Though we got hands-on time with Overkill's surprise Walking Dead virtual reality experience earlier this week, we still had a lot of questions. Chief among them: How much does this demo actually represent the previously-announced Overkill's The Walking Dead?
Now we have the answer to that question, but it's still a little complicated.
"These two things are two completely separate things," says Starbreeze global brand director Almir Listo. "You have Overkill's The Walking Dead for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Steam, which is one game. Then you have this demo that is made for E3 that is its own game. These are two different entities. They will, however, share the same universe and the same storyline. However, one thing you'll experience in one of them, and you might not be able to experience it in the other one."
If Listo's response here seems non-committal, that's because he's absolutely not ready to commit. While he's hyped on the demo Starbreeze is showing, it's entirely possible that the virtual reality game may never come to exist.
"If people dislike it at E3, we won't continue developing it," Listo says. His next statement is interrupted by high-pitched screaming from across the room. Someone is playing the Walking Dead VR experience and is terrified. Listo laughs. "So far, so god. People are having a really good time playing the game, so obviously it's something that we want to continue developing."
Whatever the eventual fate of The Walking Dead in virtual reality, Listo stresses the importance of keeping the two experiences separated. While Overkill's The Walking Dead is going to be a full co-op shooter experience not unlike Overkill's popular Payday series, Listo compares the on-rails VR experience to arcade shooters like House of the Dead and Virtua Cop.
"From my perspective as a gamer, I like VR," he says. "I think it's the future of gaming. I love it. But I also want to be able to experience Overkill's The Walking Dead as a four-player co-op first-person shooter with survival horror elements. As its own game, without having to use VR. It's important for us to be really clear on that."
While Starbreeze revealed its own proprietary virtual reality hardware to go along with The Walking Dead VR experience this week, Listo tells us that whatever that VR game turns into, it will also run on other hardware — specifically Valve's other hardware.
"We're good friends with Valve," Listo says. "We support their platform 100 percent. Our aim is to make sure that our stuff works with their stuff. We're dedicated to making sure that anything we do is going to work flawlessly with anything they put out."
"With us coming onboard with our own VR hardware, it's because we feel that we have something cool to bring to the table," he says. "The race for VR isn't over; it's just started. And I think we're one of the front-runners."
For more on Overkill's The Walking Dead, check out our video interview with Listo below.