In brief: In news that probably won’t come as a surprise to those who’ve played the game, Overkill’s The Walking Dead is no longer releasing on consoles. Additionally, the PC version is likely to be removed from Steam in the near future.
Skybound Entertainment, which publishes the Walking Dead graphic novels that the popular TV show is based on, announced its contract with Starbreeze Studios has been cut short.
"As of today, we have terminated our contract with Starbreeze Studios and will discontinue all efforts on Overkill's The Walking Dead," Skybound said. "Our creators and their stories are the core of Skybound, and since 2014 we have worked hard to expand the world of The Walking Dead into an exceptional Co-op Action FPS. We did our best to work with Starbreeze and resolve many issues that we saw with the game, but ultimately Overkill's The Walking Dead did not meet our standards nor is it the quality that we were promised."
Released last November, Overkill’s The Walking Dead—not to be confused with TellTale Games’ version—was lambasted by most critics and players. It currently has a generous ‘mixed’ rating on Steam and has averaged just 328 concurrent players over the last 30 days.
The poor reception played a part in Starbreeze filling for reconstruction in December as a way of avoiding bankruptcy, and CEO Bo Andersson resigned as a result of the sales. To make matters worse, the company’s HQ was raided by Swedish authorities over allegations of insider trading.
Back in January, one of Overkill’s The Walking Dead’s developers said everyone working on it knew the game “was going to tank.” They added that "no matter how much you polish a turd, it's still a turd."
Last week, publisher 505 Games tweeted that the game’s console versions hadn’t been canceled, only postponed, but Skybound Entertainment has made sure that’s no longer the case. And while Starbreeeze has said that the PC version will likely be removed from Steam in the near future, it is still trying "to find an amicable solution with the ambition to finish and deliver season 2 of the game.”
We just wanted to clear the position on the OVERKILL’s The Walking Dead on console and confirm that the game has not been cancelled, purely postponed whilst development is on-going. We will share further news as soon as possible.— 505 Games (@505_Games) 20 February 2019
Walking Dead fans don’t have to worry: the news doesn’t mean the franchise’s video game aspirations have taken a bullet to the head. “We remain dedicated to providing our fans with the most premium quality content we can offer and will continue to look for alternative video game options for the IP,” said Skybound.