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Why Zombie Games Refuse To Die

With a new influx of zombie games, Mike Mahardy looks at what has made them so popular over the years, and why the undead horde will continue to be important for video games.

Following the release of State of Decay 2, Days Gone news, and the announcement of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 zombies, Mike Mahardy took the opportunity to look back at the history of zombies in video games. What's more, he argues that the undead horde will continue to be relevant for a long time.

Although common refrain dictates that zombies are a tired trope in pop culture - and especially in video games - they serve a purpose beyond mere catharsis. They allow developers to sneak innovative systems and mechanics into games that might not otherwise be successful. Zombies make money, so creators can do what they do best: be creative.

For more on the saturation of zombies in video games, as well as any upcoming titles that features the reanimated monsters, come back to GameSpot for news, reviews, features, and more.

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Avatar image for cetaepsilon

1. AI easy to code

2. Politically correct

Avatar image for Arsyad05

errr, because they are zombie?

Avatar image for Klyern

My opinion on title? 3 reasons.
First, because the AI is so easy to program since they are supposed to be stupid.
Second, it makes designing a plot or story easy, because zombies.
Third, the genre is good and overly saturated with both good and bad franchises, so it refuses to die out because people keep clinging to it as an easy fix or a fast, guilty pleasure, both for writers, producers, consumers, etc.

Its not gonna die, its simply not gonna die. At least not until something bigger comes along.

Avatar image for buggybooger

As much as zombie movies are a means to make commentary on consumerism, zombie games are a commentary on their consumers.

Avatar image for Jock9

For me personally it's not that I love zombie games, I love post-apocalypse games such as Fallout, The Last of Us and others because I want a game about surviving a harsh future. Zombie games are part of this genre, and until they made a big scale open world post-apocalypse game with mechanics similar to the Witcher 3 then zombie games will have to do for now.

Avatar image for Bread_or_Decide

Zombies, aliens, robots- these will always be popular in games. They make for easy horde enemy types.

Avatar image for johnrare

to say it was already dead to begin with

Avatar image for monkeyporn

I'll tell you WHY they refuse to die. Because they make MONEY ! People still love zombie games and that means thtey buy them and anything thta makes money will keep being produced.

Avatar image for timthegem

AMC has proven that you can succeed with the worst writing in the history of existence as long as zombies are involved. Seriously, Rick can say, "Herp derp hurr durr durrrr" and loyal idiots like me will still tune in.

Avatar image for No_Intelligence

@timthegem: I agree man.

Walking dead is some of the worst writing I have ever seen. Every now and then there's a very gripping episode, but yet... i still zombie through the drudgery.

Avatar image for deactivated-5b2c8e0382c99

I just don’t understand why everybody decided they liked zombies one day. I’ve always enjoyed zombie movies, but they were never big business. Then The Walking Dead comes out and everyone is all about zombies all of a sudden. It’s a terrible show. The zombie modes in Call of Duty games are pure crap, too. People did the same thing with bacon. Bacon has always been delicious. Then about 5 years ago, bacon started popping up everywhere like people where just finding out about it for the first time. I know that wasn’t necessarily game related, but it felt good to get off my chest.

Avatar image for Bread_or_Decide

@frosty988: I’m 36 and I assure you, bacon was always popular. Zombies were popular since night of the living dead, and games like dead rising and cod brought that trend to games.

Avatar image for logicftw1

Zombie games, zombie movies, zombie books... been into them for many years and I still love them all, as long as they're done well.

Good job on the video BTW.

Avatar image for nsa_protocol44

Cuz they reanimate simple as that.


Avatar image for uninspiredcup

Only recently finished Zombie Trilogy, pretty dam fun game.

End boss was ridiculous.

Avatar image for thepsychosis92

"hey joe you wanna play a zombie game."