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The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct Out Now, What We Learned

Drew Haworth's Avatar + Posted by Drew Haworth on Mar 19, 2013 // Creative Director, Terminal Reality

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct for PS3

When we became aware of The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct opportunity with Activision and AMC, we leapt on it. We devised a first-person survival-horror strategy approach and pitched it. Our game was planned as a labor of love: an endeavor to create a relatively intimate The Walking Dead game experience for fans like us… as well as players new to the series who were looking for a different type of zombie game. Our goal was to create an authentic and compelling experience worthy of the name.

Since then, of course, Telltale has released all the amazing episodes of their deserved Game of the Year, and AMC’s series has consistently shattered broadcast television records! So while ‘pressure’ may be an understatement, we’ve stayed the course. And Activision and AMC have been steadfast, wonderful partners in us making the game we set out to make in the first place: a new type of zombie game experience for players that want to take on The Walking Dead’s world for a while!

Here are some of the lessons the team learned while developing The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, which is out today on PS3!

I was skeptical, but I learned that you can create a game that uses one fundamental type of enemy and still maintains challenge, intensity, and intrigue throughout. There are no super-zombies or acid-spitter zombies in The Walking Dead universe, but we found that by adding lots of behavioral and physical variations within the accepted Walker ‘spectrum’, we were able to keep players scared and surprised throughout the game. –Russell Mirabelli, Lead Programmer
I learned that smashing zombie skulls sounds alot like smashing various fruits and veggies. It gave us some great audio for the sound department. The lingering fruit-salad fragrance in the studio was an added bonus. –Brian Fieser, Lead Sound Designer

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct for PS3The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct for PS3

I learned, or relearned, that you simply cannot overestimate the value of a headline actor that gets the material, is excited about the game, and brings their own expertise to the character. As Norman Reedus and Michael Rooker have been credited multiple times with shaping the characters of Daryl and Merle Dixon — the only major characters that don’t appear in Mr. Kirkman’s comics. These two know those characters as well as anyone: what they would and wouldn’t do, what they would and wouldn’t say, and were incredibly generous in sharing that with us. In terms of authenticity, what higher authority is there?Drew Haworth, Creative Director

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct for PS3

Well-defined parameters work really well to help bring out creative solutions to problems. For example, one of Survival Instinct’s points of focus is on replayability, rather than a single static campaign where you see everything the first time you play. So that helped inspire elements like the Travel System and its unpredictable Road Events, catering to unique playstyles and results based on player’s weapon loadouts, flexible and dynamic Walker AI, and branching paths on the Georgia map. –Jason Alexander, Primary Level Designer
Walkers don’t wear shorts. You’d think they might, in Georgia, but no. Long pants, maybe a nice skirt. We learned that fact from Greg Nicotero. –Robert St. Aubin, Concept Artist

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct for PS3

A key lesson for me during the course of development was to see the importance of Daryl’s crossbow. Our initial builds only allowed melee weapons and firearms, so there was no real way to kill a walker from a distance without drawing the entire street to your location. When TRI introduced the crossbow, it opened up all kinds of possibilities in strategically pacifying an area of walkers. Add the ability to reuse ammo and we have a great candidate for the ultimate zombie weapon. If you gave me a choice between Daryl’s crossbow and two bolts, or an assault rifle with a full 30 round clip. I’ll take the crossbow every time! –Matt Hohl, Activision Producer
One thing I learned through extensive hours of playing The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is to always, always CLOSE DOORS BEHIND YOU! It seems like something so innocuous that it wouldn’t be a big deal, but trust me: it is. I can’t count the number of times where I get into an altercation in a room that only had one or two walkers in it, only to have a flood of them hear the noise and pour out of the door that I haplessly left open behind me (d’oh). This is especially significant when you’re entering a building since the dead pretty much run rampant in the streets — an open door might as well be a neon sign inviting them in after you. Metal doors are the best since the walkers can’t break through them, but even those flimsy wooden doors are enough to delay the herd and buy you a few precious seconds to GTFO. So, for heaven’s sake, shut the dang door on your way in and out! –Dino Verano, Activision Associate Producer

If you didn’t preorder the game, don’t worry, The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct will be getting a DLC pack containing a Herd mode and backpack full of new weapons on April 18th!

//Add Your Own

49 Comments

1

+ ItaChu on March 19th, 2013 at 7:02 am said:

What we learned … that its bad and had almost no marketing ?


