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Zombie Apocalypse Coming to PSN

Jon Slavin's Avatar + Posted by Jon Slavin on May 19, 2009 // Designer, Nihilistic

Hey PlayStation World!

Greetings from Konami and Nihilistic. My name is Jon Slavin, one of Nihilistic’s game designers on Zombie Apocalypse, the downloadable title from Konami coming to the PlayStation Network next month. I wanted to drop in and show some Zombie love to the PlayStation community and give you some previews to what you can expect to see!

Zombie Apocalypse, heading to PSN

So what is Zombie Apocalypse about?

Zombie Apocalypse is pure and gory wish fulfillment. We wanted to strip off the woes of increasingly complex modern mega-games, and retreat back into the world of dank arcades and late-night movie rentals that was our childhood in the 80’s and 90’s. This was not a game in search of a hook, beyond perhaps one to skewer a zombie on. Our goal was to produce a pure arcade shooter, rooted in dual-stick classics such as Robotron: 2084 and Smash TV. We knew it had to be pick-up-and-play, gory party-game fun, but still deep enough and tense enough to stand among its forbearers. We knew multiplayer was a key feature in a game of this type, so we pushed hard to get four-player online co-op integrated from the start. With core values in place, we set out to fill that savage coffer with all the classic zombie lore we loved.

There was never any argument over style when it came time to design the aesthetics. We are all huge fans of classic zombie films, from Romero, to Fulci, to Danny Boyle, we love it all. We wanted to pay homage to the classic “big box” horror films–the true exploitation flicks that proudly exclaimed how many countries they had been banned in on their garish posters (Zombie Apocalypse has already been denied by Cero in Japan!). There would be no cell-shading or cartoon ghouls. This was to be a real stomach-turner, steeped in zombie history with little nods to the masters of the genre sprinkled throughout.

Zombie Apocalypse 002

Deadly Environments
In the best zombie films, the environment is as much a character as any of the victims, and we weren’t content to let our backdrops be only set-dressing. To begin, we wanted to find locales that would reflect the best moments in zombie film history. We have a graveyard with a crematorium that spews green gas, in a nod to Return of the Living Dead. Then there’s the woods surrounding the lonely cabin of a certain Dead turned Evil. After our seven locations were cemented, we began to work in a series of deadly hazards. There are spinning rotors and a jet turbine in the Airport, car crushers and grinders in the Junkyard, and an out-of-control garbage compactor in the Town Square. For Zombie Apocalypse, the environment is as much a weapon as your guns or chainsaw, and we really want to challenge the player to get creative with their kills. Sure, you can plug that zombie with your M-16, but can you lure him into the wood chipper along with a half-dozen of his shambling friends for big score bonuses?

Four Unlikely Heroes
For our heroes, we knew that bald-headed bad-asses just wouldn’t do. The Zombie Apocalypse is a plague that has stripped mankind of its place atop the food-chain, and the ones who were left were all unlikely survivors. We started with Harlan Woods, heavily inspired by the lead character in George Romero’s original Night of the Living Dead film. We then added Natalie Flores, our tough but mentally-unstable female lead. A bartender with no customers left alive to serve double shots to, she’s content to serve up plenty of double-ought shots to zombies. To round out the roster we added Ed Fragsen, the lonely and broken security guard with nothing left to lose, and Jimmy86, the arcade-rat geek who’s really a reflection of the designers themselves set loose on the zombie hoards as though it were a game come to life.

Zombie_Apocalypse_Character

Zombie-Killing Arsenal
With our theme, our environments, and our heroes in place it was time to refine the gameplay. We didn’t want the player to ever feel like they didn’t have the tools necessary to deal with the undead masses coming at them. This is why there is always a chainsaw strapped to your back, ready to go, as well as your default M-16 that never runs out of ammo. With their trusty chainsaw the player has the option to either just slice-and-dice or to put themselves at risk and go for a grisly “Chainsaw Execution” move (more on that later). Also at the player’s disposal is “zombie bait” which takes the form of a cute and talkative teddy bear strapped to the gills with C-4 and counting down to his “big surprise.” The zombies find his chatter irresistible, and will follow him to their death. There is also an entire arsenal of weapon drops the player will come across, ranging from a flamethrower, to a chaingun, to dual smg’s and a shotgun (10 in total).

