I sat down on the phone with the producer of the Walking Dead Escape, Liam Brenner and discussed the upcoming zombie survival obstacle course which will be featured at San Diego Comic Con next week.
Austin Adamson: What exactly do you do for the Walking Dead Escape?
Liam Brenner: I am the CO of a company called Ruckus Sports and we produce another obstacle course series. I am the executive producer of the Walking Dead Escape as well as the creator.
AA: Can you give us a quick overview of what people can expect from the Walking Dead Escape?
LB: I think Robert Kirkman the creator of The Walking Dead said it best, fans of The Walking Dead have been reading about it for years, clearly watching it on AMC’s The Walking Dead and the thing that makes The Escape unique is they get to live it. And there’s just nothing better than getting to live the apocalypse than to live it. What we have done is build an experience that is 35-40 min long for the average participant. Where they crawl, climb and slide their way to hopeful safety.
AA: What you described is definitely an obstacle course and not just a walking horror maze. What types of challenges do the survivors face?
LB: Some people approach thinking its some kind of maze or haunted house. It’s full on obstacle course. Climbing up and over Conex boxes, crawling under obstructions and sliding your way to safety as I mentioned. There are 12 different obstacle zones throughout the course. We are the first obstacle race to ever really build a course inside of a major stadium, which we did last year for the first time. It’s a pretty unique and incredible experience. Compared to last year we have all new obstacles, a new course and everybody’s favorite: more zombies.
AA: On the signup page there are multiple tickets participants can buy their way into, including zombies. Can you explain the different options?
LB: There are actually three ways to participate. You can be a survivor and try to avoid infection. You can be a spectator and enjoy a front row seat to the end of the world. Or, which is by far the most popular, you can be turned from a human into a walker by the very best in the world that’s Greg Nicotero and the KNB team. There are two different ways you can be a walker. You can be a hero walker, the full on makeup you’d expect to see, prosthetic and all. There are only about 60 slots and they sell out extremely quickly, its amazing. The other type of walker is a horde walker. We are going to have over 600 horde walkers this year.
AA: How do the zombies interact with the survivors?
LB: We designed the course in such a way that we have carefully placed walkers throughout the course and the objective is to avoid infection. One of the big surprises is whether you actually get infected or not throughout the course. We won’t let you know [if you are infected] until the very end.
AA: Which forms of the Walking Dead universe have you experienced, have you read the comics or played the games?
LB: I have been a big fan of the comic books as well as the show for quite a while. When we decided to put an obstacle course together with the zombie apocalypse there was only one place to go and that was Robert Kirkman.
AA: This is the second year The Walking Dead Escape will be at San Diego Comic Con, what are the future plans for the obstacle course, do you plan on bringing it to multiple locations?
LB: Unlike last year where Comic Con was the last stop for the year, and the only stop, we are very excited that starting in September we going to be doing 8 to 10 events in major cities around the country, going into 2014 with more events. You should expect announcements shortly after Comic Con.
AA: Thanks for taking time out of your day to speak with me. Is there anything else you would like to add?
LB: For anybody looking to do the event, there are always tickets available for survivors or spectators either at walk up or online at The Walking Dead Escape. In addition to adding AMC [Greg Nicotero and KNB] which we are really excited about, we are also going to have a great escape party at the end. Whether you are a survivor or a spectator, you will be able to go down and participate in the escape party where there will be a makeup how to session from some of the KNB staff, a walker training school, which will be phenomenal, as well as very exclusive merchandise from both Skybound and AMC.
Well there you have it. If you are planning on being in the San Diego area at all next week it might be worth checking out The Walking Dead Escape. The event takes place on July 19 and 20 from 5 – 10pm. Tickets are still available for survivors ($75) walkers ($80) and spectators ($20). Additionally, there is a promotion going on right now. Use the coupon code “ESCAPE” during checkout and save $10 for survivors and $5 for spectators.