“The epidemic” or “The death of the worldbuilding”

How zombies are ruining gamedev.


“Zombie game” as a setting (zombie game) is what ruins most of the worldbuilding nowadays.  Zombies are awfully lazy man’s tool of world building. It’s modern deus ex machina of the plays, but in videogames.

Here are the two good examples – “Project Zomboid” and and “7 days to die”. Both are zombie-apocalypse-centric sandboxes. And both will drive you crazy by tedium.  It all comes down to constant tension and it’s eventual replacement by boredom and tedium.
What these games don’t realize (as well as many others) that when this is an interactive medium – zombies stop being an object a constant dread and start being rpg slimes.
Imagine that you had a dungeon crawler/rpg but all the enemies were slimes. They are not particularly hard to kill (unless there is literally dozens of them around), they don’t bring any satisfaction, the loot is shit. Now multiply it by 10 and you have the modern “Zombie game” setting.

And it goes not only into mechanics but also – into worldbuilding. They don’t require mental capacity to construct a setting. Not even stereotypical killer robots. “The stereotype” plague of second decade of 21 century…and second half of first decade as well.

Now, of course there are exceptions to this rule – look at Rebuild to example – that’s a prime example of the game which uses zombies as setting but doesn’t ruin it’s gameplay with them. Because it’s a city reclamation game. Or – look at how infectonator (original one) did it where the objective is to actual infect and kill people rather than suvive that. It’s fresh, creative and interesting.

But outside of rare exception – zombie games ruin creative medium of gamedev as a whole.