Variety reported just hours ago that AMC’s smash hit post-apocalyptic zombie drama The Walking Dead is making the leap to VR. The report says that some of the team behind The Walking Dead, including executive producer David Alpert, have begun work on the project in conjunction with VR gaming development agency Skybound. Other ideas the report details might make you do a double take, though, as they are extremely unconventional to the gaming world, and, indeed, the world of entertainment in general.
The basic idea holds a huge amount of promise: a VR version of The Walking Dead. The show just lends itself so well to the idea for several reasons.
First of all, it is completely open-world. The whole show is about an ever evolving band of survivors travelling around the post-apocalyptic world, exploring new environments and landscapes.
Second, The Walking Dead has been going on for seven seasons (and counting), and the major arcs that could constitute the VR experience’s plot would make up hours of gameplay.
Third, much of the show is combat-focused, which is perfect for a game that emulates it.
Fourth, the show’s visuals are extremely vivid. The awesome wildernesses and cityscapes from the show already offer a lot of aesthetic potential, but the delightfully disgusting zombies (in the show’s terminology, “walkers”) that come face-to-face with the main characters (or the player, in the case of the VR experience) would be absolutely spine-tingling. So much so, in fact, that we are guessing Skybound would have to include a setting in the game to make them appear a bit less horrifying for players who want to sleep at night.
Another observation Alpert made about the possible “gross factor” of the game may surprise you, though, as it is a completely unique concept.
While talking about the Walking Dead VR experience yesterday at VRTL, a summit dedicated to discussing virtual reality, the executive producer hinted that he wants to use the nausea some VR can easily induce in users as an integral part of the gameplay.
“If you can make people sick, that’s actually a powerful tool in your arsenal,” Alpert said.
He also recounted an experience he had when he tried VR for the first time, when he himself had quickly felt some nausea set in. The VR designers overseeing his “test run” told him not to worry, the effect that caused nausea would be fixed in the near future. Alpert, however, said that he was in the business of bringing on nausea, and he would not want to take it out for anything he did with the technology.
“I work on The Walking Dead, do you have any idea how hard I work to make people nauseous?” he had asked smartly.
We do not know any more about the Walking Dead VR experience at this point, but that potential feature Alpert mentioned is enough to chew on for a while. It would certainly contribute to the VR experience’s immersive quality, but it would most definitely not be for everyone. Like with the “ick factor” of the walkers themselves, the player would probably be able to toggle the feature on or off.
As Bloody Disgusting notes, VR experiences based on pop culture properties are becoming commonplace and one for The Walking Dead was probably inevitable. Actually having it confirmed, though, along with hearing such strange news about a novel concept that might be used in the game, is pretty cool.
Would you be up for playing a VR game that would be able to actually induce temporary nausea in the player, or would you be one of the ones heading to the game settings right away to turn that feature off? Let us know in the comments section below.
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