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The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is about 'choice and consequence'

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

While Terminal Reality's The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is a very different kind of game from Telltale's The Walking Dead — it's a first-person shooter instead of a story-driven adventure game — both titles are about "choice and consequence," reports IGN.

The studio isn't building a run-and-gun experience; instead, Terminal Reality is basing Survival Instinct on the Walking Dead AMC television series, in which the character of Rick Grimes almost dies at the hands of only three zombies. "That was, like, our goal from the get-go," senior artist Glenn Gamble told IGN on Up at Noon. "How do you make three walkers really, really threatening?"

According to Gamble, Survival Instinct actively discourages engaging walkers directly with hand-to-hand combat or guns. But you'll be forced to encounter them as you search for supplies such as fuel and food, which are all shared among your band of survivors. That means you'll have to make hard choices about picking up more folks on the road, and about sending those party members on their own foraging missions. What if you send one out with a weapon, and she never comes back — or returns wounded, and needs food (which provides health in the game) to recover?

Your own missions consist of two different setups: choosing between two destinations (like a sheriff's station and camp) and seeing what you find there, and "road events" — like a highway clogged with disabled cars — which pop up as you're traveling through the Georgia countryside. All these sequences present you with rock-and-a-hard-place options, and while it sounds like the game's ending is a fixed point, players' paths to it may vary greatly.

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, published by Activision, is set for release on Windows PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in 2013. For more details, read IGN's preview here and watch today's episode of Up at Noon above.