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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

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101

+ CinderShadow on May 20th, 2009 at 1:59 am said:

Definitely do want. I think it’s really great that you chose your inspiration for a lot of the design and art, from classic movies that a lot of players will recognise the origin of, as they play.
It’s also really great that you’ve included ways to keep players coming back for more.
I’ll be having some of this, day 1! I hope it won’t be long till we learn when that will be. :D


102

+ ZAFDeltaForce on May 20th, 2009 at 2:35 am said:

When will this be released on the Asian PSN, if ever?

It looks like a pretty damn good game and I’m hoping I can pick it up in the very near future.


103

+ vegasbosko on May 20th, 2009 at 2:42 am said:

I second Atomika14 idea about a shopping mall idea. Maybe even a mini survival shopping mall level as DLC.
I’ll be getting this day 1.


104

+ muzzar69 on May 20th, 2009 at 3:22 am said:

HAHAHA helicopter blades classic.
to me that was the best part of xmen origins where you grabed a guy out of his seat and used the blades to trim his hair.
helicopter blades chainsaw zombies how can you loose?


105

+ Phuquit on May 20th, 2009 at 3:24 am said:

If i hadn’t bought “burn zombie burn” when it came out, this game would be a no brainer for me.

But after i was so colossally disappointed with burn zombie burn, i’m a bit aprehensive, i know you dont want to sit there and slate that title (thats my job) – but what is different about this title? i mean besides it’s not cartoony and kid like, and you dont need to burn zombies to get a multiplier.

Is this a “wave based” attack system? are the weapon pickups the same? How large are the environments? Also a cost estimate? In £’s would be even better.

Hell i’m probably going to buy this anyway, regardless of a response. But i dont want a mediocre title like i felt i got from Burn Zombie Burn, that’s all :)


106

+ Phuquit on May 20th, 2009 at 3:40 am said:

also the weapon aiming, is it simple analog controls? left stick for movement and right stick for aiming? – again, BZB managed to defecate on that simple shooter method


    Jon Slavin's Avatar

     

    + Jon Slavin on May 20th, 2009 at 1:41 pm said:

    Yep, the controls are very simple, it\’s your basic dual-stick shooter setup.


107

+ CoLMcQueen on May 20th, 2009 at 4:27 am said:

I have to agree, looks like Left 4 Dead in Burn Zombie Burn Style. Interesting Mix. Will there be a demo on the psn available soon?


108

+ Watchmann on May 20th, 2009 at 4:41 am said:

Price?

The lack of response to that particular question leaves me with a sense of dread, more than any zombie.


109

+ Vextha on May 20th, 2009 at 5:29 am said:

It sounds great! Can’t wait to play it! Just please, oh please, start working on DLC as soon as you release it.

Will I be getting a Katana and that pristine ringing noise it makes when it slices a zombies head so clean that it slides off slowly?

It would also be really really really awesome (you don’t know how much it would enhance the fun), to make taunts and such for the players. So I can wipe the blood off my Katana after killing a swarm of twenty (maybe one hundred?) zombies ^____^

*crosses fingers in hopes my post is read*


110

+ Maltay on May 20th, 2009 at 6:06 am said:

Long time reader – First time poster. Just wanted to say that, if the Demo is any good, youve sold me.

Nice pitch!


111

+ Shiromaji on May 20th, 2009 at 6:27 am said:

The player characters look like they were inspired by Left 4 Dead :P


112

+ MGSTigerFox on May 20th, 2009 at 6:38 am said:

This game looks like a whole lot of intense zombie-slaying fun! I have one question though – since Konami has a hand in this – will we need to have one of those ridiculous Konami IDs in order to play it online? If so, I’m probably not going to get this – because I’d like to play with the friends I have on my PlayStation Network friends list. If not, then awesome, you can pretty much count on me buying this game. I have a Konami ID for Metal Gear Online, but I completely loathe it.

If someone can, please pass the word onto Konami and Kojima Productions that the Konami ID system needs to be scrapped when it comes to the PlayStation 3 – we’ve already got the PlayStation Network, and then that some further love for their biggest title yet would be insanely appreciated – namely – trophy support for Metal Gear Solid 4’s main story – I don’t think trophies for MGS4 should include trophies for Metal Gear Online. =)


113

+ SpiritThief on May 20th, 2009 at 6:40 am said:

OMG!!! Local, Online, blood, tons of levels, unlocks, brains…………

I can not wait for this. Glad I didn’t get burn zombie burn yet.


114

+ kensharp on May 20th, 2009 at 7:13 am said:

Dibs on the black guy! lol

I’ve been pining for a Left 4 Dead-esque game on the PS3. A day 1 purchase for me.


115

+ mikedo2007 on May 20th, 2009 at 7:43 am said:

I guess this is what happen when Valve didn’t release Left 4 Dead didn’t get release on the PS3. We get this instead.

“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!)”

So Japan allowed Left 4 Dead, but not this. This my friend is an example of double standard.


