The Walking Dead: Betrayal Announced by Other Ocean Interactive

27 Jul 2023

On July 19, Other Ocean Interactive, developer of the social deduction game Project: Winter, announced The Walking Dead: Betrayal, a new social deduction game developed in partnership with Skybound Games. No release date has been announced yet, but a closed beta is set to be hosted on August 10. From what has been revealed so far, the game will focus on survival elements as players work together to complete objectives and determine who is out to get everyone killed.

The Walking Dead: Betrayal Announcement Trailer

Insights from Project: Winter

From what we’ve gathered so far, the game will take a lot of inspiration from Project: Winter regarding gameplay. Players will control their character from third person as they gather supplies to survive and complete objectives, craft tools, and weapons to exploit the environment and defend themselves. Taking on the role of survivors in the post-apocalyptic world of The Walking Dead, players will need to work together to escape a settlement that’s about to be overrun by a massive horde of walkers (a term for zombies used in The Walking Dead universe). The players with the role of traitor will have additional tools to hinder the other players' escape attempts.

This so-called Safe Zone won't be safe for much longer.

In Project: Winter, players had to work together to escape an oncoming mega blizzard. Players must first restore power and communications to call a rescue transport to get them to safety. The game would present the players with one of three ways to complete each objective, with three potential ways to restore power and three potential objectives to restore communications. These included gathering supplies to repair the objective, going to specific locations to uncover parts for the objective, searching for parts to a four-digit code, and defending an objective from waves of hostile wildlife. During the game, players could find bunkers with valuable supplies, including food, medicine, weapons, tools, and essential supplies for crafting and objective repairs. These bunkers often required two or three people to open them, encouraging players to work together and travel in groups.

We will likely see similar gameplay in The Walking Dead: Betrayal. In the trailer, we can see gameplay of players working in groups to venture out into the map to gather supplies. It’s unclear if we will get a similar bunker mechanic to Project: Winter, which demanded that players travel together to access critical supplies. However, the tried and tested strategy of safety in numbers is a common theme in zombie survival stories and a valid strategy in social deduction games such as Among Us. However, we know the players will be working to escape a massive horde of approaching walkers. It seems this will be the time limit players will be racing against, much like the mega blizzard in Project: Winter. In normal games of Project: Winter, the mega blizzard arrived 30 minutes after the game’s start, after which players would quickly grow cold and freeze to death if they did not reach the escape transport in time. We will likely see a similar time limit that allows players enough time to equip themselves and accomplish their objectives yet still creates a sense of pressure when faced with sabotage dealt by traitors.

A group of survivors hurry to gather supplies to aid their escape.

Another mechanic inspired by Project: Winter is the ability for players to continue impacting the game after they’ve died. In Project: Winter, dead players became ghosts that could teleport to players to spectate them. They also had abilities to help or hinder the living players by healing them, giving them food, and increasing or decreasing their warmth. In The Walking Dead: Betrayal, dead players can take control of walkers to hinder the efforts of survivors or try to isolate and kill the ones who killed them.

The Walking Dead: Betrayal - Traitor gameplay

The real concern is the traitors hiding among the players. Most social deduction games task the traitors to kill the rest of the players as stealthily as possible, while the rest must either accomplish objectives or kill the traitors to win. Since the traitors are outnumbered, they often use creative tactics to sabotage the players and shift blame toward others. What separated Project: Winter from most other games in the genre is that even if the traitors are dead, the game doesn’t end until everyone has either died or escaped the blizzard. This created an atmosphere of doubt amidst an already tense situation, making players wonder if they actually got the traitors. It also meant that traitors didn’t necessarily need to kill everyone to win but sabotage their efforts to ensure they couldn’t escape in time.  While it’s not directly stated that this will be present in The Walking Dead: Betrayal, it would most likely benefit the game’s goal of creating an environment to sow paranoia.

\ While looking over the map, this traitor has the chance to pick a side objective to guide them while sabotaging their fellow survivors

Traitors in Project: Winter also have access to unique tools to aid them in their sabotage, such as poison that could be applied to food or certain objects and tunnels which they could use to traverse the map quickly. The game’s description on Steam confirms that traitors will be given similar tools in The Walking Dead: Betrayal. These tools include poison, like in Project: Winter, a walker skin-suit to blend in with small hordes, and a noisy skateboard to lure walkers to key locations and players. Like in Project: Winter, they will also be given opportunities to set traps, sabotage objectives by removing parts, and of course, murder other survivors.

Wrapping up

Given that the title: The Walking Dead: Betrayal is classified by the developers as a “Project Winter Game,” we’re bound to see many gameplay elements from Project: Winter adapted for a zombie apocalypse setting. Much remains speculation outside of what can be gleaned from the trailer and the game’s Steam page. Given Skybound Entertainment’s success in various video games taking place in the Walking Dead universe, such as The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games Series, fans can expect a game that is faithful to their favorite post-apocalyptic horror franchise.

The game is planned to release for PC on Steam, although a future release for consoles shouldn’t be ruled out, given that Project: Winter is also available on Playstation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch. Other Ocean Interactive has not shared a release date for the game yet, but they did tease a closed beta to be hosted on August 10. Project: Winter followed a similar development path, where several rounds of closed alpha testing were held from October 2018 to February 2019. The game launched on Steam Early Access on February 7, 2019, and left Early Access three months later on May 23, 2019.

Given that The Walking Dead: Betrayal appears to be developed from Project: Winter’s design and mechanics, we could see a similar three-month time frame before an Early Access launch. However, this is all speculation until we get official word from the developers. For more news and discussions about The Walking Dead: Betrayal, visit the game’s official Discord server.

This story was written by Alex Johnson, as part of the HackerNoon Blogging Fellowship.