ZombiU: putting the brains back into zombie games
We caught up with Ubisoft’s ZombiU developers at rAge 2012 to learn a little more about the upcoming survival horror on Wii U
During rAge 2012, a couple of Ubisoft’s ZombiU crew were on hand to tell us more about the game and what it’s like to work on the new Wii U platform.
Nicolas Robin, is the ZombiU associate producer, and Mounir Radi is the senior game designer / lead content designer.
MyGaming: What was it like working on a new platform like the Wii U; a challenge or does the new technology make it easier?
Robin: “Both – firstly it was difficult to find a balance with working on two full screens, as we wanted to find a strong level of immersion and realism to the game. And it’s always difficult on a new console, because we had to wait for updates and development for the console, but at the same time, its as tough to develop on a console that’s 6 or 7 years old. Nintendo were also very reactive and very helpful with us, and made it a great experience to develop on the Wii U.”
MyGaming: Zombie games are an extremely popular genre today – what made you decide on a zombie game, and how does ZombiU differ from what’s out there?
Radi: “Tying into what you said about a developing on a new console, the Wii U gives us a chance to use the Wii U GamePad and do something different with ZombiU. The controls allow us to do something unique for the player. The game never stops, so if you’re managing your backpack, you can always be surprised and need to check your surroundings. These things add the element of realism and make ZombiU different.”
“If you try and play ZombiU like a Call of Duty game, it’s possible, but you’ll probably die. The game in that sense is very demanding, but fair. You’ll need to use your GamePad to scan, prepare and use the resources you find – it’s not a straight run-and-gun.”
MyGaming: Has the fan-feedback been from the preview events influenced development?
Robin: “It affects it a lot, and player feedback was very important. The feedback was very good and comforted us, so it was more about balancing certain things, like if there were enough resources or too many, etc.”
MyGaming: How did the London setting lend itself to the gameplay elements of ZombiU?
Robin: “We explored multiple locations, but the team really liked London. The city has great history and rock ‘n roll culture and the team loved it. As for gameplay, we also wanted to focus on the survival horror, and we watched many movies like 28 Days Later and Jack the Ripper, where there are very dark ambient streets and locations, and we wanted that in ZombiU. The old-Europe fashion style means that there’s lots of narrow corridors and tight alley-ways, which really heighten the horror and tension.”