2

+ BO2TLOU on March 19th, 2013 at 7:02 am said:

GOTY.


3

+ Packet0066 on March 19th, 2013 at 7:07 am said:

I’d wait for some reviews before thinking of purchasing this one…


4

+ PatricioUSA on March 19th, 2013 at 7:07 am said:

Not buying an Activision game.


5

+ D-Squad3 on March 19th, 2013 at 7:09 am said:

lol


6

+ TrueLordX on March 19th, 2013 at 7:19 am said:

There are a few reviews for this steaming pile out already, anyone considering picking it up should check them out. Though I don’t think that many of us were surprised. I see now why they didn’t release a playable copy to be reviewed anywhere.


7

+ johnnyp70 on March 19th, 2013 at 7:24 am said:

For ha-has, I went over to Amazon b/c I had heard the games was 37.49ish over there. It is, but the PS3 version is sold out. Not that I was going to buy it, just wanted to see if it was still at that price point.


8

+ TWODEEEE on March 19th, 2013 at 7:27 am said:

this game has dated graphics and honestly sucks, if you buy wait till its used and only buy if youre a huge walking dead fan and you want the story, me? ill stick with watching it on youtube


9

+ KidCommando on March 19th, 2013 at 7:29 am said:

I learned to trust my own instinct and stay far away from this decaying shell of a game.

Are you serious with that ending!?


10

+ UncannySilk on March 19th, 2013 at 7:31 am said:

Recipe for disaster:
Make a Walking Dead game right after the Telltale series was finished.
Put little to no marketing in the game and rely on old alpha versions of the game to ‘sell’ the product. (which in all honesty the alpha ver. looks the same as the current build.)
Make it a shooter.

CLASSIC ACTIVISION. OH, THOSE SCAMPS!

Yeah not buying this.


11

+ BAMProctor on March 19th, 2013 at 7:34 am said:

This is a pretty Good game. The best no but it is pretty ok, something to dew and im a huge walking dead fan! And it is a good game to have, even though it was rushed and released to early. It is still a good game. I cant wait to go home and play it. I rate it a solid 7.7


12

+ JimmyChaos on March 19th, 2013 at 8:00 am said:

Why the hell won’t this site keep me as signed in and why doesn’t it return me to where I was when I do log in? Those are some pretty basic features nowadays.

Anyways, I wanna try the game before I buy it. Thank god there are a lot of other good games this month so I don’t accidentally buy this out of boredom. lol


13

+ swisstylez on March 19th, 2013 at 8:01 am said:

So………… It’s finally out, sadly I tried looking for videos or news of this game and I didn’t find almost anything. I even pre-ordered Bioshock infinite today, not knowing this game was set for release on this same day, well you can call that nice marketing. sorry but this game is definitely a no buy for me. I can’t go eyes blind into a game I don’t know anything about.


14

+ m4dDmUdD on March 19th, 2013 at 8:10 am said:

loving all the spiteful comments against activision they truly are the worst


15

+ LOZSTA on March 19th, 2013 at 8:39 am said:

Looks horrific. I would never buy this. Mainly because its Activision, and as Vaas said about the definition of insanity, if I keep buying their games I will go insane.

Needs a demo if you want anyone to take it seriously but then again if you did that no one would buy it.

Activision are the worst, then EA a close second.


16

+ LOZSTA on March 19th, 2013 at 8:40 am said:

Didn’t see that last section, release a game then no doubt a chargeable bit of DLC.


17

+ jerk_man on March 19th, 2013 at 8:47 am said:

Ok.. so I just want to say something. If this.game sucks its because of the dev not the publisher. From a buisiness standpoint I.think Activision is doing the right thing. They were probably truly excited when they heard the devs vision for the game. Who wouldnt the conceptsoumds amazing. Then once they started to see the game was shotty they didn’t want to.put a whole lot of pr into it. Keep the spending to a minimum. Then sell the game for cheap to try to make back some of the money you put into the game. I think its gonna br like 40 bucks. That’s 20 bucks cheaper then most other new games. And when people are its a walking dead game, surely people will buy. That’s just my thoughts on that.


18

+ m4dDmUdD on March 19th, 2013 at 9:13 am said:

Activision is the sole reason why MW2 and MW3 were such trash games… they would not allow room for true creativity at IW and sought to find a way to fire the creators of their best selling franchise because they wanted more creative freedom and more time to be able to create a GOOD game not just put some bandages on some crappy build the small studio didn’t have time to fix.


