Obsidian Veterans To Make Zombie RPG: “ZRPG”

By Kieron Gillen on August 7th, 2009 at 7:03 pm.

They better release some art soonish

When chatting to lord of the vampires Brian Mitsoda and valkyrie warrior Annie Carlson during arranging their Gaming Made Me their post-Obsidian plans, they mentioned they were doing an indie-game. Which I decided to post another time, when there was more info. This week, they announced they were called DoubleBear and would be making an Indie RPG using the Age of Decadence engine. Which I decided to post about another time, when there was more info. And then they started talking about what their game was on the forum, being a freeform RPG with a zombie theme. And I decided to post about another time – another time called RIGHT NOW. All the currently available details beneath the cut…

If you don’t know them as a lord of vampires or a valkyrie warrior, you’ll probably know Brian as a designer/writer for Vampire: Bloodlines (which we interviewed about here). Annie worked on NWN2 at Obsidian writing on Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir. They were clearly planning on working quietly for a bit, but ended up breaking cover yesterday…

Was hoping to save this for a rainy day, but it is cloudy here in Seattle today, so here we go. As the speculators have correctly guessed, yes, DoubleBear’s first game is indeed a Zombie RPG, which we have fondly referred to as a ZRPG internally. Before people start running in all kinds of directions with that, here’s what I will confirm:

-Set during the breakdown of society as emergence of zombies causes widespread panic and disorder.

-Slow, shambling zombies. Spreads like a virus/bite transmission. No, you are not a zombie, that would be stupid.

-Serious examination of a national crisis or natural disaster. Humans and a lack of order are a bigger threat than the undead. Think Hurricane Katrina, Children of Men, Dawn of the Dead NOT Resident Evil, Return of the Living Dead, zombie shooter-type games.

-Game is about survival. Scavenging resources, exploring the area, dealing with other survivors, and managing a “shelter” of sorts are the main focus of the game. More on this later.

-Game is open-ended. There are characters and events that could happen, but the story depends on where you go, what you do, and who you meet. Of course, there’s a lot more to this and we’ll go into more details as time goes on.

In other words, sounds a lot like Fallout with zombies. Or rather, more zombies.

As noted by the forum’s bhlaab , before the game was actually confirmed as a zombie RPG, Mitsoda did talk about some hypothetical ways a zombie RPG would be interesting

A zombie RPG could definitely hold a lot of potential. I think the best time frame to set it in is the period shortly after society starts to break down from the zombie outbreak. You’re not stuck in the “what’s going on?” phase of Night of the Living Dead, and you’re not so far out that most of the survivors have succumbed and the only people left are in isolated bunkers like Day of the Dead. Dawn of the Dead, I think, is a good place to start – there’s still quite a few people left, some pockets of law and organization, and people still have hope that someone will roll in and save them.

Some zombie discussions involve people discussing their “zombie plan”, which is their plan of attack should a zombie outbreak occur. Some people take these very seriously – way too seriously. I’ve seen a lot of them that involve “getting my family and friends in cars, hitting the Costco, and holding up in there until it blows over.” Well, that sounds ideal, but what about the fifty other people that thought of that? Seems like now you have other people AND zombies to contend with. Say you all come to an agreement about sharing the space – what about that one person that looks bit? They’re traveling with someone else – do you tell them, “sorry, you’ll have to leave your mom outside?” I think the thing that is interesting about the concept is the human factor. Zombies are slow and somewhat easy to dispatch, but humans might shoot at you. Zombies are predictable, humans aren’t.

I’m wondering what kinds of places seem like a safer bet than heading for the Costco or the mall or the military base. What are the “hidden” places that no one would think about looting, but hold enormous amounts of resources to help weather a zombie apocalypse. Some thoughts are:

Shipping containers/warehouses – Pro: There could be anything in there. Con: See Pro.
Farms – Pro: Most of them are set up to be self-sufficient, full of food. Con: And someone might still be living there.
Private Airfields – Pro: Most people don’t even know where they are and they have gas tanks. Con: There’s not much there outside of gas.
The Zoo – Pro: Some of the food is quite edible by humans, even if it’s gross. Con: Some of the animals may have gotten out.

I’m excited by this. I’ve been wanting a single-player zombie-themed survivalist RPG since the time I played Urban Dead. It’s a big job for a small indie team, but there’s all the potential in the world here. We’ll be watching it closely.

We also like the name “Doublebear”.

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133 Comments »

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  1. Lack_26 says:

    Sounds fun. I hope they make a good job of it.

  2. drewski says:

    Pfft, it’s just going to be Oblivion with guns.

  3. Jeremy says:

    And zombies.

  4. Vinraith says:

    What’s the status of Age of Decadence, anyway? It’s probably my most anticipated game of the year.

  5. yaster says:

    You obviously meant Age Of Decadence with guns, right?

  6. Kieron Gillen says:

    Vinrath: I’m sure Vic will turn up to talk about it shortly, but I was wondering myself. They said they’d be doing a combat demo in a few months at the start of the year.

    KG

  7. Alec Meer says:

    Our Endless Bear would totally defeat a mere DoubleBear.