Zombie Apocalypse 001 Zombie Apocalypse 003

Racking Up the Score
Wrapped around these instruments of death are a score multiplier system and an intricate series of bonuses the player can earn. Each stage of the game represents a Day in the life of the survivors, with the ultimate goal to survive all 55 Days of terror. Each day, the multiplier begins to climb the longer the player can stay alive and keep killing zombies, boosting the value of each kill as they go. The score system is designed to be layered, so that each positive action by the player feeds into the next. For example, by rescuing survivors the player earns a score bonus for the rescue as well as a fresh zombie bait to replenish their supply. The bait is great for luring zombies into environmental hazards, which yield score bonuses for each kill. Bonuses are affected by the score multiplier, which is given an extra boost when players put themselves at risk and use their “Chainsaw Execution” move. It’s all about giving the player as many zombie-killing options as possible, and then finding a way to give each action meaning within a larger context.

55 Days of Terror
Finally, our goal was to give the player a great value. There’s a lot of competition in the downloadable arena, and we wanted to make sure picking up Zombie Apocalypse was a no-brainer (pun intended I suppose). We have 55 increasingly intense levels across seven unique environments in the main game, unlockable modes including the punishing “7 Days of Hell” and “Hardcore” modes. We also have full 4-player local and online multiplayer support in all modes, as well as full trophy support for the PS3. Our hope is to have created something that arcade fans, zombie fans, and even the casual player looking for a quick fix or some bloody multiplayer fun will enjoy and keep coming back to. This is a game we had a lot of fun making, and we hope will be as much fun to play once it is unleashed upon the PlayStation Network.

//Add Your Own

129 Comments   7 Replies

51

+ Thrasher20 on May 19th, 2009 at 3:48 pm said:

I WANT TOO!!!!


52

+ NEJI64 on May 19th, 2009 at 3:49 pm said:

can some of y’all read ever question ask in was answered before y’all post. READ!!! he wrote big ass day 4-player local and online multiplayer support in all modes, as well as full trophy support for the PS3.


53

+ Tr3p1dat10n on May 19th, 2009 at 4:05 pm said:

PRICE. I want. Give me. :( NOW.


54

+ jqtaxpayer on May 19th, 2009 at 4:08 pm said:

There’s a whole hell of a lot of Robotron clones out there… and as much as I’ve got a soft spot for zombie games, we’ve already got a Robotron-style zombie game.

Basically, what I’m saying is that if there’s no demo, I’m unquestionably NOT buying this. You put a demo up, and, well… let’s just say I’ve got a soft spot for “zombait” as well.


55

+ Thrasher20 on May 19th, 2009 at 4:10 pm said:

It also reminds me of Left 4 Dead :P


56

+ Erasure242 on May 19th, 2009 at 4:15 pm said:

Awesome. I can’t wait for this game. Just knowing that youguys are fans of George A. Romero and the late, great Lucio Fulci gives me comfort in knowing this game will rock!!! Fulci Lives!!


57

+ ClinToN on May 19th, 2009 at 4:15 pm said:

Hey look, it’s Denzel Washington, Michelle Rodriguez, Gordon Freeman and my Janitor. lol

I can’t wait to play this one.


58

+ fatiga_cronica on May 19th, 2009 at 4:16 pm said:

When this is comes out?


59

+ JKC31 on May 19th, 2009 at 4:22 pm said:

You come here to obviously sell a game and can’t spend a couple extra minutes to make a video. LAZY? No buy!


60

+ DustyBlue on May 19th, 2009 at 4:27 pm said:

This is practically Burn Zombie Burn gameplay with Left 4 Dead style!

… I like it.