19

+ GrimReminder64 on March 19th, 2013 at 9:26 am said:

People you do realize that Activison is the publisher and not the creator of the game right? Terminal reality is the maker and the game is okay differently not the greatest and the graphics are not the best but so what a game doesn’t have to have good graphics to be enjoyed by someone.


20

+ INFIDEL_JIHAD on March 19th, 2013 at 9:27 am said:

So many negative comments… why come on here just to bash if it’s not your thing? … anyway the wife is a huge walking dead fan we’ll be picking this up ASAP :o)


21

+ HorrorGod on March 19th, 2013 at 9:46 am said:

I’m a huge TWD fan, but I don’t want to buy something JUST because it has “The Walking Dead” slapped on the title. Which is what it feels like they are expecting people to do (zero marketing, cheap price, half assed graphics, etc.)

This game is on my “must play list,” and I will eventually rent it or pick it up when the price drops, no matter if it gets bad reviews. I’ll make up my own mind about the game.


22

+ SrangeMagic on March 19th, 2013 at 10:44 am said:

I pre-ordered this from Amazon since it was so cheap (25% off) and still haven’t received it. I noticed that it’s marked as unavailable on their site so I called Amazon and was told that they might have pulled it due to technical issues. Apparently, if a number of customers complain about something, they will discontinue the product. Still not sure if I will get mine or not…


23

+ Ryumoau on March 19th, 2013 at 11:05 am said:

Activision has done absolutely no marketing for this game and Amazon is already selling it at less than $40. If thats not a sure sign of how terrible this game is going to be, just look at Activision’s previous two movie/tv tie in games 007 Legends and Family Guy.

007 Legends was one of the laziest bond games i’ve ever played. It made the old gamecube 007 titles like Nightfire look inspired. They choose some of the weakest movies to include (Die another Day, Moonraker, and License to Kill) and had the nerve to shoehorn Daniel Craig in them. They even changed the stories to fit him, like having his adventure in License to kill be officially sanctioned by MI6 or having Bond mow down chinese soldiers call of duty style in Goldfinger. The game even had the nerve to leave out the last mission of the game because of Skyfall spoilers, instead of releasing the full game AFTER the movie released. >_<

Family Guy game had terrible controls and recycled unfunny material from the show over and over again.

Activision just needs to stop crapping out these terrible tie in games if they aren't willing to give the developers proper time and resources to make a good game. That last transformers was the only decent one.


24

+ Faythi on March 19th, 2013 at 11:05 am said:

I won’t be purchasing this; at least for now.

I love the walking dead, but I wont just buy a product because it’s name is on it. There has been little to no information, no marketing and no hype at all. You have to make me want this game. And by not sharing any information about this game and releasing it out of no where, shows very little confidence in the publisher and developer.

I’ll wait for it to be free from PS Plus or when its on sale for under $10.


25

+ omega_alpha-619 on March 19th, 2013 at 11:07 am said:

D/L’ing it right now… on PC for Free.

I won’t give my money to Activision. ^_^


26

+ Ryumoau on March 19th, 2013 at 11:07 am said:

@19 its true they didn’t develop it, but they are the ones who finance it and make demands and deadlines for the developers. Thats why so many of their tie in games feel so rushed and lazy.


27

+ TuttiCicero on March 19th, 2013 at 11:32 am said:

Definitely bargain bin within 2-3 months because this game plays like Dead Island. It’s quite clunky, uninspired, and all around could have been much better if not rushed.

My advice, save your money for the time being.


28

+ vdot81 on March 19th, 2013 at 12:08 pm said:

You see? If they focused more on good video games(Ahem, crash and spyro) they would get more money and positive feedback instead of making games with no effort. >:(


29

+ shadow71 on March 19th, 2013 at 2:06 pm said:

Activision with no playable games sent for review again. Just like Black Ops for Vita, I’m sure this too will suck and it’ll be priced even better. $99.99!!! =/


30

+ WhiteWolfKogan on March 19th, 2013 at 2:32 pm said:

massive walking dead fan, and being that Daryl is not part of the comics i wanted to know his origins. granted, the graphics look out-dated, the combat system is ridiculous (4 knife hacks to the head to kill and 3 from a hammer; done on the first level) with the aiming reticule, and the physics of it seem off. on the other hand, it is a great story so far, there is room for creative thinking forcing you to get into survival mode, and Daryl Dixon is a generated badass with a soft side. if it wasnt for the graphics and the actual combat, this game could have been epic, but it is still a good game.


