What kind of game is Zombeer? That’s not easy to answer… my favorite description for Zombeer, which launches today on PS3, would be “first-person-survival-horror-comedy-shooter.”
When we started the design process, we had a clear vision for Zombeer. We wanted to show a zombie world with funny and crazy stories, full of tributes to our favourites games and feature films. All with gags, parodies, and — most importantly — no rules. The only limit was our indie budget, and that’s been a very real limit.
One of our internal goals was to design a coherent game. So if the story is crazy, the graphics, gags, puzzles, quick time events, etc. have to be crazy, too. And of course this philosophy includes the basic gameplay.
In Zombeer, you must keep a high level of Zombeer in your blood. Because if you don’t drink enough, the transformation will start; blurred view, a decrease in mental capabilities… yes, like a Monday morning. If you continue without a drink, you’ll transform. But it’s not all bad, because if you’re a zombie, the rest of the walkers won’t attack you, so it’s a good way to catch your breath, change positions, perhaps move nearer to ammo, or flatout escape. That’s not very elegant, but it’s always an option. The risk of this strategy is that if you don’t drink Zombeer enough, you’ll forget your identity and not return…
On the other hand, drinking too much Zombeer is a bad idea, too. Because you’ll lose control, start stumbling, and eventually die. So balance is the key. This balance is very important for playing Zombeer, and you can formulate your own strategy.
The second objective in our design was to create new kinds of zombies, weapons, and general visual elements. So we brought together a fresh team, most of them without any experience in games. I remember that a few colleagues told us “You’re crazy! You need people with more experience!” and things like that. But we believed, and now I continue believing that young people are full of energy and passion, and if they have a good opportunity, they’re going to surprise you. So with a junior team without experience and a few big friends to coordinate, we started this adventure.
The zombies are the result of an artistic group of illustrators, 3D artists, texture artists, riggers, and animators — a cool team that respected the idea of designing weird zombies. My favourite is Mr.ZombThong. He’s a great summary of how we’ve designed the characters. He wears a green thong, and — if you find him — he’ll start to dance his sexy Zombeer night fever dance. This dance will increase the level of Zombeer in your blood.
When it comes to weapons in Zombeer, let’s start by saying that they’re… unusual. You can use an Octogun, Zombgranades, a handmade Sniper Rifle, a Monster-Nail gun, and even a Death Cube that’s orbiting the Earth. All the weapons are easily identifiable for FPS players, because they’ve been balanced.
The humour and comedy in Zombeer is like another character. We invested a lot of time to include gags, parodies, and references from other games and feature films. You’ll find delirious situations throughout, like a dragon or a stargate.
Ultimately, the creative process was really sophisticated: after the workday, we went to drink something (Perhaps Zombeer?) and noted all the ideas we had. In the beginning, it wasn’t easy to define this style of the humour. While we were writing the script and designing the art, we just had to make a few decisions that we can summarize in one basic rule: no rules.