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Open World Zombie Video Game Idea

Zombie Open World Games

Sick of zombie video games? Well I have one idea that I hope is the mother-of-all zombie games: an open world (think Grand Theft Auto) zombie game, where it’s you in a decaying city filled with zombies.

You would go on missions that involved rescuing uninfected humans, acquiring weapons and supplies, trying to find safe shelters, and so on. The end goal may be to find a cure or to escape the city.

Functioning cars with fuel will be few and far between. Food, weapons, and first-aid will also be in short supply.

One core mechanic that would be cool: if you decide to avoid missions and objectives for a prolonged period, the odds become worse and worse for you. The zombies would grow in numbers, the supplies and uninfected humans would become scarce. You’ll always have an incentive to accrue supplies and engage the zombie threat.

Another mechanic is the ability to use multiple characters, which you can toggle between. This would be handy when coordinating the efforts of a group, like positioning one person to be a sniper lookout and another to guard a safehouse entrance. Also if you lose someone to the zombie plague, they are gone forever. So you’ll have to enlist other survivors to join your group. If you deplete your pool of humans, it could very well be game over.

It would be devastating to lose that one character you’ve spent X number of hours playing as. But the harsh reality of the game would make you seek out that dead/undead body to recover weapons and supplies.

You might have to kill zombie versions of people you once played as. Friendlies who have just become infected may need to be executed at your discretion. I’d like to think someone who plays this game would be confronted with difficult choices.

The film I Am Legend dealt with a vampire-like plague, though many traits from that film could be used here. A night/day mechanic could be employed. Secure safe houses could be setup throughout the city. Salvaging and stocking supplies would be crucial to survival.

Other traits I’d like to see from other properties: noise could attract zombies, like those seen in The Walking Dead. The infection could pass as easily as getting blood in your eyes, as seen in 28 Days Later, so be careful about using the shotgun at close range. You may have to deal with hostile humans seeking to steal your supplies and weapons, as seen in Falling Skies.

The ideal city would be in complete ruin. Electricity would be non-existent. There would be no HUD, so you’ll have to keep your eyes and ears open for signs of human life. Missions would be designated by flares in the sky.

Having this in an open world creates so much possibility. You could be a lone wolf and find yourself barricaded in a post office fighting off an onslaught of zombies. You could round up an army of humans and set up a base of operations in the football stadium. It’s all up to how you approach the zombie menace.

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Posted on September 18, 2011, in Films, TV, Video Games and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

    • I was speaking of a AAA game with 3D graphics in the scope of Grand Theft Auto. This isometric 16-bit offspring of The Paperboy and The Sims 2 has many of the same ideas (and more) – though much of it is still in development. 😦

      Glad to see it’s actually a game, but I’d prefer a more cinematic look – and that means Fallout or GTA or Left or Dead in appearance.

  1. have you seen dead island? video games that came out a few weeks ago

    http://www.deadislandgame.com

    • Been waiting for a decent version to be released on Steam! I did not know that one was an open world, Seems more like Dead Rising, but improvised (killing with what is available at any given time).

