In a recent interview, Florent Sacré, creative and artistic director of ZombiU, and Guillaume Brunier, producer of ZombiU, discussed the launch as well as the subsequent journey their team has had with ZombiU.
Upon release, ZombiU received fairly mediocre reviews. Many criticisms of the game revolved around a lack of action and limited multiplayer. When asked about this, Brunier discussed that the team had considered other gameplay options, but were focused on maintaining the game’s survival horror atmosphere.
“We did, but we ruled it out quickly as we thought we could not deliver it on time,” Brunier said. “How to bring a cooperative experience and still keep fear and tension is a question we would love to address though.”
Survival horror is one of my favorite game genres, and I’m a huge fan of ZombiU. Today, so many survival horror franchises seem to be adding multiplayer and more action elements in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience, even though this often diminishes a large portion of the actual survival horror aspect of the game. I find it admirable that Ubisoft felt strong enough about adhering to that style of gameplay that they didn’t want to risk compromising it, especially with a new IP.
Brunier went on to discuss the the design choice of meta-communication, having the dev team communicate with the players through messages on the walls and floor, as well as tease some information about our zombified bodies that the team has been collecting.
“The team came up with this,” Brunier said. Nintendo was very supportive as it’s close to the Miiverse spirit. We wanted to be able to surprise players by being very close to them. We’re having a lot of fun doing this. And we have many ideas to get this ball rolling. One in particular is about our 300k+ zombified friends stored on our servers. Who knows what we could do with them.”
At the end of the interview, Brunier added some details of what they would have like to have seen from multiplayer in ZombiU, perhaps this may be something incorporated in a sequel.
“We did not spend a lot of time contemplating online multiplayer as we had other issues to address,” Brunier said.” “In our most exciting dreams, we would like to create an online experience where players never quite know where they stand between coop and player vs. player. Doubt is a great nest for tension and fear.”
What are your thoughts on ZombiU? How do you feel about the state of survival horror games in general, and how ZombiU fits into that category? And, what would you like to see from a sequel?