Let’s face it – we all love killing zombies. Personally, I’ve been a fan of the genre since the original Resident Evil haunted my dreams in 1996. (I was 7, cut me some slack) Since then, I’ve played almost every installment in the franchise, even the atrocious Game Boy title, Resident Evil Gaiden. I’ve also branched out to some of the other major zombie-themed franchises: House of the Dead, Left 4 Dead, Killing Floor, and Dead Rising (to name a few). While my love of the zombie genre has remained unchanged, I’ve noticed that the theme of some of these games, most notably Resident Evil, has taken a turn in a new direction. Fifteen years ago, the RE franchise aimed to scare the wits out of me and challenge me to think critically in the face of absolute horror. Nowadays, the franchise is focused less on the scares and more on the stories and the characters. The upcoming Dead Island will probably bring some much needed innovation to the genre, but, in the time being, a group of zombie enthusiasts over at Reddit have decided to take matters into their own hands.
Last month, the team proudly announced Survivor Zero, a “Reddit-sourced,” open-world, zombie title. The idea for the game came as a response to a post that called for a zombie with:
“No time limits, no plot devices, no crazy “super zombie” boss.. Just a massive open world where you have to actually be careful what you do.”
The team, operating strictly on a volunteer basis, quickly assembled and thought of ways to satisfy this goal and bring new life to the zombie genre. Their mission statement is simple:
“…a group of talented Redditors continue to work on creating an immersive, free-roaming zombie game. A game where everyone can experience the thrills and struggles of a post-apocalyptic world. Where food and shelter is more important than weapons.
Where you are the survivor.”
Yesterday, the first project update was officially given. This initial update focused on three key components of Survivor Zero: programming, sound, and art. With regard to the programming, the team had this to say:
“Our main focus at the moment is in game mechanics and programming. From character movement to weapon function, the collaboration between our small, focused departments allows each team member the opportunity to have the resources and information they need when they need them. Procedural environment generation has received a lot of attention from the coding team and we’re coming up with some interesting implementations of code that, as milestones are reached, will certainly be shown off.”
Speaking of the goals for the sound team:
“The sound team is delving into the depths of dark ambient sounds, mixing heavy chords with tense sustain to lend serious atmosphere to the world of Survivor Zero. Composition sits at a high priority for us, so expect later media releases to show the talent we’ve got and the pieces they’re creating.”
The art team also offered some of their goals (and some concept art as well):
“Concept art is a favorite here for obvious reasons. We love our code, but in terms of sheer excitement, it’s the collaboration between art and design that drives the desire to see this project become the best it can be. Below are a couple shots of current tone-setters drawn up by our artists.”
No information on game play, story, or characters is available yet.The update concludes with a very positive message regarding the future of the title:
“The game is founded on the concepts of freedom in an isolated environment, ever present danger, and cautious creativity. The steps we’re taking toward creating a gritty, stylized realism supports these ideas and is starting to come through the concept art well into our models and renders.
Overall, we’re making a great push into the responsibility involved in creating the definitive reddit-sourced zombie game and we are not looking to disappoint anyone. Under the leadership of each team, a common goal is being kept in mind: keep it simple and keep it awesome.”
I, for one, cannot contain my enthusiasm over this project. What this team has undertaken is a high-concept, independent approach to the zombie/survival horror genre. The goals are lofty, and I’m sure the road will be long and difficult, but seeing this project come to life would be an absolute pleasure. ComicBooked would like to wish the team behind Survivor Zero the very best of luck.
If you’re interested in the title, then you can check out the project’s website and interact with the development team on a special sub-reddit they’ve set up. I’ll be keeping you up-to-date on this exciting, new project at each turn, so stay tuned to ComicBooked.