NEW YORK – The Walking Dead has become one of the most popular and talked-about shows on TV, but comic book fans know that the adventure started long before the first episode. The Walking Dead: March to War, an upcoming mobile strategy game, is based on the comics that started the whole franchise. Even better: March to War centers on one of the comic’s most beloved storylines and challenges you to lead your own group of survivors, just like Rick Grimes.
I met with Disruptor Beam at New York Comic Con 2016 to learn more about the upcoming Android and iOS game, and found that it will share a number of similarities with the developer's previous titles. The company has earned accolades in the past for Game of Thrones: Ascent and Star Trek: Timelines, two free-to-play mobile games with extensive story campaigns and late-game competitive multiplayer. While March to War will follow a similar tack, competition will be an integral part of the game from the get-go.
In March to War, you play as the leader of a group of survivors during the zombie apocalypse. As you gather survivors and build up a settlement, you’ll need to gather resources in the blasted ruins of Washington D.C. However, you’ll occupy the map with tens of thousands (if the game is as popular as Disruptor Beam hopes) other players, each of whom will be competing for territory. As in the comics, zombies are a hazard, but other people are the true threat.
To do battle with these other players (as well as zombies and other non-player characters), you assemble teams of survivors and send them out on raid missions. These missions play out mostly without player oversight; instead, building your team and sending survivors with a good mix of abilities will determine your success or failure.
On the bright side, you can use a number of canonical Walking Dead characters in your group. As you progress through the story, various characters from the comics will join you as advisors. When I spoke to the development team, they mentioned Glenn and Eugene in particular, but others are almost sure to show up.
As such, the story will give players a deeper look into some of the characters during an important junction of the comic’s narrative. March to War takes place close to the events of All Out War, the fan-favorite event that first introduced players to Negan: a particularly nasty villain who forced Rick and his community to take drastic actions. Players in March to War will learn more about Negan, as well as the communities of Kingdom and Alexandria, as they progress.
Right now, the game is still in preproduction, so it’s hard to say exactly how much fun it will be to play. Still, it’s a promising concept for a game from a proven mobile studio. The game should be out sometime in 2017, but Disruptor Beam was hesitant to nail down a more precise release date than that. They don’t want to rush it, which is good advice in the world of The Walking Dead. Go too fast, and you’ll probably get devoured by zombies.