  2. I’ve been saying this for YEARS! Dead Island is very Dead-Rising-esque and doesn’t have the same open world feel that GTA does. Some features me and my friend Danny suggested were:
    – Disguise
    Like seen in Walking Dead where the characters use the body parts of the infected to wade through heavily infected areas such as main roads or shopping centres (Good locations for some of the missions). To create the suit of body-parts you need to kill a few zombies then get to your shelter and tape it to some clothes that you smear with infected blood (I think the 28 days later rule would be too hard to survive realistically) alternatively you can buy these suits from other survivors at a high cost (Barter system of course! Or cash to be used in safe-zones?). These suits make you walk slow and you get sweaty and exhausted easily while using them but you still have to walk slow in hordes to avoid detection. The suit falls apart during use and with the sweat, it has a limited use time like minecraft tools. It’s a great tool for specific missions or getting through tough pickles (Like your safe house being ambushed) but it has it’s downsides… It’s weather dependant, light rain will reduce it’s use time as it washes off the scent, heavy rain makes it virtually useless so check the sky before venturing out in your suit. Also, in emergencies, there’s a quick button to drop the suit and leg it! You can come back and get your suit later but depending on how and where you leave it, it’s use-time will be decreased when you go and get it.
    – Stealing Cars
    Jacking a car is kind of pot luck, hotwiring works on perhaps 20% of vehicles (Perhaps older looking ones) but it isn’t recommended for the gamer to use one in a quick escape. Instead, a good way to get cars is to steal keys from houses, bodies or the infected and maybe use the click to locate the vehicle if nearby. If the car for the key can’t be found, you can go to Seeker Unions and sell them to seekers who will often go in search of vehicles and will buy the keys off you for near-to-nothing.
    – Seeker Unions
    Seekers are NPCs that can be found searching the wastes for loved ones or resources – usually adept to navigating infected cities. Many will offer themselves as Seekers-for-hire or chaperones to get people desirables, or cart survivors through infected areas. The seeker unions are great places to sell items, find missions from people looking for help or befriend allies that may help later in the game. Seekers will also give you useful tips like how to use petrol-full cars as molotovs if you navigate their chat properly. MP3 Cell Phones strapped to grenades is another suggestion to lure in the infected and blow them up. They may even teach you how to make weapons or how to do so most efficiently. The Seeker Union director in the main city will sometimes come to you with missions he thinks you may be able to help with, and could be integral to the main plot.
    > Climbing Character
    One thing Batman Arkham City did fairly well was scaling buildings, this isn’t present in GTA of course but for avoiding the infected it might be quite useful. A climbing character, or perhaps climbing equipment you can store and grab from your safe house might be an idea, but with limitations so perhaps it can’t be used all the time (Due to weight or lack of storage) but climbing buildings to get around big hordes might be a nice feature, but you have to pick the right kind of building – perhaps one with a sturdy chimney column to lasso?
    > The Military
    The infected aren’t your only foe, the military is having trouble keeping their grasp of all 50 states. While some are deemed safe zones, infected areas have been cut off from water, electricity and communications in order to reduce panic and purge the virus. Occasionally they’ll send in Sweep Squads to clear areas of cities in Quarantined Districts and report back with samples, Intel and infected test subjects. These squads are well-armed and can be used tactically to clear hordes of infected (Use of sounds, hiding and good timing) however if they spot you or other survivors they will attempt to tranquillise you (Zombies are prioritised). However, if disguised as one of the infected they will shoot to kill (Another downside of the suit). Once tranquillised you are tagged automatically to be picked up my another crew which you see when you come back into conciousness as their prisoner. To get out you’ll need a hefty bribe (Like in GTA) but if you can kill these squads without them getting you first – you can salvage valuable armour, weapons and resources.
    > Land Claiming
    Some survivors have formed large armies and have taken to claiming districts of the city as their own. Whilst some are hostile, many will simply ask certain things of you such as surrendering firearms or wearing religious attire. They may even ask for a fee for passing through key short cuts they “own”. Becoming friendly with these factions can prove extremely useful; done by completing missions/favours for inhabitants or by avoiding conflict with them. Some areas are beyond negotiation and will have to be avoided. Wiping these areas is also possible with enough gun power but it is not possible to claim them alone; some missions may include clearing areas for friendly factions to take which will reap you benefits in the future.
    > End Game
    The end goal of the game is to break the quarantine and escape which is done by an expert plan cooked up by a team of seekers. The plan requires a host of components to be collated over a series of missions (Such as intercepting specific Sweep Squads, rescuing key assets like doctors and equipment but also includes a large supplying mission to prepare for the long journey ahead)

