Zombies are a major part of the entertainment landscape, in gaming they’re more prominent than ever before. We’ve seen recent releases such as Dying Light and Left 4 Dead, we see TV shows such as The Walking Dead dominate television, World War Z and more end up huge Hollywood blockbusters. It would seem as though zombies are here to stay, but are they really?
As I just mentioned, in film, zombies have been a part of the film landscape for decades. You’ve got films like ‘Plague of the Zombies’ from 1966, ‘White Zombie’ in 1932 and ‘I Walked with a Zombie’ in 1943, all the way through to recent blockbusters such as World War Z, I am Legend and the Dawn of the Dead remake. There are also a great number of satirical takes on the reanimated with films such as Zombieland, Shaun of the Dead and Dance of the Dead all taking the piss out of the genre. With the incredible commercial success of these films, it seems unlikely that are living dead are not vacating the silver screen anytime soon.
Perhaps only behind Game of Thrones (which also features zombie-like monstrosities) the biggest television show on the planet right now is The Walking Dead. The recent finale of the series garnered an enormous 15.8 million viewers in the United States, a record for the series, in Australia it was the top torrented show of the year and the series continues to go from strength to strength. iZombie has just kicked off and has received a largely positive reception. Zombieland briefly made an appearance on TV thanks to Amazon and there are other television series on the way. Zombies on the TV screen are flying.
Now to the topic that is a little more in my own wheel house – gaming. As I outlined earlier, we’ve seen commercially successful releases such as Dying Light, Dead Island and Left 4 Dead all sell extremely well, we’re also seeing indie developed titles such as Rays the Dead, Wasteland 2, and more succeed. All the while veterans of the genre such as Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Dead Rising and even Dead Space assert a strangehold over gamer’s attention. Even in the zombie genre, the games are maturing with two mega games, Telltale’s The Walking Dead and Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us that captivated the hearts and minds of gamers and snared hundreds of Game of the Year awards in 2012 and 2013. All of these were informed by the likes of Zombies ate my Neighbours and more that released in 1993.
What we’re also seeing are a range of games that aren’t centred around zombies. Red Dead Redemption released an expansion pack that created a whole new zombie based campaign while Call of Duty is very well known for its zombie modes that provide an enjoyable different experience to the core game.
What we can take from all of this is that the Zombie bubble won’t be bursting any time soon. As we know with fashion, sports and entertainment is that all things cycle in their popularity but it is fair to assume that zombies won’t be going anywhere in a hurry (pun intended). As an existing fan grows fatigued there will always be someone new to become enamoured by them, until it consumes them fully, and perhaps begin to resemble on. Zombies will be a mainstay for years to come folks.