So you may have seen a trailer going around yesterday for The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct. Looked pretty bad, right? I mean, it literally looked bad; the graphics were pretty bland. Not only that, but the gameplay that was chosen was…less than ideal, and it was poorly cut to some unfortunately equalized audio. It was pretty much thumbs down across the board. Lazy, insulting, and off-putting. I mean, sure, this is from the same studio that put out Kinect Star Wars (to be fair, it also developed BloodRayne and 2009’s Ghostbusters: The Video Game), but why would Activision put out a trailer like that for a game that could ostensibly ride Telltale’s The Walking Dead success to millions of sales?
Well, to be perfectly honest, it didn’t.
Not totally, anyways. It turns out that trailer was a fan-made fake created from last week’s episode of IGN’s Up at Noon but, apparently, made to pass as legitimate. It did, after all, come from a YouTube account called TWDSurvivalInstinct.
But the question is how did this happen? Understandably, Dan Amrich, Activision’s social media manager, posted the trailer on his blog and pretty much every writer was in agreement that this was footage they’d seen before, so there didn’t seem to be a lot to question. It all seemed on the up-and-up. That is until everyone—including Amrich—realized they’d been duped.
It seems to me that everyone was ready to write this game off as a cash-in attempt at 1) a popular comic book series, 2) a tie-in with multiple-GOTY award winner in Telltale’s The Walking Dead, and 3) one of the more popular characters in the already popular television series. And that’s not to mention it’s a first-person shooter set in a zombie world published by Activision—a company already hated for milking every cow on the farm whether it was producing cash or not— and developed by Terminal Reality—a studio with a less-than-stellar release record. It seemed, for the most part, that people’s low expectations for Survival Instinct made the trailer’s poor quality seem reasonable.
Though of all the criticisms you can pin on Activision, it’s rare that they put on a bad trailer. If anything, they know how to market the crap out of something. Well, as long as they want to. Anyways, here’s the Up at Noon episode if you want to watch the footage in context. Otherwise you can watch the fake, but I don’t know why you would want to do that.