116

+ XxMidnightSunxX on May 20th, 2009 at 8:08 am said:

YAY! MORE ZOMBIES!!!! but i have one question, is it going to be online?


117

+ XxMidnightSunxX on May 20th, 2009 at 8:19 am said:

Hey John dispite my last comment..I have another question, is it headset compatible?


118

+ Kren420 on May 20th, 2009 at 8:27 am said:

I love zombie killing you can never kill enough undead friends and family


119

+ TwinDad on May 20th, 2009 at 9:09 am said:

I’m betting they pull a “capcom” and release it for $14.99. Do want, but unless it’s not $10 it’s not an instant buy.


120

+ StaticFox on May 20th, 2009 at 9:14 am said:

I just want a release date!!


121

+ iExile on May 20th, 2009 at 10:37 am said:

Looks like another must-buy PSN release. Plus, Nihilistic is a pretty badass name for a developer. :D


122

+ NeonReaver on May 20th, 2009 at 10:50 am said:

Looks decent, but it looks like it could get quite repetitive in a short amount of time.


123

+ whatisdelicious on May 20th, 2009 at 11:23 am said:

I kind of wish you guys had just mentioned “…and we totally love Left 4 Dead and took a lot of inspiration from it, but wanted to bring that kind of gameplay to a new audience” rather than just avoiding the issue altogether. The concept art for your characters and premise are obviously inspired by L4D, so why hide from it? That’s cool.


124

+ bigblack404 on May 20th, 2009 at 1:49 pm said:

Thanks alot Joe for swinging by and giving us the feed on this game. It looks like one of the best PSN games I’ll ever buy, and I’ve bought alot. Tons of levels, trophies, simple controls, arcade style gameplay. PSN looks great next month. First Marvel vs. Capcom 2, now this? Thanks Joe.


125

+ SPAZZY93 on May 20th, 2009 at 2:21 pm said:

Uhm all those characters look like a rip of Left 4 Dead don’t get me wrong I am all for this game, but still I’ve played Left 4 Dead and I don’t know awful similar…


126

+ Pulseman on May 20th, 2009 at 2:32 pm said:

Although the game looks good, I still cannot accept the fact that it is ANOTHER dual-stick top down shooter. Sorry but ENOUGH ALREADY!

There are other proven classic genres to capitalize from!


127

+ cell989 on May 20th, 2009 at 3:20 pm said:

all I want is custom music tracks and a party system.

This reminds me of contra with left for dead


128

+ McKillyou on May 20th, 2009 at 4:51 pm said:

What’s with all these people saying BLATANT L4D CHARACTERS HERP

The female character looks nothing like Zoey, Francis looks NOTHING LIKE the gamer guy, Bill looks NOTHING LIKE the security cop. Louis and the Main character from this look similar because they’re both based off the same character.


129

+ HawkEyes1 on May 20th, 2009 at 8:16 pm said:

5 players not 4! What is wrong with you SCEA and Konami! Omg seriously Sony your losing it what happened to the Arcade days cause this sucks!..There better be in game music cause I’m sick of your Gamer Developers not supporting this they have realize that each down loadable game is either $9.99 or $15.00!..IN GAME MUSIC!! It should be also for when your online!


130

+ Lemondish on May 21st, 2009 at 6:36 am said:

Perhaps the reason why the characters look so similar to those in L4D is because both games were inspired by the same material. Though, to be honest, they really aren’t that similar. I get the feeling most people would have cried foul at ANY socially diverse 4 member group of bad ass zombie killers.

Also, are there super zombie bosses?


131

+ Ztnepres on May 21st, 2009 at 3:29 pm said:

im assuming default weapon is a pistol. but please make it an upgrade or unlockable to have ninja stars or knives with explosive tags!


132

+ UndeadGamers on May 21st, 2009 at 3:37 pm said:

Omg this game looks awsome, but this goes to you Jon Slavin, you guys should relase a demo for this game thats online 4-player co-op so that we can get an idea what the game will be like, and i’m guessing you guys already have this type of mode in the game (sorry if you do) but i think there should be a survive mode that lets teams of four try to survive for as long as they can and get on the leader boards, there should also be a trophy for getting #1 on the leader boards, but anyway this game looks awsome and please respond to this commint and tell me what you think.


133

+ whatisdelicious on May 22nd, 2009 at 12:07 pm said:

It’s not that the characters look exactly the same or whatever. It’s that the STYLE of concept art is basically identical. It’s that there are four characters, three male, one female. It’s the way they look, what they’re wearing, the poses they’re in, their facial expressions, everything.

I just wish they had met this kind of comparison head on instead of just letting the community control that.


134

+ sNsKid on June 4th, 2009 at 9:15 pm said:

Can I has a release date? I was going to buy something in the PS Store today other than SFA2, but then I remembered about this game.


135

+ GrayGhost45 on June 16th, 2009 at 8:54 am said:

I am itching for a release date.


136

+ cloud66 on June 17th, 2009 at 9:51 pm said:

this game should have been released in june,please tell us if it is delayed and for how long.PLEASE!!GIVE US A RELEASE DATE!!!!


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