Alpert pointed to the approach Telltale Games has taken with its games, which only feature an appearance by Glenn Rhea from the TV series and comics. Other than that, it's a different experience. Skybound's creators aren't interested in the old '90s Hollywood licensing strategies, which saw a lot of poor games that offered a retread of the events from the big screen.
"People want to experience similar situations from the film or television show, but from their own perspective," Alpert said. "Games are a forward-looking opportunity."
The new shooter from Starbreeze's Overkill will follow the Payday: The Heist digital distribution model. That game debuted on PC and PlayStation 3 and later migrated to other consoles with Payday 2. Payday 2: Crimewave Edition comes to Xbox One and PS4 this fall. The Walking Dead game is being created with the Diesel engine, which was built to power PC and next gen console games.
"We love getting real-time feedback from players and having a real connection with the gamers, which increases the value of the experience as developers can tweak an episodic game or improve a digital game over time," Alpert said. "We believe in community."
Dan Murray, head of Skybound Interactive, pointed out that the new Starbreeze game is meant to be a complement and not a replacement to the Telltale games. He also said Telltale will continue making its episodic games based on the franchise.
"The Starbreeze guys and Telltale guys know and respect each other," Murray said. "I look forward to seeing how they can collaborate and expand this universe. We've made a long-term commitment with Starbreeze to create something fresh and new, and the co-op game fans have been asking for."
It's also another video game collaboration between a pair of indies, noted Bo Andersson Klint, CEO of Starbreeze. It will be gameplay focused, ferocious, and bring chaos to the traditional industry model — from us developers straight to you," Klint said.
Without strict deadlines and a Hollywood studio peering over its shoulder, Telltale Games was able to connect with fans of Kirkman's comic books and the TV offshoot they spawned. Starbreeze's forthcoming co-op shooter also has the benefit of digital delivery and the direct involvement of Kirkman (who was not involved in Activision's The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct or the upcoming survival strategy game, The Walking Dead: No Man's Land, in development at Next Games).
"The video game can't exist in the video game space only because The Walking Dead is popular, it has to exist in the video game space because it's a cool video game," Kirkman said. "Even if it wasn't branded with The Walking Dead, it would still be something that is fun to play and very cool. Skybound is always about breaking new ground and trying to find something unexpected in all endeavors and this game continues that tradition in grand style."
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