Overkill's The Walking Dead has missed the mark and just weeks after its release, Starbreeze Publishing has announced today that it's conducting a review of its costs and re-focusing on its core business. This is a three-fold problem and could have a substantially negative impact on the future of the game.
First, the delay of the console versions of Overkill's The Walking Dead means that Starbreeze won't recognize a $10 million licensing fee this quarter from 505 Games for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the game. Second, the sales of the PC version of the game are lower than expected, further having a negative impact and forcing change from the financial side. But worst of all, the game isn't very good and lacks content.
Overkill's The Walking Dead was critically thrashed on Metacritic, and even in our own review, we pointed out the game's awkward design issues, difficulty curve problems, connection woes, and lack of some fundamental basics. There's still hope however for the 2019 console release, but if the devs and publisher spent this much time on Overkill's The Walking Dead and were still willing to release it in the state it's in, that paints a bleak future now that they're doing an overview on costs.
Starbreeze Chairman Michael Hjorth:
“This is disappointing, of course, but we have a base to work with in regards to the number of games sold. We have a pulse of concurrent players, which is essential to future performance within the framework of our Games as a Service concept. The team is working at full capacity to deliver improvements to the game and new content, and Season 2 will be starting soon.”
The game launched with only season 1 and its 10 missions, three of which are at base camp defending against waves of enemies, and season 2 (which comes with the base game) still doesn't have a release date but adds nine more missions. In this press release, Starbreeze at least confirms it's coming "soon."
A significant price drop (the game retails for $60) or a new monetization model entirely could be the answer after the game's core issues are addressed to connect to a larger player base. The game cannot work without an active, live community since it is a games as a service title that requires co-op play. And for that to work at all times for all players there needs to be a healthy concurrent player base. With the lack of content in season 1, this poses an immediate problem.
Source: Starbreeze Studios