At New York Comic Con, mobile game company Disruptor Beam — best known for "Game of Thrones: Ascent" and "Star Trek: Timelines" — announced that its next game would be "The Walking Dead: March to War." Based on the comics, and slated for for iOS and Android devices, "March to War" is a multiplayer strategy game set during the conflict between Alexandria's survivors and Negan's Saviors, which unfolded in Issues #109 through 126 of Robert Kirman and Charlie Adlard's Image Comics series.
With the game slated to arrive at an as-yet-undetermined time in 2017, CBR spoke with the game's producer, Kristen Halloran, following the announcement to learn as much as we could about what happens when Rick and company are faced with their "March to War."
Please note: All images are concept drawings, not screenshots from the final game.
CBR: To start, what kind of game is "The Walking Dead: March to War?"
Kristen Halloran: It's a story-driven, multiplayer, real-time strategy game. You play on a map that presents all of the D.C. area, and will see such landmarks as Hilltop, Sanctuary, Kingdom and Alexandria -- the main ones you see in the comics. You'll put together groups of survivors as well as council members, who are character from the comics, and you'll form raiding parties and send them out to collect food or items you can use to upgrade your base, as well as to attack other people. Our goal is to make you feel like you're Rick Grimes. You don't play as Rick, but we want you to feel like you're in the same position as him, where you're building up a community of survivors, and making the kind of tough choices he's had to make.
In regards to it being multiplayer, does that mean that you'd be playing as survivors, but I'd be playing as zombies, and we'll fight?
No, you don't play as the zombies; everyone will be human. Rather, you have a shared map that you'll play on with other players, and each will have their own survivors and council members. We'll be talking more later about forming alliances and being able to co-op with other players.
In fact, the walkers aren't the most dangerous things out there. As you know from the comics and the TV show, it's the other survivors you need to watch out for. The walkers are a threat, but you know how crazy other people can get.
What is the story being told in the game, and how does it connect, both narratively and chronologically, to the comics?
We don't have a lot of detail about the story to share just yet, but we're not aiming to give you the same experience as the comics. We don't want to just rehash stories you've already read, though you will see situations from the comics, just from a different angle. You'll really be telling your own story.
What role, if any, does Robert Kirkman have in the making of "The Walking Dead: March to War?"
The game is being written internally, and we don't have anything to say at this time about any writing Robert might be doing -- though we have been working with him, especially in terms of what we can and can't do because of what he might have planned for the comics.
Why did you decide to connect it to the comics as opposed to the show?
It's important to us to deal with the creators of something. When we did "Game of Thrones: Ascent," we worked with ["Game of Thrones" writer] George R.R. Martin, and we found it to be really helpful. It's also important to us that the comics are going to be around for a long time. Robert has said he wants to keep the comics going, even if the show comes to an end.
"The Walking Dead: March to War" is set in Washington D.C. because that's where the comic is set, but you could've just as easily set it in some other city. Was the comic connection why it's set in D.C., or was there some other reason as well?
When we started working on the game, we began with the idea that it would be a multiplayer game, that you'd be fighting other factions of human survivors. But after we did that, we took a look at the comics and realized that this idea fit perfectly with what happened in the comics at the time of the "March to War" and "All Out War" storylines, with Rick and his survivors discovering that there's multiple groups out there, and they're fighting. It just fit in so well with what we were doing with our game.
Does that mean if there's a big event in the comics that impacts the world — like if there's a massive storm that floods the entire D.C. area — that you'll be able to incorporate that into your game?
That is something we could do. Though we're just concentrating on finishing the game first.
Have you decided whether the game will be free with microtransactions or a paid situation?
It will be free with micro transactions, for sure. There will be a variety of things that people will be able to buy, but we're still determining what they will be.
Lastly, given that there are a lot of "Walking Dead" fans who play console and computer games, and lot of strategy game players who prefer to play strategy games on PC, has there been any thought to bringing "The Walking Dead: March to War" to consoles or computers?
That's something we've been talking about, but we have nothing to confirm at this time.
"The Walking Dead: March to War" arrives on iOS and Android in 2017.