What’s better than the new season premiere of The Walking Dead? The terrifying, gory, and all too real-looking AR and VR Walking Dead apps that go with it.

The hit show-turned-mobile game phenomenon returned for its eighth season on October 22. Coinciding with that premiere was the first Walking Dead augmented reality (AR) app that AMC developed in tandem with Mountain Dew, called Walking Dead: Encounter, to help get the word out.

The next installment, the “Walking Dead: Our World” is said to be the “next Pokémon Go,” but scarier. Walking Dead apps feature the kind of AR gameplay we’ve seen with Pokémon Go. But it has more sophisticated graphics and lots of gore, as any “zombie” epic must have.

This AMC app is the result of a team-up between AMC and Next Games. They announced the new 360-degree immersive app in August.

The Tech Behind The Walking Dead VR 360-Degree Immersive App

Virtual and augmented reality are relatively new phenomena. After years of anticipation, they’re finally functional enough to do some really neat things with them. The first AR apps for iPhone debuted in 2009, with Yelp and Wikitude using AR technology. Then, the NudeIt AR app that let users point to people with their phone to see them in their undies. That was just over eight years ago when AR and VR were in their infancies. Since then, they’ve come a long way.

All the Walking Dead AR app lacked was the technology to make it happen … And now it’s here – ARKit from Apple and ARCore from Google. Now developers can create AR games without making gamers buy pricey hardware in order to play.

Apple made ARKit to work with mobile Apple products with the A9 processor or better. Essentially, any device that can run Apple’s iOS 11 can use apps built with ARKit. Its augmented reality framework (software) allows developers to integrate various mobile features. These include motion sensor tracking and screen capping from the camera. Both functions are key to making the AR appear as if you’re seeing it in real life.

Developers can choose their platform as well. Apple now allows them to program their games for just iOS or for other platforms such as Unity.

Google also designed its ARCore as an augmented reality framework. Its software also makes use of many of the same phone features that ARKit does. These include phone’s motion sensors and real-time location awareness. For now, ARCore’s only supported on Google Pixel and a small assortment of Samsung Galaxy phones running Android OS.

Walking Dead Apps: Augmented Reality Vs. Virtual Reality

So what is the difference between augmented and virtual reality?

Augmented reality works by layering elements on the display of an AR device — like your smartphone or AR glasses — to enhance your current environment with more information, context, or fun. Virtual reality is more immersive and creates an entire virtual fantasy world around the player.

Walking Dead AR App: “The Walking Dead: Our World” Teaser Preview

The Walking Dead Encounter was slated as a “strictly promotional” app to promote the Season 8 release. The Walking Dead AR app, Our World goes beyond that. AMC’s EVP of Innovation said:

“VR is a new area, and for everyone it’s about getting into this medium, understanding and building our audience, and serving our fans the way they want to be served. This extends your experience of the show – so you can get into the world itself.”

The Walking Dead AR immersive app includes an extended bonus scene built for the 360-degree gameplay. In addition, it includes trailers from AMC’s other shows. The bonus scene comes directly from TWD’s season 8 opener … And features Negan played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Father Gabriel Stokes played by Seth Gilliam. Players get to fight off the walkers and rescue the survivors from real-world scenarios. The feature that lets you stop the gameplay to take a selfie with the zombies is also bound to be a hit.

Watch the Walking Dead app trailer for “Our World.”

Walking Dead VR Apps: “Devoured,” “Herd,” and “Into the Badlands.”

Directed by Greg Nicotero, executive producer of The Walking Dead, the Walking Dead VR app is the next in the line immersive apps released by AMC. AMC went all out for and had Walking Dead Executive Producer Greg Nicotero direct it.

Previous Attack series apps include Part 1 where zombies trap the player in their car and Part 2 where zombies surround the players. This AMC VR app features parts 3 and 4, Devoured and HerdDevoured features the zombies eating the flesh of the player while Herd allows the players to run around with the zombie mob.

The Walking Dead VR apps include “Devoured” where gamers get to watch zombies eating them.

Also included in this app is content from “Into the Badlands,” which simulates the Walking Dead’s fight training camp. Players can train with stars such as Aramis Knight, Ally Loannides, and Daniel Wu.

According to Variety, the 360-degree immersive Walking Dead VR app allows players to fight zombies using authentic Walking Dead weapons such as grenades, katanas (a style of swords), and guns, not to mention just about anything else you could get your hands on. You can even learn how to use a dead body to your advantage. A Season 2 scene from “Tilda on the Wire” via “Into the Badlands” shows you how.

While discussing VR during a show in Amsterdam, VR creators seemed worried how they would ask gamers to wear a VR headset. Some VR investors lost big when the 3D television landscape didn’t thrive as they thought it would. AR apps help ease gamers into the VR experience.

To date, the Walking Dead AMC app is available for iOS, Android, Gear VR, and Google Daydream. Meanwhile, AMC plans to add more content to their app’s “screening room” as the season progresses. AMC also has a “pact” with Skybound Entertainment and Skydance Interactive to produce more Walking Dead apps. Hopefully, we’ll see some of them in 2018

Featured image: Video screengrab via Walking Dead apps game preview.

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