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Friday, December 8, 2023

The Walking Dead is being turned into a tabletop RPG by the creators of the Alien and Blade Runner RPGs

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The shambling corpses of The Walking Dead refuse to rest, and now the zombies will be gracing tabletops (though not for the first time) courtesy of Free League and The Walking Dead Universe RPG. A Kickstarter will be launching soon, on March 14, and while the finished game won’t be appearing until this autumn, the core rulebook will be available alongside the crowdfunding push.  

Swedish publisher and developer Free League is pretty damn prolific, and has lately become synonymous with quality adaptations of notable licences like Alien, Blade Runner and Tales from the Loop. I don’t have as much time for TTRPGs as I used to, but even when I’m too busy to play, sometimes I’ll just gawk at the books, which are all lavish, dense tomes. 

The pedigree of the design team suggests The Walking Dead Universe RPG will be another one to keep an eye on, as it includes designers, writers and artists behind the Alien, Blade Runner and Tales from the Loop adaptations, as well as the excellent Symbaroum, Vaesen and Twilight: 2000 games. 

It’s a survival RPG romp, naturally, with Free League promising high stakes and high stress misadventures, where players will need to “not only hone their physical skills, but deeply explore what makes them tick.” It ain’t a zombie apocalypse without a lot of emotional and mental toil. A spin-off of Free League’s Year Zero engine will be fuelling the thing, though it looks like we’ll have to wait until next month to see how exactly it’s been adapted for the new setting. 

While I got a bit worn out on The Walking Dead half-way through AMC’s initial TV show and haven’t enjoyed any of the game spin-offs since Telltale’s fantastic series, a TTRPG is still a pretty seductive prospect. I look forward to making terrible decisions that will undoubtedly piss off my mates.

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