12 HORROR / ZOMBIE GAMES TO LOOK FORWARD TO NEXT YEAR
"Zombies are on their way out."
We’ve all heard someone predict the nearing end of the popular genre at some point. Whether it’s been to our face, or whispered in dark alleys, for some reason, people think zombies are going somewhere. What we know that they don’t, is the zombie genre is only gettingbigger.Never before have the undead permeated every facet of entertainment so thoroughly, from books, to films, video games, and evenDetroit.There’s a lot going on right now when it comes the hungry undead and their seemingly bottomless appetite for all things human, but we’re here to touch on the video games. Read on for the definitive list of the twelve most exciting upcoming zombie games.
Also, before anyone gets up in arms about why one game is ranked higher than another, just know that none of these are in any particular order.
12. Project Zomboid
Now, technically, this game is already out. You can buy it right now, or you could wait for its upcoming release on Steam, where the game was recently approved for distribution, thanks to Steam Greenlight and the numerous gamers who voted for it. What sets this game apart from the sea of other zombie games is its ambition. Indie developer The Indie Stone has some lofty goals for this game, which already sounds pretty great as is. For the unfamiliar, it’s a zombie sandbox game where you’re tasked with the simple goal of surviving as long as you can. You’ll soon realize this is more difficult than it sounds once you see the incredibly intimidating swarms of zombies that are thrown at you.
The Indie Stone also has plans to add co-op (it’s currently single-player only), multiple side stories, a larger world, new systems (food, weather, etc.), and Steam Workshop support, so players can have easier access to mods.
11. Day Z
Day Z started life as a mod for Arma II, before quickly gaining enough momentum and player support to motivate Arma developer Bohemia Interactive to create a standalone game. Now, beware, because even if you fancy yourself a fan of the genre, you should know what you’re getting into before diving into this unforgiving game. Day Z is hardcore. It was created with the idea of realistically creating a post-apocalyptic zombie scenario, where even the slightest mistake can get you killed, forcing you to start over. There’s also the little issue of the other players, because you never know if that guy in the distance is friendly, or if he’s looking for another noob to shoot in the back so he can loot their corpse.
With that said, I cannot wait for this game. Thankfully, it’s been confirmed to be releasing sometime this year.
10. The War Z
It’s easy to get The War Z and Day Z mixed up, since they’re both open-world zombie games with an emphasis on player interaction, survival, and scarce resources. This one’s in a sort of beta period, where you can purchase the current version and enjoy the free updates — much like Minecraft’s approach to game development. Even though it’s technically available, this is the type of game that’s going to see a lot of change over the coming months as new content is added, mechanics are tweaked, and feedback comes in. It could look and play like a completely different game — just look at the early version of Minecraft and what it is today.
If you need help getting excited about this one, it brings with it a massive world that’s 400 square kilometers in size, and soon that will only get bigger. As an added bonus, as new worlds are added, you’ll be able to seamlessly move your character from each world to the next without losing your progress.
9. State of Decay
Originally known by the moniker Class3, State of Decay is another open-world zombie game that’s unique because it’s also coming to the Xbox 360. The previously mentioned zombie sandbox games are all (currently) PC exclusive. Much like the other games, this one has a focus on survival. This means you’ll need to find and develop relationships with other survivors, search for food, water, and medical supplies, and fortify your safe house. State of Decay also has a dynamically generating world that watches what you do and how you perform — sounds creepy, right? — so it can adjust the difficulty. This means the way you play and the choices you make will affect the game in real time.
What makes this game even more exciting is it’s basically a way for developer Undead Labs to get valuable information that will affect their next and more ambitious project, currently known as Class4.
It’s strange, but I think more people are looking forward to ZombiU than the console its launching on. Wii U identity issues aside, this looks like a fantastically creepy game. The way the Wii U’s gamepad is used is brilliant, because it transforms things we often take for granted, like say, searching through the items in your inventory, and transforms it into a genuinely intense experience. If you need to look through your survival pack, you’re going to have to look away from the screen to focus on the gamepad’s touchscreen. The same goes for other actions, like picking locks. ZombiU has a lot of potential, and it’s doing some exciting things with its competitive multiplayer, too.
7. Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z
This one caught me completely off guard when it was unveiled last month. A game that has zombies already has my full attention, but when you add ninjas to the mix, you’re practically guaranteed to have an amazing, and ridiculously gory game. This might end up being the breath of fresh air the Ninja Gaiden series desperately needs after the most recent installment’s lukewarm reception. But all that doesn’t matter, because it’s a zombie game with ninjas. Let me say that again: a zombie game with ninjas.
6. Until Dawn
Horny teens? Check. Murderous masked psychopath? Check. Creepy secluded cabin surrounded by woods? Check andcheck. The teen slasher subgenre isn’t one that’s really made its way to our virtual world of bits and bytes, but soon, we’ll find out if there was a reason behind that. Until Dawn looks interesting enough, despite its depressing PS3 Move exclusivity. I’m not knocking the PS3 or the Move, I’m only saying that it’s a promising game that many gamers won’t check out because it’s for the Move. Still, it looks super neat-o.
Oh, Shinji Mikami, you’re such a tease. First, you bring us amazing games like Resident Evil 4 and Shadows of the Damned, then you create your own studio and hint at a glorious return to the survival horror genre with a new project codenamed Zwei. After that, you tease us again with “an interest” in the open-world genre, before disappearing into wherever it is mad geniuses such as yourself go between press events and gaming expos. Come back. I need to hear more about this game, because if I don’t, my head will explode.
DARK is a game whose name implies a level of mystery, of horror, and most likely, a lack of illumination. I’m not a huge fan of stealth games, primarily because I’m dreadful at them, but this one has my interest. Well, it looks interesting, but when you jot down the bullet points it sounds terrifyingly similar to Vampire’s Rain. You have a stealth horror game starring vampires and lots of dudes with guns. Its super green futuristic art style looks cool, and I’m always up for a vampire stealth game redux. Hopefully, this one will surprise us all.
I hate this game’s name. Sacrilegium is not a fun word to say, nor is it memorable. It interests me because it’s a survival horror game, and as a fan of the aging genre I always feel the need to support a new one — but it’s also intriguing because it’s being developed by the studio behind the Two Worlds RPG series. I’d say more about it, but for the life of me, I just have no fucking clue what this thing is about. Maybe you have a lexicon with which to transcribe this bizarro synopsis: “The story follows a 20 year old woman and California college student named Alex across the world, from the misty shores of San Francisco to the fearsome and foreboding corners of the Old Continent. There Alex learns that assumptions can be lethally deceptive and that the seemingly safe modern world is but half of a chamber divided by a dark curtain… that beyond that opaque veil lies the embodiment of nightmares spawned into flesh.” It starts off simple enough, before quickly derailing into some nonsense about half a chamber that’s divided by a curtain, an opaque veil, and nightmares spawned into flesh. At least that last bit sounds like a line out of a Clive Barker novella, which I am all for.
2. Metro: Last Light
If you haven’t played Metro: 2033, you really should. It’s a fantastically creepy survival horror FPS set in a post-apocalyptic Moscow, as well as the labyrinthine subway system that lies beneath it. It’s genuinely creepy and thanks to some great source material, the story is better than your average shooter. Recognizing the series’ potential, THQ invested significantly more time and money into its sequel, Last Light, which looks to be shaping up quite nicely. I haven’t heard anything bad about it yet, but we won’t know for sure if it will live up to its predecessor until early next year.
This game was only recently unveiled, but it looks great. It’s a new survival horror title that has a rather impressive creative team behind it, including some of the minds behind Assassin’s Creed, Prince of Persia, and Splinter Cell. Red Barrels Games’ co-founder Philippe Morin said “There are already a lot of great games out there about terrifying monsters that eat brains; we want Outlast’s to be scary because you’ll know the enemies you face still have them.” I’m just happy this isn’t another zombie game. I’m an avid supporter of the undead, but damn, that market has reached critical mass.