February 27, 2019 All versions of Overkill’s The Walking Dead have now been cancelled by IP holders Skybound.
Less than five months after release, and barely a week after publisher Starbreeze insisted that the console version was “postponed” rather than canned, Overkill’s The Walking Dead has now been completely cancelled on all platforms.
Skybound Entertainment, who own The Walking Dead IP, issued a statement today that says that it is terminating its contract with Starbreeze and stopping work on Overkill’s The Walking Dead. “We did our best to work with Starbreeze and resolve many issues that we saw with the game,” the statement reads, “but ultimately Overkill’s The Walking Dead did not meet our standards nor is it the quality that we were promised.”
Starbreeze has since responded, and says that it’s likely the game will be removed from Steam for new buyers “in the near future.” However, the publisher adds that it is still in discussion with Skybound to allow them to at least finish Season 2 for players who have already bought it.
Things had been looking bleak for Overkill’s The Walking Dead since the release in November, even before Skybound’s statement. Just last week, players who pre-ordered Overkill’s The Walking Dead on PlayStation 4 began receiving emails telling them that the game had been cancelled. A statement from the game’s developer 505 Games suggested that this was not the case, and the console version was merely “postponed whilst development is on-going” and that it aimed to “share further news as soon as possible.”
That delay wasn’t new information, but the cancellation emails – sent directly from PlayStation and first reported by TrueAchievements – seemed to be a pretty major update. The game’s console release was indefinitely delayed last month, so it didn’t look great then, and the news today comes alongside Starbreeze’s 2018 fiscal report – as you might expect, their financials don’t look great.
Dismal sales for Overkill’s The Walking Dead led to half-price Starter Edition release just a month after launch, and judging by the player count reported on Steam Charts, things didn’t seem to be improving. In the company’s fourth quarter financial report, Walking Dead earned roughly $3.7 million USD. As GamesIndustry.biz notes, Payday 2 brought in $2.2 million for the same period, despite having released a half-decade earlier.
We just wanted to clear the position on the OVERKILL’s The Walking Dead on console and confirm that the game has not been cancelled, purely postponed whilst development is on-going. We will share further news as soon as possible.
— 505 Games (@505_Games) February 20, 2019
The last official update for Walking Dead hit on February 13. That’s not that long ago, but there are still quite a few episodes of previously announced updates to put out, which may not happen now.
Things have not been looking good at the company. In December, Starbreeze’s CEO resigned as the company filed for reconstruction, and just a few days later the studio was raided over suspicions of insider trading, which led to an arrest.
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In the financial report, Starbreeze points to Payday as one recognisable brand that can help keep it afloat. We’re not sure if the company believed Overkill’s The Walking Dead was worth continued support, but it seems the matter has been taken out of their hands.