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Gaming: Open-world Dune game in works, Overkill’s The Walking Dead canceled

By Jacob Oller
Super Smash Bros Ultimate via official website 2019

Today’s gaming news, aside from the bombshell dropped by Pokémon, involves new life for Dune (everyone wants their fingers in that pie) and Cartoon Network's squad of games, while only death for Overkill’s The Walking Dead and, surprisingly, Super Smash Bros. Melee.

First, the good news. As each day casts more and more people in director Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert's Dune, fans of the legendary sci-fi series may be able to pretend they themselves were set as the leads. That’s because Funcom is partnering with Legendary to create an open-world, multiplayer game based on the first novel.

The indie developer behind an open-world Conan the Barbarian game announced the news on its website, explaining that it will release at least three Dune-based games over six years. The first game — the open-world one — will enter into pre-production this year. That doesn’t mean it’ll be released on time with the film’s Nov. 20, 2020, drop date, but it’ll certainly be close.


Next, a property with the opposite magnetism of Dune: The Walking Dead. Everyone seems to be leaving the zombie business lately and now that includes Starbreeze Studios. According to Variety, TWD creator Robert Kirkman’s Skybound Entertainment has ended its contract with the developer Starbreeze Studios because Overkill’s The Walking Dead didn’t meet the company’s standards.

Harsh reviews and middling sales hit the game when it first arrived (it'll be considerably less now that the game won’t be released on consoles), leading to Starbreeze needing to file for reconstruction. The game, which focused on building up your own camp and keeping it safe from walkers and rival humans alike, wasn’t just bad — it was too bad for TWD to want its name on it.

“Our creators and their stories are the core of Skybound, and since 2014 we have worked hard to expand the world of The Walking Dead into an exceptional co-op action FPS,” according to a Skybound statement. “We did our best to work with Starbreeze and resolve many issues that we saw with the game, but ultimately Overkill’s The Walking Dead did not meet our standards nor is it the quality that we were promised.”

The company then apologized to fans before promising to “continue to look for alternative video game options for the IP.”


Another game has had a nail enter its coffin — but this game is much, much older than Overkill’s The Walking Dead. It’s Super Smash Bros. Melee, the 2001 GameCube game that was still going strong in the world of competitive fighting games.

However, with the recent news that EVO 2019 — this year’s biggest annual fighting game tournament — wouldn’t feature Melee among its roster of games, it seems that the Nintendo Switch’s Ultimate is finally ending the run of the brawler:

The new game, released in December to stellar reviews and sales, will take the main stage in Melee’s place alongside games like BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle, Dragon Ball FighterZ, Mortal Kombat 11, Samurai Shodown, Soulcalibur 6, Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition, and Tekken 7.

EVO 2019 runs from Aug. 2 - 4 in Las Vegas, Nevada.


Finally, Cartoon Network is launching the free app Cartoon Network Arcade, which will feature tons of games based on shows like Adventure TimeThe Powerpuff Girls, and Ben 10.

According to a release, the gaming app will also interact with the TV channel. "Using ACR technology," a statement says, "the app recognizes the episode and lets players discover one of a number of characters from beloved series including Adventure Time and Teen Titans Go! to the upcoming Victor and Valentino to add to collections." These add to the more than 60 characters available with the app, some of which come from The LEGO Group's Ninjago and LEGO City brands. The app also promises further interactivity between cartoon and game in the future.

Cartoon Network Arcade hits the App Store and Google Play on March 11.