While it has been slower to arrive than a walker limping through thick Georgia mud, location-based augmented reality game Walking Dead: Our World finally has a confirmed launch date: July 12.
Along with a release date, the game's publisher, Next Games, has provided a few more details on gameplay. We've known that the game will follow Pokémon GO's model, with first-person battles with zombies replacing cutesy sparring with pocket monsters. We also know that collecting will be a thing in Walking Dead: Our World, with players amassing characters from the television series.
The game will also have a social component, as players can band together in alliances to complete various objectives, with in-game chat to coordinate their efforts.
Android users can pre-register for the game via Google Play, and iPhone and iPad owners can accomplish the same objective via the game's website. (Update: You can now download the game for iOS and Android here.)
When the game was originally announced last August, the presumption was that it would launch alongside the new season because of timing. But the first half of the season came and went without word of a release date.
Then, when Google announced its Google Maps API for location-based AR gaming in March, we learned that Walking Dead: Our World would be built on the platform.
Now, to whet the appetites of Walking Dead fans, Next Games has released a new trailer, which promises the game will dominate player's everyday lives. Based on the three characters in the opening frames of the video, and considering there are two more weeks between now and the release date, we can expect at least two more teasers to arrive before the app does.
So how will the game perform from a business perspective compared to the godfather of the location-based gaming genre? We have some foreshadowing.
Another game based on the Google Maps API, Jurassic World Alive, launched last month, and the game is currently ranked number 28 among free apps and number 36 on the top grossing apps chart for the App Store according to App Annie. Meanwhile, Pokémon GO sits at number 13 on the free app chart and holds down the number three spot among top grossing apps.
For the Play Store, neither app registers among the top 50 free apps, but Pokémon GO still enjoys a lofty number two ranking on the top grossing apps listing, with Jurassic World Alive coming in a number 34.
Although Pokémon GO did arrive with novel gameplay and an augmented reality twist, an argument can be made that its success appears to be partly a product of the brand's prominence. According to The Pokémon Company, the franchise's value tops $54.5 billion worldwide across all media and product lines, including video games, trading cards, movies, and TV shows.
On the other hand, The Walking Dead AR game arrives at a relative low point for the franchise, as the show's eighth season garnered its lowest ratings since its first season. However, the show still dominates its time slot, and its spinoff, Fear the Walking Dead, has seen improvements in its numbers.
But, when just looking at the advertising revenue of its network, we're talking about millions for this franchise, not billions. Meanwhile, one of the games based on the franchise, The Walking Dead: Road to Survival, registers at number 48 among top grossing apps on Google Play, and does not crack the top 50 for the App Store.
So, if I'm a betting man, I'd put my money on this game also falling short of Pokémon GO's success, and likely slotting just behind the Jurassic World entry.
But that doesn't mean Walking Dead fans, or even augmented reality enthusiasts, can't enjoy it. For what it's worth, I've enjoyed the heck out of Jurassic World Alive, and I'm not even that big a fan of the franchise.