Social implications of the zombie apocalypse
by Sebastian Haley, Creative Director
I woke up today wondering why I was light-headed, and it turns out my girlfriend decided to spray paint her steampunk pistols outside our window last night. -_-
In a couple hours I’ll be sharing the first major details on how the hell Z. actually works, and what the differences between playing as zombies and survivors are. But first, I received a question from backer "jezorin" this morning that I’d like to address publicly:
"I think one of the more interesting things about a zombie apocalypse is the social implications. Will this play into the game? For example, a 'cat fight'who if played makes two female heroes miss a turn, or a 'girlfriend' who gives +1 to any male hero, or a 'sibling' who if they die, you are distracted for one turn. I always liked the romance substories in shows such as walking dead, and thought that would be a cool concept."
This is something I’ve thought of quite a bit, and the answer is a definite “yes.” Part of what choosing the zombie outbreak as the setting for our game allows us to do is play off of iconic horror film stereotypes. The Twisted Ankle trap card, for instance, where the zombie player can temporarily cripple a survivor unit. Someone always trips and falls while running from monsters in the movies, right? So we want to represent and enable those moments in our game.
But on a deeper level, we also want to have those character interactions and “relationships” between cards. The story mode is one way we’ll be able to do this a lot, not just in the cutscenes but then in the gameplay too, similar to how the backer suggested above. Perhaps a character is afraid of tight spaces, or is stunned when their father (a separate card) dies? There’s a million different ways it could work.
There’s a tabletop game called The Last Night on Earth by Flying Frog Productions, and the “Last Night on Earth” card actually causes a male and female character sharing the same tile to be...distracted....for one turn. I always liked how that was worked into the game, and will definitely explore that in Z.
ABOVE: I watched 28 Weeks Later again for like the 300th time, and there are lots of social implications in that movie: protecting your brother, being hunted by your infected father, deciding on fight or flight when faced with impossible odds and your own fear and mortality... just to name a few.
Off the top of my head, here’s an actual example of a card where the character’s personality can have a dynamic effect on the game:
A survivor “hero” card (common rarity). He’s an escaped convict with a bald head and scar on his face who deals extra damage with knives.
- He has the Murderer trait, so if he doesn’t kill a zombie unit within two turns, he will kill the nearest or weakest survivor instead. (He also has the Bloodlust trait which allows him to attack again if he kills someone, so he could end up going on a murder spree if you’re not careful.)
Jackknife is a little cheaper to summon to the field than most hero cards, but you also take a pretty heavy risk if you don’t constantly satiate his need to stab things.
Above: Joseph McKenna as One-Eyed Jack from The Long Kiss Goodnight (inspiration for “Jackknife”)
We will also have this “social link” (to steal a term from Persona) between cards in the RPG mode (aka “The Depths”), which is one of our stretch goals, and one of the modes I’m most excited about in Z. I don’t want to get ahead of myself since we’re still a long way from even reaching our original goal, but to re-answer the question: Yes, it’s something I have thought of for a long time, and there are lots of ways to work it into the game. Okay, I’m going to reply to everyone’s messages that you’ve sent me (keep em’ coming! I love talking with you all) and then push out those survivor and zombie posts.
Before I go, I thought you might like this: George Takei’s Facebook robot shared this today and it helped remind me why I wouldn’t rather be doing anything else than making Z. with a bunch of passionate gamers and zombie lovers like all of you:
pledged of $100,000 goal
seconds to go
Jun 14, 2012 - Jul 14, 2012
Pledge $1 or more
1 backer All gone!
Shipping is FREE to all U.S. backers! Please add $15 for all international shipping. There are no shipping costs for all-digital bundles. Limited Rewards are NOT included in other reward tiers, so get them while they last!Estimated delivery: Jul 2012
Pledge $15 or more
STARTER BUNDLE - A code for a DRM-free SPECIAL EDITION of the game with rare Kickstarter-exclusive cards. ONE profile is all you need to play across EVERY platform (PC, iOS, Facebook, etc.). +++ An all-access pass to the behind-the-scenes blog, videos, and galleries so you can see how the game is made!Estimated delivery: Dec 2012
Pledge $25 or more
UPGRADE BUNDLE - Upgrade to an Elite Survivor Starter Deck and Elite Zombie Starter Deck containing RARE hero and weapon cards +++ Free MP3 download for the official game soundtrack. +++ Special thanks in the credits and on the website. +++ Two Kickstarter-exclusive in-game cards (one zombie, one survivor). +++ ALL PREVIOUS REWARDS.Estimated delivery: Dec 2012
Pledge $50 or more
RETRO COLLECTOR - Choose a Collector’s Edition Retro Z. cart (survivor or zombie). +++ The Art From the End of the World concept art book (PDF). +++ Two more Kickstarter-exclusive in-game cards (a total of 4). +++ ALL PREVIOUS REWARDS.Estimated delivery: Sep 2012
