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Fewer zombie games, please?

Submitted by on Friday, 26 February 20103 Comments

Make no mistake, zombies are fun to kill. We’ve had years of pleasure dismembering these lumbering sacks of meat. They allow us to become murderous fiends without our consciences ever getting in the way, but should we feel guilty about all those heads we’ve blown off with a rusty sawn-off shotgun? Of course not; zombies don’t have feelings – we’re doing them a favour by freeing them from the undignified situations they’ve found themselves in.

But as fun as zombie bashing is, it’s time to give the undead a break: they’ve been so over-used that they’re starting to lose their impact.

It all started with Resident Evil on the PSOne; a revelation for the games industry, it introduced the survival horror genre and showed developers around the world how to make an atmospheric game. Shinji Mikami’s creation scared us wit-less and we’ve stuck with the series ever since.

The graphics didn't look so bad from behind the sofa.

It seems like every developer has tried the magic formula (zombie + guns + gore = great game). The formula isn’t restricted to survival horror games; Nazi zombies are even cropping up in Call of Duty: World at War, and Borderlands’ latest DLC, Zombie Island of Dr. Ned, shows they can’t resist a zombie gore-fest either. Have a brief scan of the PlayStation Network and you’ll find Zombie Apocalypse and Burn Zombie Burn!, and this Thursday North America will see the new mini Age of Zombies.

It’s time developers started picking on something else. Zombies need a break, and even the Resident Evil team appears to agree; the enemies bear less of a resemblance to traditional zombies with every new instalment in the series. Plus why do we need another game encouraging us to go on a zombie killing spree when we have Dead Rising 2? Check out the video above and I’m sure you’ll agree that Capcom already have that area covered perfectly well.

Dare I say, that zombies are the lazy option for developers? George Romero introduced us to the zombie genre in 1968 with Night of the Living Dead, he had intended it to be an intelligent satirical device. Shinji Mikami must have had intentions in his approach to Resident Evil, which can be read as a critique of the immorality of capitalism and as a warning about the dangers of scientific genetic experimentation. Regretfully, the series appears to be getting dumbed down with each new instalment in the series focusing on adrenaline-fuelled action more than credible stories.

Night of the Living Dead was a satirical look at 60s America

The vacuous use of zombies in modern games feels ignoble in the light of their origins as a satirical device. The standard unthinking zombie fare we are getting served would make good subject for a Romero film.

It is likely we’ll see more zombies in the future as that’s what the public appear to want. I don’t want to be so arrogant as to tell people what not to like, but I do believe that as much as everyone enjoys bashing a zombie over the head with a baseball bat, they would love it even more if developers could came up with a new device which is as fresh and exciting as zombies were in 1968.

I’d like to end by contradicting every word I have said so far: the PS3 would be a much more appealing console if it had Left 4 Dead on it, and I believe 28 Days Later would be perfect source material for a brilliant game if handled by the right developer. I would also like Evil Dead on the PS3 to0.

In other words, whilst we love zombies here at Attitude Towers, we want to see the subject matter treated with the intelligence that directors such as Romero have lavished on it for years. Otherwise, fewer zombies please.

Do you agree? Disagree? Give us your thoughts in the comments area…