31

+ CMaverick444 on March 19th, 2013 at 2:32 pm said:

i have read many of these comments and i was hard pressed to find anyone who actually played this game. i have and let me tell you that while it is no Tomb Raider, it is a fun game. It is a game more based on stealth than run and gun so the CoD fans may not be happy here. There is resource management, decisions over who to save and who to allow to die. There were mo glitches in the ew hours i had with it. Thee was excellent acting and good story so far. I enjoy it and I recommend it. To those dismissing because of a publisher, get off of the pedestal. People should be willin tobtake chances and have a mind of their own. I would give it a solid buy for fans, a great rentalbfor those looking for something different and a cautionary tale to not follow a crowd and have the courage to stand for yourself.


32

+ Juststeveplease on March 19th, 2013 at 3:16 pm said:

I SEE DEAD PEOPLE FULL OF RAGE RUN!!!!!


33

+ WhiteWolfKogan on March 19th, 2013 at 3:43 pm said:

@31 thank you. it is fun, just some clunkiness to it. i was more interested in who Daryl was before Atlanta, been having fun although when the herds come that is when survival kicks in and it becomes do or die


34

+ SLAUGHTEl2 on March 19th, 2013 at 5:41 pm said:

I’m sorry but this game looks like it was built for the wii and then maybe they got offered to do it for the wiiu and of course we got the crappy port of the game. Graphically it’s 2 out of 5. Story I just started but I’m discouraged. Control fees very clunky very awkward very wiiish. Activision put the least amount of funding into this game as possible and they knew the name it self would carry there wallets right to the bank that’s why we had no demo no marketing at all no nothing. This game could of been a great success if another company got to handle it but activision just wanted to ride the money train.


35

+ Kungfuchewy on March 19th, 2013 at 6:04 pm said:

Never seen so many people bash something they know nothing about. This game is fun, it’s interesting, and the story is good. Graphics aren’t the top of the line but they are not bad. The game play is built around stealth more than run and gun, combat is harder than say cod but really ? Who wants to play all games made the same way shoot the same way combat the same way and finish the game in 3-4 hours because its easy? Lazy people….

If you like the walking dead series you will enjoy playing this game. I’ve played, not sure what % through I am yet but enjoying it very much. If you haven’t played it quit being whiners.


36

+ SLAUGHTEl2 on March 19th, 2013 at 7:02 pm said:

See I don’t like cod games. But I play everything and I’m very open minded. Like I said graphically it’s not there as for story I just started. Combat or controls feel unresponsive. I just think activision wasn’t the right company for this game and I do believe we got a ported version. Idc what people say in my eyes thats what we got a ported version of the wiiu. I’m a huge fan of the series I’ve been watching since day 1. So for you to say if your a fan of the series you’ll like it, that’s wrong. It’s like saying if you like cucumbers you will like pickles just because they are the same. They have there own distinct flavors and that’s the reason not everybody likes both. How can you say people don’t know anything about it, if they bought the game then they very well know about it and I’ve purchased even with the bad reviews.


37

+ SLAUGHTEl2 on March 19th, 2013 at 7:03 pm said:

I don’t let other peoples opinions decide my purchases. But like I said it either needed more financial backing and more better development. I for one think another studio should of handled development and not activision. Combat is very easy you can stand on top of cars or dumpsters and take a whole horde out. Also fighting 2 or 3 walkers at a time is easy. Two strong hits with the pipe and there down. Its easy to get the timing down and once that’s done it’s all downhill. All the walkers have the same distinct actions and there is not a very large variety of walkers.


38

+ Phoenix7469 on March 19th, 2013 at 8:42 pm said:

Tony Hawk of the Dead. The Last of Us for the win.


39

+ WastelandDan on March 20th, 2013 at 12:26 am said:

OPEN WORLD MULTI PLAYER ZOMBIE SURVIVAL

Is that so f’n hard to figure out?!

Wtf, pos out of touch game devs…why does this seem illegal to produce on the PLAYSTATION, do ya want me to get a PC or crapBOX?!

GD’it so close..yet SO far away!