    Multiple characters might be tricky… I was thinking perhaps a format similar to Fallout 3 where you can employ companions. But with a better command module for suggesting sniper points or attack formations. I always thought the best way to span a zombie wasteland is what I call a “Star” formation which takes three people. Two at the front and one at the back. The leader is the Guide; someone equipped to travel the wastes with Maps, perhaps custom/expensive solar-powered GPS tech, climbing gear, binoculars and torches – they are lightly armed with a blunt object or two and a sharp tool. The next is the Newt, short for Neutraliser. They are typically highly trained in hand-to-hand combat and carry knives, blunt weapons, blades and two silenced pistols. Their main task is to protect the Guide, and create paths by neutralising key targets at the order of the Guide. For this, the guide will often carry a laser pen to pick out targets. The last of the three is the Tail, their job is simple; they carry the big guns! Sniper rifles are a must, but machine guns and shotguns are key too. They also carry blunt weapons for close quarters, maybe even a chainsaw (I’m not a big fan) but they key is they act as an overseer for the other two, protecting them in the case of a Sweep Squad, a large horde or any number of other sticky situations. Their discretion, timing and aim is integral to a good Tail and selecting one without an itcy-trigger finger will change your gaming experience significantly. much in the way a badly trained newt would. Finding good companions takes time, good relations and often money/resources though some can simply be found by dumb luck. A feature I would like is an NPC like approach to their behaviour, however the player can switch to one of the other members of the star if they like. So they can be a Guide during navigator missions, then switch to the Tail when things get messy, or become the Newt for close-quarters combat. Picking the right character for the right time is important to the survival of your star, and as you suggested – poor gameplay likely leads to the death/infection of team mates who cannot be revived and will have to be surrendered/scavenged. Difficult choices like that of whether to shoot your infected ally is a great dynamic to add that I don’t think any game has mastered yet! Imagine seeing a long-time character you have played as and with transform into one of the undead in front of your eyes! Complete with voice acting and screamed goodbyes! Amazing! The swapping characters of the star idea means that every character is disposable and you have allies of your *Team* with it’s emblem rather than your character so members can be replaced if one dies. Perhaps if all three die, the last to pass wakes up a few hours later in an ambulance having been rescued by friendly seekers who rescued you.

    I really like the idea of a limited HUD that maybe just displays health, an inventory, a basic map (No Radar bullcrap!) but you can use the environment to make predictions of weather and light, use sound to detect nearby hordes, survivors and squads. Completing missions will often give big rewards like new ammo stocks or a transport vehicle so the incentives almost create themselves! It’s such a great format for a game I have no idea why Rocksteady went with the Western backdrop for their zombie debut!?

  3. I think the mechanics of Fallout 3 and New Vegas that puts you in the mix its self first or third person. I think the setting up base camp idea is good and its a survival necessity. I do think that you should be able to stock pile items but put limits on weight and size make it as life like as possible. Find a old truck to use for gathering and hauling items and go out and scavenge items from the dead and the undead alike, maybe even raid another settlement. I think that it could be made into an MMO where settlements or safe houses can only be set up by groups of other players to make a settlement, a safehouse, a town etc. and this would also dictate who has the power in this undead rotting new world. Also throw famine, disease, disentary and other fun diseases into the mix that meds cures and players have to learn from books and what not so they can heal themselves and others. And instead of one place to trade goods like a world auction have each town and province made create and sell there own goods in that town and in thier shops or what not only. Make the player work for thier goods they can barter for goods or supplies or even services like body guard what not. Leave the power in the players hands and make it that the time spent and how the character is developed dictate that characters power in the world. Kinda like 4 players all the same level but one gets an advantage because he found a shotgun or because he learned how to make one or he knows how to heal himself and others from mortal wounds. These everyone gets the same thing shit gets old and boring. I want to make my story play different every time i play. Also make it that if you die everything level wise runs in chapters. So if im 5 hours in a 8 hour chapter and i save in an unsafe area or i get shot and die I start the chapter over. None of these ideas will work because everyone cries whines and bitches until they all get the same thing but, it would be nice to see this all happen.

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