Intrigued by Pokemon Go's location-based gameplay but desire a bit more action in your experience? The Walking Dead: Our World mobile game might be up your alley.
AMC and developer Next Games, made up of folks who helped make Angry Birds and Clash of Clans, launched the game on iOS and Android on July 12, but made its big promotional push at San Diego Comic-Con, with players able to run around an augmented reality version of downtown San Diego for special prizes and missions.
It's one of the various pop culture properties hoping to make a splash at Comic-Con, helped by the awareness of the top-rated show in America, as well as an emotional panel in which Andrew Lincoln, who plays lead character Sheriff Rick Grimes, confirmed he would leave The Walking Dead at the end of the upcoming ninth season.
Our World, meanwhile, is trying to tap into what made Pokemon Go such a global phenomenon. Like the smash-hit game with digital monsters, Our World has mapped the reality of The Walking Dead onto the real world using augmented reality and data from Google Maps.
"We can actually bring the zombie apocalypse to your real world," said Clayton Neuman, vice president of games and applications at AMC, as we stand in the "Dead Quarters" experience outside of the San Diego Convention Center, surrounded by -- what else? -- actual zombies.
Neuman and Next Games' marketing director Joonas Virtanen quibble with the Pokemon Go comparison. Instead of catching cute critters, you go on missions where you and a partner -- typically a character from the show like Rick or Daryl -- mow down zombies. You can pick up survivors and create safe houses to store them, which other players can see and use to drop off their own survivors too. Rewards come in the form of special ammo, new characters and other boosts.
It uses Google and Apple's AR capabilities to give a more immersive experience. With AR enabled, you can move a few feet forward or back in the real world when shooting zombies. That's handy if you need a breather to reload.
Virtanen stressed the social element with groups that you can join and team up on to complete a weekly bingo board of different challenges. You can also send up a "flare" and let players in your group see what you're seeing on the map.
The developers have also worked to ensure that there's an option for "couch play" as well. "If you don't want to get up and go exploring, there's still stuff to do," Neuman said.
While no Pokemon Go, it's off to a healthy start. On Friday, AMC and Next Games said players in the game have already killed 739 million walkers, finished 100 million missions, rescued 25 million survivors and built 1.4 million safe houses. Players have walked a total of 5.5 million miles
"We wanted to give our fans the opportunity to explore this hypothetical, and do it in the most seamless, realistic way possible," Neuman said.
The game is free, and like other freemium experiences, you pay real money for upgrades in the game. But Virtanen said that anything you can buy you can also get by just playing the game.
In the coming weeks, the developers plan to introduce a form of player vs. player game play, although it won't be in real time. There will be new missions introduced as well. Neuman said they have plans for new gameplay that stretch for years.
"We're very confident you won't get bored with this game," he said.
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