61

+ inveigle on May 19th, 2009 at 4:30 pm said:

The guy to the right reminds me of Louis, lol


62

+ Berae on May 19th, 2009 at 4:49 pm said:

JEFF

sorry for being off topic but why cant i download the new home space in home? it says that it is an error theres only 2 days remaining and i would like to see what it looks like
thanks!


63

+ acmilanboy on May 19th, 2009 at 4:51 pm said:

nice, i was holding up on a zombie game because of this, trophies will be there right?


    Jon Slavin's Avatar

     

    + Jon Slavin on May 20th, 2009 at 3:54 pm said:

    There will be plenty of trophies available for all of your zombie-killing accomplishments =)


64

+ NoLaws on May 19th, 2009 at 5:04 pm said:

woohoo nice :D


65

+ nokedimyo on May 19th, 2009 at 5:06 pm said:

Looks interesting. Definitely at least a Demo download for me ;)


66

+ nYcFrEeWiLL82 on May 19th, 2009 at 5:13 pm said:

ok this game sounds good..online co-op and trophies is a GREAT thing.ALL GAMES SHOULD HAVE THIS! its the 21 century! but yeah..thanx konami for understanding what gamers want and need…now tell us what the “lighting 5″ is for :p i think its the amount of dics the boxheads are gonna need to make mgs4 playable on its system. LMAO


67

+ Sneeches on May 19th, 2009 at 5:25 pm said:

looks cool, trophies????


68

+ Sneeches on May 19th, 2009 at 5:25 pm said:

NVM i see the response now lol, damn i wish we could edit our posts lol.


69

+ BurgerTyme on May 19th, 2009 at 5:29 pm said:

Damn this looks awesome! Inspired by Smash TV hell yea!


70

+ Vengeful-Chaos on May 19th, 2009 at 5:35 pm said:

So it’s very much like burn zombie burn with an all star cast of Denzel Washington, Michelle Rodriguez, Gordon Freeman, and ClinToN’s Janitor. Sounds good to me.


71

+ SlashZaku on May 19th, 2009 at 5:40 pm said:

I’ll be buying this :) Looks good and I enjoyed what I read.


72

+ Undeadkitty on May 19th, 2009 at 5:46 pm said:

Don’t kill me because I am undead!!

But no seriously, can you play this game with 2 people at your house and 2 people from online?


73

+ StrykerIsland on May 19th, 2009 at 5:48 pm said:

After being burned (no pun intended) on the lame Burn Zombie Burn, I was hesitant to give this one a try, but this blog entry is saying all the right things.

As an old-school Zombie fan, the stuff you’re mentioning all talks to me from the perspective of someone who loves the genre as much as I do.

Here’s hoping the gore is up to par, the visuals impress and the humour stems from over-the-top intense scenarios rather than Elvis impersonators and lame musical scores.

I’m willing to give this one a shot because you promise a demo, and if I dig it, you can count on a purchase from me.

One question, will all 4 characters have to be on-screen at once, or can people stray off on their own a bit and call for help if the brain matter hits the fan?

Also, have you made it easy to hook up with friends and stay with them? Drop-in/out style? Party system? How is the online interface being handled?


74

+ MadmanEU on May 19th, 2009 at 6:26 pm said:

Is this going to be insanely and pointlessly difficult like Burn Zombie Burn, or is it going to be challenging, yet fun? I found almost no fun in BZB, and I’m a zombie game/movie/show/book freak…give me a decent PSN zombie slaughter fest.


75

+ Enigma777 on May 19th, 2009 at 6:35 pm said:

Awesome! The other PSN zombie game that came out recently was too cartoonish for me, but I’ll definitely pick this one up!


76

+ TheInfectedBy590 on May 19th, 2009 at 6:43 pm said:

Nice, can’t wait for this!


77

+ Poopookakabumbum on May 19th, 2009 at 6:55 pm said:

And when is it coming to disc?

How many times do I have to say this?

GIVE CONSUMERS A CHOICE AND PUT THESE GAMES ON DISC!!!!!

It’s not rocket science. Man oh man.


