The Walking Dead: Last Mile Lets Fans Change The Franchise Forever
The Walking Dead: Last Mile is not a game in the traditional sense. I was reminded of this several times during my exclusive preview session with the team behind the upcoming hybrid series. Part Facebook Gaming events, part stream of Facebook Watch events, I thought Last Mile was, more than anything, a fascinating social experiment that could comfortably incorporate technology that was ahead of its time. with one of the most loved manga series in the world.
When The Walking Dead: Last Mile launches later this year on Facebook, you won’t need a controller, console, PC, or even a copy of the game to interact with it. To better understand that kind of experience, you just need to understand the pun in its title. The Walking Dead: Last Mile is a MILEor a highly interactive live event.
MILE was on Facebook before, such as Survivor-like The top of the opponent. Seasonally, MILE is like a 24/7 stream, with moments big and small happening at different hours of the day for months at a time, and where AI-powered characters live through the day whether you is there to influence them or not.
To interact, players only need a browser that allows access to Facebook. There, they decide how engaged they are with the season-long story, whether that means simply watching everything unfold like an ant farm, engaging in interactive elements. as a morning routine – a new Wordle, perhaps – or even make it their new favorite dedicated series, like watching a person go live on Twitch for a few hours a day. If players miss a chunk of Last Mile, they can keep up with the series through a syndication program that will air regularly and give them something like a “previous” segment. broadcast”.
Rival Peak is developer Genvid Technologies’ most successful MILE to date, but Jacob Novak, the company’s CEO and co-founder, tells me the team is using what they’ve learned from that experience. to make The Walking Dead: Last Mile even better, so that all players can feel satisfied regardless of their level of engagement and possibly more importantly, regardless of the time zone they live in. “If you choose to sit back and watch, it will progress. You don’t have to do anything. The reason you participate in activities is because you want more control over the outcome.”
While some interactive elements, such as the mechanics behind shared decision making, are still being worked out, Skybound’s Shawn Kittleson happily emphasized that Last Mile is being treated like a new entry like in the comic book universe of The Walking Dead – and all the prestige story that comes with it. He also teased that while the undead are often slower or even frozen solid in the Alaskan setting, other new threats will be revealed for the first time in the franchise.
Its plot, most interestingly, is not set in stone. Players will have a lot of influence over how the story plays out, writing down new The Walking Dead’s rules that can’t be reloaded, hashed, or rewritten to better fit the characters’ lives or interests. of the player. As with anything in The Walking Dead, the stakes are in life or death, and Facebook users will come together to help decide who lives and who dies.
Think of it like Twitch Plays The Walking Dead, except where all alternate narrative branches are cut immediately as soon as a decision is made. Those tangential universes simply ceased to exist. Instead of comparing endings – “What happened to Kenny in yours story? – players will act as a divided community trying to come together and bring the characters to life, all while telling a unique story that will be solidified into canon and referenced in future Walking Dead media.
That element is intended to entice TWD fans, but Last Mile’s strongest suit has broader appeal: pitting a large community of players into their struggle for survival and asking them not to attack. ideologically. I’ve glimpsed some of Last Mile’s characters – their fates in the hands of the millions of potential players who will join its story. These characters will be fully voiced and animated, and often come from different factions, so players will get to know them, pick favorites, and maybe even align them with some individuals. For certain, this may influence their decision more than they might consider “right” or “wrong.”
Will the characters go to war? Steal from each other? Working to mend ties both figuratively and literally? Much of the story remains to be told, because it is the players who will determine its path over the course of a months-long season. “You mean to tell me people won’t always work together in the middle of a pandemic?” I joke. The irony is that such an experience that would appear on Facebook of all places is not lost on me.
While this isn’t the kind of experience where players will freely control a character in first or third person, everyone will have their own character accompanying them through an overlay. Take in enough Last Mile and you’ll earn an in-game currency that can be used to bid on various rewards, including a starring role in the series’ cinematics. As a zombie aficionado, the thought of my character appearing in The Walking Dead canon is admittedly tantalizing, but what’s more exciting for me is learning that one’s player character has can die.
“In the world of The Walking Dead, we’re like the opposite of plot armor,” Kittleson told me. “We have, like, plot magnets.” It’s likely that players will have to create new characters multiple times over the course of the long season, like resetting the post-apocalyptic Tamagotchi. This player character appears to be more than just a UI addition, but it could help heighten the drama for players looking to survive the season with a single character. More importantly, it’s a way for each player to have their own face and voice in the movie, even if not everyone is among the daredevils to end up in the movie itself.
This line of thought has opened up a whole new avenue of possibilities for me as a fan. What would I do if someone like Negan or the Governor came knocking on my community door? Do I bow my head? Fight back? Run into the forest and leave it all behind? Having a character who can die at any moment means that players will have to determine not only the best possible way for everyone, but also the best way for themselves. Whether motivated by selfishness, charity, pragmatism, or something else or virtue, treating those numbers on a Rival Peak-like scale makes millions of viewers feel like is at home in The Walking Dead, a series that enjoys chewing food for the sociopolitical brain through the lens of… well, the brain is in fact food.
The Walking Dead: Last Mile is scheduled to launch exclusively on Facebook in 2022.