40

+ R_aVe_N on March 20th, 2013 at 3:41 am said:

It is clear that Terminal Reality had a lot of vision on the game, and wanted to create something great for The Walking Dead fans. What I want to know is if Activision totally tashed this game because they didn’t really want to pay for it. I remember reading someplace that Terminal Reality asked for more time to work on this and they were told no due to them wanting the game out before the Season Finale. The game is not horrible it is just not the best it could be. Terminal Reality had a lot of good ideas it just seems they ran out of time to do them all. I really enjoyed the voice acting and holding true to the TV series. I am really disappointed in Activision on this (Like we could expect anything less out of them at this point)


41

+ JonOfTheShred on March 20th, 2013 at 4:06 am said:

Doesn’t look amazing, but still looks 100x more enjoyable than that overrated crap Telltale churned out that seems to tickle everyones taint besides my own. I’m sorry, but “Fisher Price: The Walking Dead” didn’t do it for me. Telltale should be ashamed of themselves, constantly taking other peoples ideas and making point and click turds out of them. If you’re gonna use “graphics” as an excuse to not develop a game engine, Telltale, how about hiring an entire cast of talented voice actors? And focusing on making the graphics dark and foreboding? Instead of cartoonish and childish? And how about making choices that matter? What a waste of time that crap was.

This game looks rather bland as well, but I had more fun watching the 20 minute play-through of Survival Instinct on Youtube than I did with Telltales bland mishmash of awkward conversation, QTEs and the insufferable Duck.


42

+ gardnerd on March 20th, 2013 at 5:38 am said:

Personally I like this game, Controls are good, graphics aren’t horrible 8/10, story is decent at best a lot of fetch tasks, and since it’s a prequel it doesn’t really have an ending I guess you would say.
Overall the game is a 7/10 for me and at the price point of 49.99 you can’t really go wrong, this game is fun just wish there was co-op, and of you go in expecting it to be anything like the teltale game adaptation of The walking dead your going to have a bad time…


43

+ derb on March 20th, 2013 at 11:14 am said:

Have not had much time with the game to judge everything about it except Graphics. They are dull. If it was intentional to be this way, I apologize.

I’d at least try the game out for those sitting on the fence. Make note & wait for a cheaper deal if the pice ain’t catchy.


44

+ derb on March 20th, 2013 at 11:16 am said:

Forgot, first picture shown is entirely misleading for those wondering what it looks like.


45

+ csulb699 on March 20th, 2013 at 12:02 pm said:

I like how the moderators didnt approve my comment on the terrible reviews on this giant turd of a game! The Youtube reviews prove it! What is there to hide Drew Haworth // Creative Director, Terminal Reality?! Reason why it took so long to get reviews was to rip off the public by putting out this trite garbage


46

+ I-AM-LEFTY on March 20th, 2013 at 2:59 pm said:

I finished this game in a about 10 hrs. Aside from the suspense of zombies chasing you. It might be the worst game I played for the ps3/playstation 1 and 2 for that matter in my life. The only plus about this game is the zombie killing. At least a arm comes off if you hit it with an axe. And atleast the pre-order key chain is cool. It did have me kept playing, but not worth 50 bucks.


47

+ ceedub2 on March 20th, 2013 at 7:24 pm said:

coming from activision its gotta be crap


48

+ BobLeeSwagger425 on March 21st, 2013 at 3:12 am said:

This game is a damn fun zombie game, if you like playin left 4 dead or even zombie mode in COD then this game will top both. Graphics r not amazing but either are the graphics to games like a COD multiplayer. The game itself is played almost like a fallout but without as much puzzles n inventory. It’s more choice n what to carry n what not to carry, for your own safety n the safety of your group. If you like the show n u always say it would be interesting to be involved in a zombie apocalypse or any of those thoughts this is as real as its gonna get for now. You are on your own through each mini story/mission whether u choose to sneak through n risk it or leave your group members behind to watch the truck, u choose who u save n involve your story with or if it’s jus u n your bro. If u came on here to look at reviews n judge it, DO NOT! Because if you r a true fan n enjoy the whole mentality n mind trip of what a rush it would be to live in that world this is the game that’ll make you feel as involved as any. Really good job for rushing the game. If would have done it the right way this game could have been one of the greatest.


49

+ TuttiCicero on March 21st, 2013 at 9:58 am said:

Reviews are out, highest rating this game received that I’ve seen is 4/10 so far.

A Kotaku reviewer gave it a “Worst game I’ve played this year”… lol

I’ve played SI at a buddy’s place on Tuesday and more so yesterday, and this game is such a load of crap it’s not even worth discussing.

It’s understandable that a lot of people are trying to defend the game, because you’ve all wasted $50 on it and must justify the purchase in some way, shape or form.


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