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Overkill Software, a subsidiary of Starbreeze Studios, announced that Overkill's The Walking Dead won't be be released in 2016. Instead it's been announced that the game will launch in the second half of 2017 for a global release, including one in Asia thanks to a $40 million investment by Smilegate.
PC Gamer picked up the news from Games Radar, where they're reporting that Overkill's The Walking Dead's original 2016 release has been pushed back by a whole year. The delay has been stated to allow the team more time to add in lots of additional content. This was revealed in a press release over on the official Starbreeze website where they revealed why the delay was taking place...
Overkill's The Walking Dead will be expanded with more content where an Asian version will be developed for simultaneous launch with the Western version [...] To maximize the new opportunities, Starbreeze, 505 Games and Skybound have decided to release the game in all markets during the second half of 2017.
Cement it as a tent pole product for the next decade, eh? Well that sounds like they're planning on turning this upcoming game into a Payday 2 style spin-off with DLC and microtransactions fleshing out the rest of the game's lifespan over the course of 10 years.
It's a risky move because Overkill is currently undergoing a mean backlash from the community over the introduction of pure microtransactions into Payday 2 after the community was fervently promised by the developers that the game would not have microtransactions. The community manager tried to assuage the community by saying that the Overkill team was expanding and that they needed to make some changes to the monetary structure of the game in order to pay for the added expenses. However, when gamers took a look through Overkill's finances – due to Starbreeze being a publicly traded company – they realized that Payday 2 was profiting massively for the company. The game made about $10 million in the fourth quarter of the previous year and Starbreeze had a net profit gain of $4 million, even before they implemented microtransactions, as reported by GamesIndustry.biz.
With an added $40 million to their pool of development expenses, the excuse of costs is no longer on the table in relation to why Payday 2 needed microtransactions. But with Overkill's deal with Smilegate, it's unlikely that they will skip out on microtransactions for their Walking Dead game given that they will launch the title in Asia, along with a spin-off on one of the most popular free-to-play shooters of all time, Crossfire.
Overkill's The Walking Dead will be based on Robert Kirkman's graphic novel. The game will be similar to Payday 2 insofar that players will be able to cooperatively work together utilizing weapons, stealth and scavenging to get through the zombie apocalypse. We haven't seen any actual gameplay yet, but it's likely going to arrive some time by the end of this year if it doesn't make a brief appearance at E3.