Activision Blizzard Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI), the U.S. video game industry giant that has already reaped incredible rewards for its zombie-themed first-person shooters, or FPS, included in several of its wildly popular “Call of Duty” games, is stepping further into the zombie apocalypse come 2013.
The Santa Monica, Calif.-based video game publisher and developer has announced that it has signed two of the stars of AMC’s popular television series “The Walking Dead” for its upcoming shooter, “The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct,” which is due out next year.
Norman Reedus and Michael Rooker, who play Daryl Dixon and Merle Dixon, respectively, will both reprise their roles for “Survival Instinct,” which is being developed by the Terminal Reality. Reedus’ role in the new game was announced late last week on Sony’s (NYSE: SNE) official Playstation blog, with Rooker’s role announced shortly thereafter.
“The Walking Dead,” which began as a comic book years before AMC picked up the series, has already been adapted successfully to a video game by Telltale Games, a privately held independent game studio based in San Rafael, Calif., that is known for adapting movies and television shows such as “Jurassic Park,” “CSI,” “Back to the Future” and “Wallace and Gromit” into video games.
But the indie studio’s five-part installment for “The Walking Dead” has been particularly successful, winning critical praise from many video game critics and being placed as a serious contender for “Game of the Year.” Season two is reportedly in the works already, but no information about when it will be available has been released.
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The game is a unique spin on the adventure game genre; players are prompted to solve timed puzzles and search for clues rather than simply shoot hordes of zombies.
“Survival Instinct,” in comparison, is much more standard video game fare. Sticking close to the guns it has perfected with its historic “Call of Duty” franchise, Activision is making “Survival Instinct” a first-person shooter with a slew of Blockbuster talent like Reedus and Rooker that only a publisher like it could afford. “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2,” which was released last month to a record-breaking $500 million in first-day sales alone, featured a star-studded cast of Hollywood talent such as Sam Worthington, “The Dark Knight Rises” writer David S. Goyer and Michael Rooker himself.
“The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct” is set to be released for the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 in 2013. Details remain scarce save a single trailer for the game Activision posted last week.
Shares in Activision Blizzard Inc. dropped slightly during trading Monday, falling just under a percentage point to $11.34 per share on Monday morning.