The Walking Dead Pinball will bring all the walker attacks, scavenging, and tough moral decisions of Season One to a digital pinball table. No, seriously.
Telltale Games' The Walking Dead is easily one of the major gaming achievements of 2012. Its choice-driven gameplay constantly forced players to make split-second decisions for an entire group of survivors, lending a strong emotional weight to each episode. It's the kind of experience ideally suited for an adventure game format, but apparently the folks at Zen Studios disagree. Where we looked at The Walking Dead and thought "narrative gameplay", they looked at the game's horrific consequences and thought "Pinball!" And so with the support of Robert Kirkman and Telltale Games, Zen Studios is developing The Walking Dead Pinball, bringing Season One's hard choices and food scavenging to digital arcade flippers. I am not making this up.
"Zen knocked it out of the park with their interpretation Telltale's first season of The Walking Dead as a pinball table," said Telltale's Senior Vice President of Publishing Steve Allison. "Players once again get to step into the shoes of Lee Everett and protect Clementine as all the major events of Season One play a role in the first ever pinball game that features choice and consequence gameplay."
The Walking Dead Pinball, which I stress will be made with Telltale Games' and Robert Kirkman's blessing, is set across key locations from the first five episodes. Starting from Clementine's treehouse and Everett's Pharamacy in A New Day and ending in the zombie-infested Savannah of No Time Left, players will experience Season One in pinball format with original dialogue from the series cast. Players can be confronted with scenarios ranging from walker attacks, food scavenging, choosing who to leave behind, raising morale, and even making your way through zombie herds. Presumably the only others thing Walking Dead needed were score tables and a spring-loaded plunger.
I find myself stunned, and admittedly a little impressed, that such a bizarre gameplay combination will be a reality. The entire concept sounds like a late April Fools joke, and to be fair, perhaps that's all Zen Studios means for it to be. But at the same time, if The Walking Dead Pinball combines the random losses of pinball with Telltale's choice-based gameplay and includes enough original content to keep from retreading old ground? Then this might be a success on par with The Typing of the Dead.
The Walking Dead Pinball is launching this summer for PC, consoles, and mobile storefronts.