ZombiU permadeath nearly scrapped

Ubisoft reveals it thought about removing unique feature of zombie shooter multiple times; writer claims "real" survival horror titles a "rarity" today.

During a panel today at the 2013 Game Developers Conference, Ubisoft Montpellier story design director Gabrielle Shrager revealed that ZombiU's permadeath component was nearly scrapped on multiple occasions.

"After rebooting the game's setting, we nearly killed the permadeath...a couple of times," Shrager said, referencing the game's transition from Killer Freaks From Outer Space to ZombiU.

Also speaking during the presentation was ZombiU writer Antony Johnston, who claimed "real" survival horror titles have become rare in today's market.

"We thought these elements through, we assessed their impact, and we focused on what was unique[...]especially in the current market, where real survival horror has become such a rarity," Johnston remarked of the game's permadeath component and "slow" gameplay.

This is not the first time Johnston, who also wrote the original Dead Space, has bemoaned the dearth of "real" horror titles. He claimed last month that Dead Space 3's action focus was a "necessary evil" for the franchise in order to broaden the player base.

For more on ZombiU, check out GameSpot's review.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
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99 comments
kreegan64
kreegan64

ZombiU isn't bad, but I would have preferred that killer freaks from space; haven't had an fps that looked that original since...well...the original Turok I guess....I'd like to see another crazy fps game, or at least one that seems to have an original take (kffos seemed much like a Gremlins-esque take on shooters)


I'd also bet that since they would've had a larger amount of time spent making the game that it would have had a better chance of being of higher quality, not to mention it would have a different focus.

theperm
theperm

I mean, in real life, when a zombie kills you, there's no coming back.

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

No it wasn't. Capcom said the same absolute bullshit about RE5 and yet the franchise sales are not much improved.

NotQueuinForPS4
NotQueuinForPS4

Nintendo are more gooder than Sony. ZombiU GODY contindur. Next Gen WINNER. 1 place

ghstbstr
ghstbstr

ZombiU is one of the best zombie games ever.

TheCyborgNinja
TheCyborgNinja

The way this game handles dying is pretty much my favorite way ever.

SicklySunStorm
SicklySunStorm

It's an OK game - I thought it deserved much better than a 4.5.... maybe a 6.5 - 7 for me personally.

OJ_the_LION
OJ_the_LION

I played this on my friend's Wii U. It's not all that good. A few nice concepts--I personally hate permadeath but I could at least stomach its implementation here--but it's just not that good a game. I'm starting to think there's not really a place for what the old school folks call survival horror in the modern big budget marketplace. There might be one in indy games (that's where basically all the 2d platformers went) but the market for the kind of survival horror the horror freaks want just doesn't seem to be there.

DinoBuster
DinoBuster

The reviewers are whatever they are and troll ass sheep will say a game sucks even when they haven't played it. Nothing new.

The game is not without it's flaws, and regardless of what system it's on and how that makes you feel about it, ZombiU was most definitley built with the concept of "survival horror" at the top of it's list. Give the game half a chance if you can put your reservations aside and you might be surprised with it.

Blowing_for_Ps4
Blowing_for_Ps4

Crap game for a crap system, wake up people you are the sheep!

GameBeaten
GameBeaten

ZombiU is one of the few survivor horror games I've played that has managed to scare me.

Landsharkk
Landsharkk

It's true, there are so very very VERY few real Zombie survival games out there. In fact, I can't really think of a single one that is a real zombie survival game.  Don't even consider bringing up the game Left 4 Dead.  However, DayZ mod for Arma 2 gets kinda close, but the game industry is still lacking a true zombie survival game, one where you need to scavenge for food, water, and other supplies, build up a stronghold to survive and maybe find a way to make your own food/water without having to scavenge.  



Gegglington
Gegglington

is it just me or the next batch of new consoles hasnt the hype. i remember a wii was rare as chickens teeth in the uk on launch and roits in the states for an 360 im playing walking dead survival at mo and zombi u looks twice as good

catsimboy
catsimboy

You know what's really scary? Not being able to open a door to escape zombies because the next area is loading. So Mission Accomplished Ubisoft, I guess. Maybe next time you scrap unopenable load area doors.

quigonzel
quigonzel

They should have thought about making a better game.

Scisor50
Scisor50

Still don't see how it's relevant how many sales a console/game got to be good and enjoyable. Original Mount & Blade got bad sales when it first came out and even a bad rating from Gamespot. But know what? That game was awesome.

The point is that you like it, not that the rest (some of it biased) of the world liked it.

Karjah
Karjah

Yeah because we really want to hear your thoughts after you were directly responsible for the horrible game that is ZombieU.

The true horror games may move to the indie scene but at this point I'm not the least bit worried after playing amnesia and lone survivor.

Mkeegs79
Mkeegs79

Its a rarity because publishers think the games need to all action because of Call of Duty. They are all trying to be big like Call of Duty instead of having some games find their own niche. All games don't have to rank in a ridiculous amount of money to be successful, Atlus and NIS does a good job of prioritzing and finding their place with JRPGs that people have claim is dying.

silversix_
silversix_

who cares what happens to a 4.5 game...

Dasim64
Dasim64

It's funny how in his own words Johnson both laments the lack of real survival horror while stating the very reason why it's gone. It's all about sales figures and nothing more. They feel that they have to go action oriented in order to appeal to a broader base which is just saying that they want to make more money and are willing to sacrifice a certain genre of games in order to accomplish that. This has become the biggest problem with gaming today. Everything is so action oriented in order to appeal to the masses leaving us with very little original content. For me personally it has ruined several series already and with Thief going to a more action oriented type of game play I don't have any hope of that series retaining it's legendary unique style of stealth game play. It is a shame to see originality crushed in the name of profits. I'm honestly getting bored of every game ending up feeling exactly the same. 

interrasteral7
interrasteral7

ZombiU was a massive disappointment as Red Steel and it is ironic, because they are both published by Ubisoft.

fredyellowone
fredyellowone

Sometimes, I have to disagree with Gamespot. 

I was in LA the day I told my brother : don't buy that game, bro.  Gamespot gave it a very low review.  He ignored me.  I'm glad he did, (and I will shut up next time); cause we both found out that the game was actually very fun.

da_chub
da_chub

Zombiu is a 7.5 game. It's def playable and fun, but it isn't perfect. I have played about 40 hours of it over last few months and feel likd everyone else is missing out on what's overall a great game.

WingChopMasta
WingChopMasta

They should have just scrapped the entire game for the Wii U and made it for the other platforms. Then they could have focused on a more fleshed out, better designed game rather than spend all of that time making stupid screen controls.

Lesson learned I guess. 

feared4power
feared4power

Fun Fact: ZombiU is a video game for WiiU

WCK619
WCK619

With the article about Ubisoft Toronto manager Jade Raymond saying microtransactions are the future, I'm surprised they wouldn't just insist on making you pay to respawn.