“ZombiU” will be one of the key, marquee titles for the Wii U once it releases this coming Sunday and Ubisoft decided to explain why in this exclusive interview about the game.
“ZombiU” will be an extremely important title, not just for Ubisoft, but for Nintendo and the Wii U.
This game really has the chance to show off the dynamic and innovative features that will be coming from the Wii U, and being one of the first titles out for the system, Ubisoft wants to capitalize on that.
Ubisoft Montpellier Studios’ story design director, Gabrielle Shrager, took some time to speak with rootshed.com in regards to their upcoming zombie-thriller.
Shrager said the studio was amazed at all of the anticipation surrounding the game and attributed some of that to the absence of a great survival-horror title.
“In retrospect I guess people are celebrating the return of one of the industry’s best-loved genres –Survival Horror—sublimed by the seamless incorporation of the brand new GamePad to create a visceral, compelling and inimitable experience.
“That we discovered the GamePad’s potential as a tension-making machine seems almost like a given to us now. Why? Because thanks to the GamePad, we can divide your attention between two screens for the first time in console video games,” Shrager said.
She touched on the importance of creating a realistic post-apocalyptic experience for gamers in “ZombiU.”
“Counting bullets and worrying about when you’re going to find your next bite of food is a core design element of any survival experience.
“It’s both one of the more ‘generally assumed aspects’ as you say, and one of the most fundamental and complicated aspects of the game design system to balance correctly.
“When you get it right, it leaves players panting and crying for more, and yet exhilarated each time they survive an epic encounter with horror and death and overcome their own real fear—the one they’re experiencing at home in the security of their own homes,” Shrager said.
Shrager went on to say the Wii U GamePad adds another real-life dimension to the game that people have not experienced before.
“Just like in real life, you have to look down and rummage through your bug-out bag (backpack) to manipulate gear that you actually hold in your hands; all while keeping an eye to the surrounding dangers in real-time,” Shrager. “Thanks to the GamePad were able to generate tremendous tension and, hence reward, as you surpass yourself and overcome your fear with every single epic zombie encounter. “
Having experienced various hands-on demos with this game and the system, “ZombiU” really does provide a new aspect of realism and fear that you simply cannot bring to a game without the GamePad.
She talked about how the GamePad acts as your survival kit and provides the necessary tools players will need to survive the madness happening around them.
“By transforming the Wii U GamePad into the ultimate survival kit, we give players the tools to prepare and plan their survival moment-by-agonizing-moment.
“The GamePad helps players increase situational awareness and master environments in many ways.
“We can scan enemies and environments for vital supplies, snipe silently from a distance, visualize moving objects on the radar, consult mission objectives and pin personal objectives on our map, read survivor notes and story collectibles in our Notebook.
“By progressively upgrading our smart-map, weapons and skills, we may just live to see this apocalypse to its bitter end,” Shrager said.
Shrager said the characters in the game will also make a difference in the experience, as well as the “one bite and your dead” feature.
“I guess I should add that it also doesn’t hurt that we’ve got also got a modern horror story to tell with intriguing characters and a setting that makes particularly original use London’s grim and grisly history to weave our own myths.
“Also, there’s the “permadeath” mechanic of the game, which forces players to ask not IF but HOW LONG they will survive—a concept which is central to the experience of ‘ZombiU’ and underscores the inherent challenge (and the online leaderboards!).
“Knowing that one bite will kill their character and force them to continue the story with a whole new survivor really sets players on edge. It makes us think about both our fragility and about our intelligence—and the kinds of choices that can get us killed. It seems our will to survive is strong,” Shrager said.
She talked about how the GamePad may be able to change gaming’s landscape like the Wii Remote did.
“One of the most successful uses we make of the new GamePad came early on in the development of the game. Similar to how the Wii Remote changed the gaming landscape; the Wii U GamePad invites a new way of playing together.
“This time, it’s the additional screen offered by the GamePad that revolutionizes the way we play. It first inspired us to create the asymmetrical multiplayer modes of ‘ZombiU.’
“It was a bit later in the iterative design process that we hit on the potential for survival horror, the endless possibilities offered by the two screens for generating tension and even fear.
“But once the GamePad became our all-in-one survival kit, the features and narrative elements of the game evolved almost organically. Today, the GamePad is utterly indispensable to the experience of ‘ZombiU,'” Shrager said.
Multiplayer will be an innovative, interesting aspect to this game and will bring a new type of competition to gaming that has not been seen before.
“The Wii U allowed us to create an exhilarating experience that can be shared by a hardcore gamer and a more casual player-friend or family member, without the latter being completely outmatched. Unlike the campaign, which offers a solo survival-horror FPS experience, the ‘King of Zombies’ player uses the Wii U GamePad at a more relaxed pace.
“The gameplay is more about overall strategy than any gamer reflexes honed over years. So it’s more immediately accessible.
“Our multiplayer modes are also a bridge for new players to get into the game before they acquire the courage to face the infected hordes alone, while offering a more traditional first-person shooter experience using the Wii U Pro Controller or Wii Remote and Nunchuck.
“Even survival-horror fans will love blowing off some steam with a little running, gunning and friendly couch competition!” Shrager said.
She summed things up by saying the Wii U found Ubisoft more than vice versa would suggest, and they are thrilled the game is ready for release.
“It really feels to us like the WiiU chose us as much as we chose it.
“Call it serendipity, perhaps, but we somehow converged (after much iteration), on what felt like the essence of what Nintendo’s new system inspired in us—both with ‘ZombiU’s’ fun, competitive and strategic, asymmetric multiplayer modes and its tantalizing story-driven solo survival-horror thriller.
“It’s (‘ZombiU’) in the box! Thank goodness. It always feels a bit like giving birth except; the sleepless nights come before the baby arrives. Now ‘ZombiU’s’ fate lies in players’ hands. And the sleepless nights are theirs to survive!” Shrager said.
“ZombiU” will be available exclusively on the Wii U when the system debuts this coming Sunday, Nov. 18th.