Zombie Apocalypse Coming to PSN

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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-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.

Comments are closed.


7 Author Replies

  • Need more zombie games!!

  • Enough allready with the flickr private photos :)

  • Sounds like Left 4 Dead and Burn Zombie Burn all in one!

  • daym looks intresting i might get this after all

  • Looks good, but what about local multi-player?

    • Yep, local multi-player is in and it’s tons of fun! Zombie killing is way more fun with some buddies around.

  • Looks cool but I was dissapointed with Burn Zombie Burn so hopefully this will be better…better at satisfying my thirst for zombie blood!

  • will there be headshots?

  • awesome there is co-op. thats what burnzombieburn really needed ;-)

  • Awesome! The game looks great and I can’t wait to pick it up. It looks a lot like Burn Zombie Burn but more realistic. This is definitely a good thing… :)

  • @5

    Well, it would be pretty silly if it didn’t have that.

    Nice to have anyone under the Konami umbrella here with us. Stick around and have a virgin martini (there are k-i-d-s around XD ).

  • sweet does it have custom soundtraks? I want to listen to Metallica while killing the undead.

  • Wow… Who put ‘Left 4 Dead’ in my ‘Burn Zombie Burn’? Is that a sprinkling of Gordon Freeman I sense?

    This gonna be a hard sell.

  • Damn you PSN! Why must you continue to release awesome games? I can’t get through a week without buying more PSN games. Arrrrg!

    Seriously though, this looks killer. I was about to say I would have skipped Burn Zombie Burn if I knew this was coming out, but then I realized, no…that’s not true.

    I loves me some zombies. :-)

  • I like the look of it a lot more then BZB (I know, that one is more on the humorous side)

    – Does it have custom music?
    (or PS3-Features like screenshots&youtube-recording?)
    – mixed offline&online Players?
    – demo?
    – not more then $9.99?

  • As my grandmother used to say -“you can never kill enough zombies”

  • Looks good but why use the same zombie models over and over. Make more models!

  • needs MGS5 from Konami

    quick Konami announce MGS5 as ps3 exclusive and please finish this console war

    PS3 = flawless victory

  • Ok looks cool. Just a few questions then.

    1. Release date?
    2. Price?
    3. Local co-op? I saw online co-op but just wondering about local cuz my brother and I play my PS3 often together when he comes over.
    4. Trophies?

  • Looking very awesome, no release date?

  • Looks good. Demo for the day launch?

  • Looks great. :)

  • Co-op? Online support? I skimmed through it, I apologize. Definite buy.

  • hahah!
    must get this game!
    looks good, keep it up!
    but i have to ask a question, does it have a chainsaw and upgradable weapons?

    • We couldn’t have a zombie game without a chainsaw! There are other weapons you could use, I guess, like if you REALLY wanted to. But I don’t see why you would when you have a chainsaw.

  • StalkingSilence

    Not a “zombie” fan – but heard good things about this game. Glad to see it getting more official promo.

  • ok, sorry about this. there is a cahinsaw, but what I meant to say, is there an M134?

  • Konami needs a Space in Home and a Place in the PSN Store.

    oh and i would LOVE if you guys show anything about Castlevania.
    also how about Contra ? , i’d love a psn game on that!

    (lol im being too demanding)

  • StalkingSilence

    “we wanted to make sure picking up Zombie Apocalypse was a no-brainer” – clever.

  • Looks really fun! But not really a fan of the over-the-head gameplay. (Can you call it that?)

    Are we ever gonna get TPS or FPS downloadable zombie games?

  • Mmm, fresh brains…

  • @28 It’s called top down camera if I am not mistaken.

  • this is great, ill look for it next month

  • Zombie video games are becoming so cliche… This does look like one of the better ‘zombie game of the month’ entries, though.

  • Looks great; needs a demo!

  • I think we need some good quality Zombie games, Dead Rising is almost there but we need something more “fun”. Dead Rising’s problem is that there’s a timer otherwise it would be perfect.

  • Can’t get enough of games like this, I’ll definitely getting it as soon as its released.

    By the way, Are there any plans to bring Contra Rebirth to PSN & XBLA? The game looks like a whole lot of fun.

  • Cool, Looking forward to it!

  • Looks better then RE5.

  • Those characters looks suspiciously familiar to those in Left4Dead.

    Either way, since that’s one of the few games PS3 owners can’t play on their system, this could hold them over.

  • Oh Sweet!! I hope this is kind of like Left 4 Dead so I can play some good multi-player, zombie apocalypse with my PS3 pals.

  • I love zombies, but man, there has been a glut of zombie-games lately. And as much as I appreciate arcadey shooters, especially in the vein of classics like Robotron, I think this one’s just going to get lost in the swarm.

    Good luck, but I’m going to pass.

  • Left 4 Dead + Burn Zombie Burn = This Game

  • If only there was an old war vet it would be L4D all over again

  • Definitely been waiting for this to drop. But what’s with the blatant Left4Dead cast?

  • Looks awesome, can’t wait, day 1 buy for me! Ahhh yes, SmashTV, man did I kill some time playing that one! Tons o’ fun!

    Will there be a region lock on Multiplayer?
    Can I, in the US, play with my buddy in the UK? Thanks in advance.

  • lol, the guys look extacly like the l4d people :P

  • @43 Left 4 Dead cast is basically like every zombie movie cast, so no Left 4 Dead isnt the first to have this “cast”

  • This looks really great. Can’t wait to get my hands on it, but I have 2 questions:

    1. Will there be a demo before or after the game releases and

    2. Does that guy on the far left of the pic remind you of Denzel Washington because to me he does. Just had to say it.

  • Keep up the good work!

    The PSN is growing stronger for every minute… The support it’s getting is just mindblowing.

    More Games, More Gamers.

  • can’t wait!

    thank you for another co op game!
    i just hope its just killing no need to burn zombies b4 killing them or any other hassels

    • Nope, there are no barriers to the zombie killing. You can burn them if you want, though, we’re not going to stop you.

  • I WANT!!!!!!!

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