A new investigation by Eurogamer into the fall of Starbreeze indicates that those who worked on Overkill’s The Walking Dead knew it was going to be a failure. It seems that the chief problem with the game was that everyone was aware of the various issues that plagued it, but nobody actually cared enough to give the team the proper time and resources to address them. One source summarized the problem in a much more direct way.
“Everyone knew it was going to tank,” an anonymous developer said. “No matter how much you polish a turd, it’s still a turd. It was never going to get any better than where it was. It was always hacked.”
To make matters worse, it seems that the game’s engine was not only technically problematic but new to most of the developers working on the title. This apparently led to much of the team trying to figure things out as they went along. While the studio eventually decided to switch to Unreal Engine 4, it seems that change came far too late into the process. The sources that contributed to the report claim that this is why the final version of The Walking Dead feels more like a beta than an actual full retail release.
Apparently, the problems with Overkill’s The Walking Dead can be traced back to before work on the game ever officially began. It seems that Starbreeze made a series of bad business decisions following the success of Payday 2 that both put too much pressure on The Walking Dead‘s development team and left the studio in a generally awkward position in terms of being able to properly focus on its ongoing projects.
While Starbreeze isn’t exactly dead in the water, the company is in the rather unfortunate position of needing an unlikely number of things to go right if it’s going to make it through what could most generously be described as a transitional period.
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014.