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Why The Walking Dead's creator loves playing Destiny and steers clear of Titanfall

The man behind the growing multimedia empire fueled by The Walking Dead, Outcast and Invincible is a gamer, but reluctant one.

Reluctant not because he doesn't enjoy the medium or what it has to offer, but because he know how easy it would be to lose control, and too much time, to gaming.

"I do try to limit my gameplay extremely to make sure I don't get too invested in it," Robert Kirkman told me last week at South by Southwest in Austin. "I have the self control not to lose my self control."

What that means is that often when he hears a game is amazing (he mentioned Titanfall) he tries to avoid it. But that hasn't stopped him from amassing a library of games he wants to play including Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, Alien: Isolation and The Last of Us.

"None of them have been opened," he said. "When am I going to have time to play them?"

That doesn't mean he doesn't play any games.

"I play Super Mario 3D World on the Wii U," he said. "I almost have all of the gold stars for the game."

But lately it sounds like Kirkman spends all of his gaming time on Destiny.

"I spend far too much time playing Destiny these days," he said. "It's something I can do with my son.

I try to only have one game at a time that I play and I'll give it like an hour and half a week."

Kirkman said he settled on Destiny as his one active game because of his son.

"I play that one because my son played a little bit of Halo," he said. "When that one came out, I was like, 'Oh, a new Halo,' because it was made by the people who created Halo and my son will be able to get in on the ground floor and like this because he's 8.

"It looked cool and it looked like it was going to be a neat game."


When we get onto the topic of Destiny, both in a discussion over breakfast and later in the week during an on-stage interview about creator activism, Kirkman is a passionate booster of the game. An obvious fan.

What is it about the game that attracts him, I ask Kirkman.

"I recognize that Destiny isn't exactly reinventing the wheel, I guess," he said. "I've never played a World of Warcraft. I've never played a game where you build a character. I've never played the more expansive games that follow that model. So for me the idea of working to get the good guns so I can kill people better, it's kind of interesting to me. I never did that in Halo. It could be appealing to a mass audience who hasn't latched on to that stuff maybe.

"I don't want to sound like I'm downplaying it. Destiny is awesome. It's the first time I've ever played where you can be like going over to do a thing that the game is telling you to do and some stranger can walk by and it's like, that's a real dude going to do another thing that's not the thing I'm doing. That's amazing.  I've had strangers come and help me like defeat something that's difficult and then go off and do something else. I don't know if a lot of games do that."

"A Destiny crossover? I'd be up for that."

Kirkman said he also likes being able to build his character up over time.

"I enjoy having a character that grows with you," he said. "But it does get a little frustrating when you get to the higher levels because it's like, 'Oh god, I just need a new pair of boots. I've got to play this game for like an hour to play a new pair of boots.' And then an hour later you're like, 'I'm really playing this game for a pair of boots, is that normal?'

"But it's fun."

He's such a fan of the game that I asked him if he could ever see any of his creations showing up in the game.

"A Destiny crossover?" he said. "I'd be up for that."

With Invincible, I asked.

"You don't want Walking Dead people running around in robot suits?"

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