The console versions of Overkill’s The Walking Dead have been canceled, in just about the most definitive way possible. Skybound Entertainment, the company that licenses and manages Walking Dead video games, said yesterday it terminated its contract with the bankrupt Starbreeze Studios and “will discontinue all efforts” on the game.
“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,” Skybound said. “We are exceedingly sorry to our fans and share in their disappointment in the game.”
Overkill’s The Walking Dead launched in November 2018 on Windows PC, after being announced by Starbreeze Studios in 2014. Its launch date was twice delayed by more than a year. What did launch was panned by critics and faced anemic player counts. In January, Starbreeze postponed the game’s PlayStation 4 and Xbox One launch indefinitely.
Yet product quality seemed to be the least of the worries for Overkill’s The Walking Dead. In December, Sweden-based Starbreeze filed for bankruptcy protection. The company’s prognosis was cited when OtherSide Entertainment bought back the publishing rights to System Shock 3 earlier this month.
A week ago, the PlayStation Store sent out an announcement to those who had pre-ordered the PS4 version, saying “the publisher has notified us that the game is cancelled.” However, 505 Games (the title’s console publisher) immediately responded that the game had only been “postponed whilst development is on-going.”
Polygon reached out to representatives of Starbreeze, Skybound and 505 Games for additional comment and to inquire about the fate of Overkill’s The Walking Dead on PC, which is still listed for sale at $29.99 on Steam. No reply was received by publication time.
Skybound, in its statement yesterday said “We remain dedicated to providing our fans with the most premium quality content we can offer, and will continue to look for alternative video game options for the IP.”
Update: In a pair of statements published Wednesday, Starbreeze said that Skybound had “filed a license-related complaint” with Steam regarding Overkill’s The Walking Dead and that it is expected to be taken down from the storefront “within a near future.” The first statement said the two parties are in discussion “and Starbreeze is trying to resolve the issue to find an amicable solution, with the ambition to finish and deliver season 2 of the game.”
Later, Starbreeze clarified that Skybound’s actions “mean that the game will not be made available for sale again on Steam, and that the console version would not be released.” The company added that Overkill’s The Walking Dead accounted for about $3.6 million in sales during the final quarter of 2018, and that “costs related to development of OTWD has so far exceeded revenue.”