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‘Walking Dead’ Claws Deeper Into VR in AMC’s New Virtual-Reality App

Todd Spangler

Now you can experience the full terror of turning into a zombie from “The Walking Dead” in AMC’s new virtual-reality app — if you’re into that sort of thing.

The free AMC VR app, published Wednesday, is stocked with 360-degree immersive content created for “The Walking Dead” and martial-arts series “Into the Badlands,” with more coming for the cabler’s other original series. It also includes AMC trailers and behind-the-scenes video in the the app’s “screening room.”

For now, the AMC VR app — like lots of projects in the VR space — is strictly promotional, designed to stoke fan excitement for the network’s shows. The app’s release is timed for the season 8 premiere of “The Walking Dead,” which is hands down AMC’s most popular show, on Sunday, Oct. 22.

“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,” said Mac McKean, AMC’s EVP of innovation and product development. “This extends your experience of the show – so you can get into the world itself.”

AMC this summer launched a commercial-free streaming subscription tier, priced at $5 per month, currently available through Comcast. Asked whether the VR content may be bundled into that service down the line, McKean said that “in terms of future business models, it’s too early to talk about.”

Following Sunday’s “TWD” season 8 premiere, which marks the show’s 100th episode, the AMC VR app will include an extended 360-degree bonus scene from the season 8 premiere starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan (who plays sadistic warlord Negan) and Seth Gilliam (Father Gabriel Stokes).

The scene (pictured above) was directed by Greg Nicotero, “Walking Dead” executive producer and special-effects makeup supervisor, co-directed by Kevin Cornish and produced by VR studio Moth + Flame. It will be available on the AMC VR app at the conclusion of the episode’s airing Sunday.

AMC has previously released two VR segments tied to “The Walking Dead,” also directed by Nicotero. In the first part of the “Attack” series you’re trapped in an abandoned car, and in the second you’re surrounded by zombies. The AMC VR app makes the second two parts available: “Devoured,” in which the undead feast on your flesh, and “Herd,” wherein you join the walking-dead mob.

“When you get to the one where it’s your last moment alive,” said McKean, “it really starts to get to you.”

The AMC VR app also includes “Into the Badlands” content: an immersive experience into the show’s fight-training camp with series stars Daniel Wu, Aramis Knight and Ally Ioannides watching themselves practice a choreographed fight; and “Tilda on the Wire,” in which Wu teaches Ioannides how to use a dead body to her advantage for a season 2 scene. The app’s screening room includes “The Walking Dead” season 8 trailer, a segment wrapping ip “Into the Badlands” season 2, and a segment from “Ride With Norman Reedus.”

Separately, Skybound Entertainment — whose “Walking Dead” comics series is the basis for the TV show — has a pact with Skydance Interactive to develop multiple “Walking Dead” VR games, with the first slated for release in 2018.

The free AMC VR app is available for iOS and Android, and the Samsung/Oculus Gear VR and Google Daydream headsets. AMC said it has more content queued up for the VR app, including new material for “The Walking Dead,” “Into the Badlands,” and upcoming anthology horror series “The Terror.”

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