heartless; I'll give you just a taste.
You'll find out about Merle's favorite chair in one of my favorite scenes in
FANG: THE WALKING DEAD: SURVIVAL INSTINCT seems to be
largely a game about surviving at all costs, and this means rationing supplies
and sneaking past zombies whenever possible. What sort of incentives will
players have to choose flight over fight and ration supplies? Also, can you
tell us a bit about some of the other characters we will meet throughout the
GLENN: In WALKING DEAD: SURVIVAL INSTINCT we really wanted
to capture the feeling of the show. So that means three Walkers is a serious
threat, which was inspired by the episode in season two where Rick gets
overwhelmed and piled on by three Walkers. This is a fairly low number for most
games. My record in hand-to-hand combat with a group of Walkers is six at one
time, but I helped make the combat system so I have more practice than most.
This is a huge reason not to engage Walkers directly if you can help it. A
player that tries to analyze the situation in front of them will do better than
one just charging blindly in. But don't think too long either; we try to keep
the player from ever feeling safe. Walkers can smell you out if you sit still.
Given the dynamic situations the player finds themselves in, sometimes it is
better to just run than going for that extra tank of gas.
The interesting thing about rationing supplies is that it
goes hand-in-hand with managing the survivors of the game. All resources that
help Daryl also help the survivors. So the rations that heal Daryl also heal
the survivors. The weapons Daryl uses can also be given to a survivor to aid
them if they go out to forage (except the crossbow, no one is touching that). So
this shared resource pool helps the group, but you run the risk of losing a
shotgun if the person you equip it never comes back. Gas is the item you have
to conserve the most since every time you drive somewhere you are burning a
valuable resource. It is an interesting mechanic. Along the way you will
encounter random mini missions that can help you out if you are willing to
explore, however you will be exposed and the threat level will be that much
For much more on THE WALKING
DEAD: SURVIVAL INSTINCT, find its official site here.
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