'Walking Dead' Creator Robert Kirkman Goes Virtual (Q&A)

The Walking Dead Survival Instinct Game - H 2012

The Walking Dead Survival Instinct Game - H 2012

He's worked on several games inspired by his comic books-turned-AMC hit series.

Robert Kirkman had a very good 2012. The creator of The Walking Dead has watched the AMC adaptation of his bestselling comic book continue to gain new viewers and break ratings records. On the video game front, Kirkman worked with Telltale Studios on The Walking Dead: The Game, which is based on his comic series. That game took home four awards at Spike TV’s VGA TEN, including Game of the Year, Best Adapted Video Game, Best Downloadable Game and Studio of the Year.

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Activision and developer Terminal Reality are working on a first-person action game, The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, a prequel to the AMC TV series, starring actors Michael Rooker and Norman Reedus. Kirkman, who also worked on a new Skybound mobile game based on his comic, took a few minutes to talk about video games in this exclusive interview.

The Hollywood Reporter: What was your favorite game to play in 2012?

Robert Kirkman: Obviously, it’s The Walking Dead game from Telltale Games.  I have to say that, but I feel that’s a cheating answer. In 2012 I was still playing Portal 2. So I can use that answer, even if technically that game came out before 2012.

THR: Your latest game is The Walking Dead: Assault for iOS devices. How was it transitioning the franchise into a mobile game?

Kirkman: The iOS app is a really cool thing that we’ve done at Skybound, where it’s kind of a tower defense game. We took something from The Walking Dead, which is really very story-based, but really distilled it down to some key elements of strategy. It was a lot of fun and I think the game has turned out really well.  People seem to dig it.

THR: Gamers have Telltale's award-winning The Walking Dead episodic games and Activision’s The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct first-person action title coming out this year. What are your thoughts on the evolution of storytelling in games and technology today?

Kirkman: I think that’s really interesting, actually. I’ve watched gaming evolve to a state where you’ve got Halo games that are big budget affairs with higher budgets than blockbuster movies. Developers actually go in and craft stories to the level that it’s like watching three movies all in one pop. It’s a remarkable thing that games have evolved into this kind of an experience. It’s really cool that people are starting to recognize the potential in games, so that you’re actually getting big actors and big storytellers -- whether it be from novels or movies or comic books or whatever -- that are coming in and adding to the overall tapestry of the video game industry. As a storytelling form, games are the most exciting things happening right now.

THR: Have you ever considered turning Invincible into a television series or game?

Kirkman: Yeah, I think Invincible will make a great game, television series, whatever.  It’s really just about finding the right partner that’s going to bring it up to that next level and bring it into that new medium. And we haven’t found that partner yet. I’m optimistic that we will eventually.  It’s a really cool comic. I have a lot of fun working on it. It’s going to be hitting its 100th issue in January, but we’ll see where it goes from there.

THR: What can we expect next from you?

Kirkman: We’ve got the second half of The Walking Dead coming back in February. I’m really excited about that. I’ve got Invincible 100 hitting in January, so I’m going to keep doing comics. Thief of Thieves is a new book that I’m doing and we’ll be putting more issues of that out. And hopefully I’ll be doing some other stuff that nobody knows about yet.  So we’ll see.