Game developer Disruptor Beam has already adapted Game of Thrones and Star Trek to the world of smartphones and tablets. Now it’s adding The Walking Dead to that list.
CEO Jon Radoff said The Walking Dead: March to War will be a multiplayer strategy game for iOS and Android, where players (potentially tens of thousands of them on a single map) compete with each other for resources and battle for survival.
It’s a Walking Dead game, so naturally, there will be zombies, but Radoff said that for the most part, “they’re kind of an annoyance.”
“It’s like in the show, where yeah, zombies are occasionally a threat, but the real threat is the other players,” he said.
Radoff added that he sees his company as following in the footsteps of storytelling-focused games companies like LucasArts and Bioware: “With mobile and social network games, there was an opportunity to take that audience for Bioware games and start thinking in terms of billions of people.”
The first thing that Disruptor Beam does to reach that potential audience is focus on adapting popular franchises with big fanbases — people who don’t necessarily think of themselves as gamers but would be willing to try out a related game on their smartphone.
The franchise owners are increasingly willing to work with mobile gaming companies, Radoff said, not just to bring in additional revenue, because also because these games help them stay connected with fans throughout the year and build a community. (Walter Drive, whose company Scopely also made a Walking Dead game, recently told me something similar.)
In this case, Disruptor Beam is working with Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman’s company Skybound Entertainment. Radoff suggested that March to War could “tell the story of rebuilding civilization against a backdrop of feudalism — it’s reliving tribal warfare.”
More broadly, he said Disruptor Beam doesn’t just try to “reskin” an existing game mechanic for a random license.
“We actually go the reverse way,” he said. “We start with the story, which means you have to have these kind of experiences, these type of game systems to manifest it.”
The Walking Dead: March to War is scheduled to launch next year.