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Starbreeze Studios recently came to the hard decision to pull the planned release of Overkill's The Walking Dead on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in February. The delay has, so far, resulted in the game having been postponed indefinitely from releasing on the home consoles, which means there's no time frame on when you can get the game on the PS4 or Xbox One.
There was a short press statement issued by Starbreeze that simply informed the general public that the company is currently reviewing the state of the game, and its "performance" on the home consoles. Now the use of "performance" isn't defined, so we're not sure if this is in relation to the way the game plays or how well it will perform on the market, but those are two vastly different topics.
The press notice goes on to say that the release for Overkill's The Walking Dead has been delayed from its original February 2019 release and it currently has no new release date for the home consoles. The company has plans on announcing the new release date at a later time, but no time is given and no window for the release is even hinted at, so for now it's indefinite. This means that it could be receiving a new release date soon or not at all.
Now in terms of the company gauging the performance of the game on the consoles, this could be in relation to the features, actual playability, and what can be added or expanded upon based on how it plays on the PS4 and Xbox One. Is there viability for DLC? Will console players care about seasonal content like what Overkill Software is doing for the PC version? Is there scalability?
Alternatively, performance could relate to the game's sales, which is likely what the studio is referring to. How well will Overkill's The Walking Dead perform on the market and how much could it potentially make if it's released during a certain window of opportunity? The game had faltering sales on Steam for PC, which is the largest digital distribution service available for PC gamers. So if Starbreeze and Overkill couldn't make bank from the game on Steam, what hope is there that the game would do well on home console?
Now, technically some games do perform better on console than on PC. Typically JRPGs like Final Fantasy XV or certain role-playing adventure games like NieR: Automata. This is because those games are usually designed around the accommodations of console hardware. PC games that usually perform better are real-time strategy titles, turn-based strategy titles, graphically intense games like Crysis, or space and flight simulators.
In this case, a game like Overkill's The Walking Dead should have performed better on PC given Overkill Software's history with Payday 2 being a huge hit on PC, but just the opposite happened. This resulted in Starbreeze firing the CEO and restructuring the company.
Many gamers on the Steam forums are now worried that perhaps Overkill's The Walking Dead may not have a very long shelf life, even on PC. And given that the console versions are now indefinitely delayed, their worries may not be far off from the truth.