78

+ SKeRJ on May 19th, 2009 at 6:59 pm said:

Online Multiplayer? You’ve just got yourself a sale from me.


79

+ Atomika14 on May 19th, 2009 at 7:08 pm said:

How about a Shopping Mall as in Dawn of the Dead? The 1978 version in the Monroeville Mall would be so awesome!


80

+ TwisterCT10 on May 19th, 2009 at 7:14 pm said:

This is a legitimate question:

Are the character designs a intentional homage to the Left4Dead cast (and/or Valve in general)? Or are you gonna go with “coincidence”?

So you know, I think you’d do better to say “homage” (which I think is totally acceptable and rather funny) than to make people actually believe it was completely unintentional.


81

+ Mr_Saturn on May 19th, 2009 at 7:25 pm said:

Holy [DELETED]! More and more I’m buying PSN games and not many retail games. This is why.


82

+ rmedtx on May 19th, 2009 at 8:17 pm said:

Guys, the game looks like it will be fun. I’m looking forward to check it out.


83

+ XgargunoX on May 19th, 2009 at 8:29 pm said:

@11

YEA GO METALLICA!!


84

+ MarvelAssassin on May 19th, 2009 at 8:29 pm said:

The first guy looks like Denzel Washington and the girl looks like Michelle Rodriguez. Or is it just me? lol


85

+ Xenoxerxes on May 19th, 2009 at 8:43 pm said:

So if I read right this is gonna be a twin stick shooter? That sounds great and that’s what I didn’t like about Burn Zombie Burn. In BZB the right stick did basically nothing. Made absolutely no sense. I bought the game, played it for one day and basically hated it because of the controls, which is a shame because everything else was so well done.

So if this a twin stick I’m looking forward to it.


86

+ S-E-G on May 19th, 2009 at 8:44 pm said:

poor graphics if you ask me, glad there’s a demo, but i doubt i’ll be picking this one up, we have burn zombie burn, and now another burning zombies game, boring!!!! good luck making money on this game.


87

+ Wafi24 on May 19th, 2009 at 8:56 pm said:

Price?


88

+ Shmotz on May 19th, 2009 at 9:00 pm said:

Please tell me this will have a Braindead -esque lawnmower blades strapped to chest type weapon in it.


89

+ Dice_for_Death_ on May 19th, 2009 at 9:06 pm said:

Awesome. I’m so getting this.


90

+ DARZERO on May 19th, 2009 at 9:40 pm said:

Nice, day one pick up for me. thanks for creating games like that. we need more old school pick up and play games.


91

+ MAspiderface2 on May 19th, 2009 at 9:43 pm said:

What’s the price gonna be?


92

+ sNsKid on May 19th, 2009 at 10:00 pm said:

This game looks so fun. I am glad I didn’t buy Burn Zombie Burn. lol

Zombie Apocalypse for the win!!


93

+ gmk218 on May 19th, 2009 at 10:05 pm said:

very kool i was kinda disappointed w bzb this looks wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy better thnx cant wait


94

+ NoVaPH1R3 on May 19th, 2009 at 10:08 pm said:

I’ll buy… i mean i’ve bought worse HA!!


95

+ Hiterhat on May 19th, 2009 at 10:27 pm said:

ooohhhh yeaaah ive been waitin for soooooo long… thanks lots


96

+ Loco on May 19th, 2009 at 10:33 pm said:

wow interesting how soon is it coming?


97

+ harryboy3264 on May 19th, 2009 at 11:16 pm said:

This game will convince me to buy something on PSN xD.
THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!


98

+ Montara92 on May 19th, 2009 at 11:29 pm said:

I am excited about this! I love zombies!
Never played a zombie game though. I’ll definately be grabbing a copy of this.
No UMD?


99

+ ThanatosDMC on May 20th, 2009 at 12:30 am said:

SWEET! Finally a arcade PSN game with full online support! I wanted games like Pixel Junk Monsters to have online multiplayer… oh well. Great news!


100

+ IIIKAGEIII on May 20th, 2009 at 1:03 am said:

is there decapitation?


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