Pledge $75 or more
VIP BUNDLE - FIVE EXTRA ELITE COPIES of the game to share with friends and family. +++ Tokens to download FIVE ELITE BOOSTER PACKS guaranteed to have AT LEAST TWO RARE CARDS EACH. Each token can be gifted individually. +++ Two more Kickstarter-exclusive in-game cards (a total of 6). +++ ALL PREVIOUS REWARDS.Estimated delivery: Dec 2012
Pledge $100 or more
293 backers Limited (707 of 1000 left)
ULTIMATE ALL-DIGITAL BUNDLE - HELP US REACH OUR GOAL WITH THIS LIMITED EARLY BIRD SPECIAL! +++ Start the game with all six Elite Edition Starter Packs for survivors and zombies (over 350 cards!) +++ Lifetime VIP pass - one Enhanced Booster Pack every week! +++ Five extra Elite Editions of the game to gift to anyone you want. +++ Tokens to download five Elite Booster Packs with at least two rares in each pack. +++ All 10 Kickstarter-exclusive rare cards. +++ The Golden Rocket Launcher and Golden Minigun weapons. +++ Permanently unlock any Filter type to use on all your cards. +++ PDF of the Art From the End of the World concept art book. +++ MP3 download of the official Z. soundtrack. +++ Exclusive access to closed beta for Z. and future Downward Viral games. +++ VIP access to the development forums and wiki. +++ A personal phone call from the dev team thanking you for your support!Estimated delivery: Dec 2012
Pledge $110 or more
PRODUCER - VIP access to the development forums and wiki where you can discuss and vote on game features, card types, and directly help us CREATE THE GAME THAT YOU WANT TO PLAY +++ A PERSONAL PHONE CALL from the dev team thanking you for your support. +++ Exclusive access to CLOSED BETAS for Z. and future Downward Viral games. +++ PRODUCER CREDIT in the game and on the website. +++ Two more Kickstarter-exclusive in-game cards (a total of 8). +++ ALL PREVIOUS REWARDS excluding the All-Digital Bundle (which is not included in any other rewards since it is limited).Estimated delivery: Dec 2012
Pledge $150 or more
RARE COLLECTOR - A Kickstarter-exclusive BOXED EDITION of Z., NUMBERED and SIGNED by the dev team. This rare collector’s edition will never be made again! Choose which Starter Decks you want included in your boxed set. +++ BOTH Survivor and Zombie retro carts. +++ Two more Kickstarter-exclusive in-game cards (INCLUDES ALL 10). +++ ALL PREVIOUS REWARDS.Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
Pledge $250 or more
20 backers Limited (80 of 100 left)
LIFETIME VIP - A lifetime VIP pass! You will get an ENHANCED BOOSTER PACK EVERY WEEK FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE! +++ New cards will be released at least once every month. Can be gifted. +++ ALL PREVIOUS REWARDS.Estimated delivery: Dec 2012
Pledge $500 or more
CREATOR - This is where things really start to get interesting! A weapon, item, location, or character will be named after you (you choose the card type and name you want). +++ A numbered and signed PHYSICAL copy of Art From the End of the World that will also include the item you created! +++ ALL PREVIOUS REWARDS.Estimated delivery: Sep 2012
Pledge $600 or more
GOLDEN COLLECTOR - A HAND-DRAWN IMAGE OF YOU as a survivor or zombie by one of our lead concept artists. +++ Choose an extremely limited Collector’s Edition Retro GOLDEN Z. cart (survivor or zombie). +++ Two Exclusive Weapon Cards: Golden Rocket Launcher and Golden Minigun. +++ ALL PREVIOUS REWARDS.Estimated delivery: Dec 2012
Pledge $2,500 or more
SURVIVOR - You or a friend/loved one will get to be a survivor in the game! Send in a photo of yourself and we’ll use it to create an awesome new survivor card through digital trickery! We will work with you beforehand to come up with a cool character concept. Can be gifted. +++ An OVERSIZED CARD OF YOURSELF, frameable! +++ Both golden retro Z. carts +++ ALL PREVIOUS REWARDS.Estimated delivery: Dec 2012
Pledge $5,000 or more
THE Z. SPECIAL - You will get to be BOTH A SURVIVOR AND A ZOMBIE. Our makeup/film team will TRAVEL TO YOU at a time/place of your choosing to TRANSFORM YOU and take your photos. We will work with you beforehand to come up with a cool character. Can be gifted. +++ A FRAMEABLE OVERSIZED CARD OF EACH OF YOUR CHARACTERS! +++ EXECUTIVE PRODUCER CREDIT in the game and on the website. +++ ALL PREVIOUS REWARDS.Estimated delivery: Dec 2012
Pledge $10,000 or more
VIDEO STAR - THE ULTIMATE Z. PACKAGE: YOU’LL BE CAST AS A RECURRING CHARACTER IN THE LIVE-ACTION SEQUENCES. You will have DIALOGUE and appear as a survivor in AT LEAST SIX EPISODES, plus have survivor and zombie cards made of you. +++ CREDIT as a cast member and EXECUTIVE PRODUCER. +++ ALL PREVIOUS REWARDS (note that this reward is NOT included in the Hometown Apocalypse tier).Estimated delivery: Dec 2012
Pledge $10,000 or more
2 backers Limited (3 of 5 left)
HOMETOWN APOCALYPSE - YOUR TOWN OR CITY WILL BE FEATURED AS AN IN-GAME LOCATION. Wage war in your own backyard! +++ At least 20 unique cards will be created to capture and represent local landmarks, willing participants, and more! +++ An UNCUT SHEET of your exclusive hometown cards, FRAMEABLE! +++ When the dev team visits to take pictures for cards and film your neighborhood, we’ll take you out to lunch/dinner and play a few games of Z. (or Halo, Dominion, minigolf, or whatever you want!). +++ EXECUTIVE PRODUCER CREDIT in the game and on the website. +++ ALL PREVIOUS REWARDS.Estimated delivery: Oct 2012