The Walking Dead Pinball Coming Soon From Stern

arcadehero August 27, 2014 6

As you well know it has been a busy year for pinball, with the end of the year looking to be the busiest in terms of new releases since the beginning of the century. For Stern’s part, they have already released their Mustang pinball machine around March and they have re-made a couple of their recent titles, Iron Man and AC/DC which uses their new hardware system.

For a little while there have been rumors about their next title, The Walking Dead Pinball, based upon the popular cable TV show. Today there are a few sources confirming that this is their next game, although we do not have a picture of the machine yet.

First, a user on the Pinside Forums posted a picture of an insert from the Blu-Ray of The Walking Dead Season 4. If you scan the QR code and go to the website, it takes you here. Also from that thread users state that this has been designed by John Borg (Metallica, TRON, Indiana Jones and others) and it does not use the LCD

Stern also posted this image to their Facebook page:



We will be keeping an eye out for the cabinet pics, where I will update this post with the appropriate information as soon as I get it.


  1. voltz15 August 27, 2014 at 10:35 pm - Reply

    I was kinda hoping we’d get a Resident Evil or House of the Dead pinball first, but I guess it has to be an “outside” (nudge, wink) license.
    Which reminds me, what does Stern have against making original IP’s anymore?

    • arcadehero August 28, 2014 at 9:36 am - Reply

      I don’t recall links to direct commentary on licenses vs. non-licensed but it boils down to the same reasons that companies like Raw Thrills and Sega are going the same route:

      1) Built-in name recognition for easy & cheap marketing
      2) Built-in basis for gameplay/game mechanics
      3) Less risk in winner vs. loser concepts
      4) Not much cost involved in obtaining the licenses

      The assumption from a marketing stand point is that the game will sell itself better and easier with a name that people know attached to it plus it gives the license holder incentive to promote it – although it seems that license holders do a very tepid job at that generally. It was a little surprising to see that Blu-Ray insert for TWD as often there is next to zero promotion from the company IP holders as they probably figure that it is the job of the manufacturer to really do that.

      At the end of the day non-licensed requires a bit more work to get people out to play the games and is a bigger investment risk to bank on and we know how great arcade companies are at hype/viral marketing 😉 Although Stern has done quite well in the marketing circuit after their renovations. But I also wouldn’t be surprised if there is a hint of ‘the best selling pins of all time used licenses and we don’t see any interest out there for non-licensed games’. So it will be telling how games like Jersey Jack’s non-license, Heighway’s Full Throttle and VonnieD’s Pinball Gremlins do compared to licensed titles.

      • voltz15 August 28, 2014 at 4:23 pm - Reply

        That does make a good number of points as advertising with licensing does go a ways to carry product further. On the flip side, it very well spells doom and gloom for the likelihood that we’ll see original tables ever being produced again. The mentality that goes with the business side of things will also take measures to do so in preventing that, which goes a ways to effect this industry as a whole.

        • arcadehero August 28, 2014 at 5:37 pm -

          Well I don’t think all hope is lost. As mentioned, there are a few original themes in development right now. What will be telling is how successful they are. Then again, one issue that can certainly happen is that a few of them are releasing around Oct/Nov this year along with a couple of other licensed ones (That period should see releases for The Hobbit, maybe something new by Stern, Pinball Gremlins and Full Throttle pinball. Pretty full list). So it is possible that something could under-perform not because of the theme but because of the many choices available right at that time. But the industry would likely look at it being the original theme as the reason for any failure and not the busy release schedule so who knows.

      • chaos August 29, 2014 at 1:11 am - Reply

        Whatever happened to Ben Heck’s zombie pinball? I tried searching for some info on that and didn’t find much other than the pages that were linked here on AH.

    • Steffen September 4, 2014 at 12:13 pm - Reply

      Gary Stern has stated in the past that he pays about 50 Dollars per machine for the license of a theme.

      That’s 50 Dollars for graphics, sound and the advertising power of the license.

      Also remember that Stern tried some own themes in the past with Striker Xtreme and High Roller Casino. They are non-licensed games with pretty timeless themes for a pinball like soccer and gambling. Granted, they are both nowhere close to brilliant but they are also not better oder worse than other games of Stern in that era.

      So Gary probably got a hint from his sales figures back then which way to choose.

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