Updated: The developers of “Overkill’s The Walking Dead” are trying to retain rights to “The Walking Dead” long enough to finish and deliver season two of the game, despite license holder Skybound canceling its contract with Starbreeze and essentially killing off the title Tuesday night.
In a brief statement posted on its website, Starbreeze said it is in discussions about the agreement with Skybound and is “trying to resolve the issue to find an amicable solution with the ambition to finish and deliver season 2 of the game, as previously communicated.”
Skybound told Variety on Monday that Valve was working on a “solution” for people who had purchased the game on Steam for PC. In Wednesday’s note, Starbreeze said that Skybound had filed a “license related complaint with the main digital distribution platform for the Starbreeze game ‘OVERKILL’s The Walking Dead’ and that the game would be removed from Steam in the near future.
“We are deeply sorry for the issues this may cause anyone who has bought the game looking forward to the resolution of Season 2 and are working urgently to attempt to resolve the issue,” Mikael Nermark, acting CEO of Starbreeze, said in a written statement. “Please keep an eye on the official OTWD channels for further news.”
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In an update to its statement Wednesday morning, Starbreeze further outlined that if Starbreeze and Skybound do not reach a solution it would mean that the game will not be made available for sale again on Steam, and that the console version would not be released. The developer also noted that while the game brought in about $3.5 million in sales, costs for developing the game “far exceeded revenue.”
Skybound’s announcement Tuesday night was much more direct, noting that the game’s quality did not live up to the expectations of fans or the company.
“Our creators and their stories are the core of Skybound, and since 2014 we have worked hard to expand the world of ‘The Walking Dead’ into an exceptional co-op action FPS,” according to the statement. “We did our best to work with Starbreeze and resolve many issues that we saw with the game, but ultimately ‘Overkill’s The Walking Dead’ did not meet our standards nor is it the quality that we were promised.”
The company told Variety it was terminating it contract with Starbreeze.
The news comes as Starbreeze Studios struggles to stay afloat. The company made about $3.65 million from the game’s release, but it was considered a flop. Shortly after the game’s release Starbreeze opted to review costs and then filed for reconstruction the next month.
Complicating matters, the game was sold with the promise that it would be supported with on-going seasons of content.
In a 2018 interview, Saul Gascon, global development director at Starbreeze, told Variety that the post-launch plans were designed to mimic the formula that was so successful with “Payday.”
“We launch a game and then we evolve the game with the community and then we work on what we want to do from a narrative and gameplay perspective,” he said at the time. “Every month after launch we will do something new for players. Whoever gets the game is going to be entertained for a long time. Think of it more as a TV show with episodes rather than a movie.”