  8. CMaster says:

    @KG – as in we’ll see the two developers fighting, with one pretending to be a zombie? Cos that would be awesome.

  9. Jim Rossignol says:

    This sounds awesome.

  10. jonfitt says:

    This description sounds like the best zombie game ever!

    The “shooting zombies with shotguns” part of the Zombie apocalypse seen in your ResEvil and L4D games is great fun, but the really interesting part is the long term survival discussions.

    Fallout 3 with settlement creation/management.

  11. Kieron Gillen says:

    We can only hope.

    Also: ENDLESS BEAR CANNOT BE DEFEATED.

    KG

  12. jonfitt says:

    Could it be defeated by a bear with a cannon that shoots out bears with cannons, who in turn shoot out bears with cannons…?

  13. Alec Meer says:

    Don’t be ridiculous.

  14. sfury says:

    ZOMG!!!

  15. Markoff Chaney says:

    I would posit up the Enviro-Bear 2000 to take down ENDLESS BEAR (and, come to think of it a double bear would probably be able to handle the gearshift and the gas pedal more admirably as well) but I don’t see how the environment can outlast ENDLESSNESS.

    On another note, Yay for ZRPG goodness!

  16. the affront says:

    Have to second Jim here: sounds awesome.

    I really hope the “shelter management” thing will involve constructing barricades, traps and escape routes and stuff like that. Also I want to be able to loot/sew a gilly suit and stealth it up, if it’s not purely urban setting – even parks would suffice. Imagine setting your base in, say, an overgrown central park NY (or comparable), digging tunnels, building lookouts in trees and crawling around in your gilly suit to loot supplies.
    DO IT!

  17. Markoff Chaney says:

    I forgot to add to the comment how the Enviro-Bear drives over the ENDLESS Bear. It still doesn’t make sense.

  18. CakeAddict says:

    This does sound very awesome, especially the managing a shelter part.
    If it’s done properly I can see this becoming quite a hit.

  19. Alaric says:

    I have no plans for a zombie apocalypse, but I do have detailed plans for an overall collapse of civilization and disintegration of society. I even have a team assembled with various skills.

  20. Gap Gen says:

    YOU HAVE EATEN 20 BRAINS. CONGRATULATIONS! YOU HAVE REACHED:
    LEVEL 2
    SHAMBLE SPEED +1
    LIMBS -1
    DAMPNESS +2
    CHOOSE ATTRIBUTES:
    – FAST ZOMBIE
    – FAT ZOMBIE
    – FART ZOMBIE
    – HAT ZOMBIE

  21. jonfitt says:

    @Alaric: But what if you’re on holiday and your team isn’t around? What if you’re stuck with an old lady, a Halo player, and a hemophiliac coward. Then what?

    You can only rely on yourself.

  22. skizelo says:

    I sure hope doublefinebear gets this out before we’re all heartily sick of zombies again (about half a year ago). Or, given the development time of rpgs, they wait to release it next resurgance around 2042.
    Still, huzzah rpgs! Huzzah!

  23. Serondal says:

    I think Infinity Cannon Bear could defeat Endless Bear, personally, since you say Cannons and Bears, it would just get out of hand and be uncontrollable and one bear, though Endless, could not handle all those bears and cannons.

  24. Alaric says:

    @jonfitt

    A collapse of civilization is not something that happens suddenly and overnight. It will be preceded by instability, etc. I’ll make sure not to go on any vacations then.

  25. Nerd Rage says:

    Awesome name, promising game. I like this studio.

  26. MrBejeebus says:

    I would quite like to see some rpg’s covering zombie apoc’s, although it does have limited scope…

  27. the affront says:

    But what about Endless Bear…. CAVALRY?
    Infinity Cannon Bear would be pretty much fucked, then, I reckon.

  28. radomaj says:

    This reminds me of a splendid game, which cannot be uncovered by the search bar, so I might as well post it here. It’s kinda RPG but not really. Fun game, anyhow. It’s about zombies and your shooting of them, of course.
    Survival Crisis Z:
    http://skasoftware.com/files/scz.exe

  29. Premium User Badge

    Stense says:

    Sounds fantastic, a good take on on the zompocalypse. I get a bit of a World War Z vibe from the description, which is a good thing I say.

  30. JonFitt says:

    @Alaric: Thqat not how the zombie outbreak will go though.
    One day you hear about monkey flu in China, think nothing of it and finish your sangria. The next morning you wake up and the barman looks like week old meat, all flights are cancelled and you’re stuck in Magaluf with an inflatable shark, and your flippy-floppies.

  31. the affront says:

    I’d totally play a zombie apocalypse game in which you start with only an inflatable shark.

  32. Taillefer says:

    This sounds pretty much exactly like the type of zombie game I wanted and almost started designing so I could start making it and give up after I realise I was being too ambitious for my meagre ability. Hurrah!

  33. Serondal says:

    My plan for any kind of random mass anarchy is pretty simply, kill everyone who does not submit to me instantly, take their loot and store it in a easily defendable place which I will find on the fly. Hold up there with my family and those that have given themselves over to my command until such a time a better leader comes along (to which I would give command, but he’d better be Alaric or some other well prepared survivalist or I’ll shoot him in the back) In the case of zombies my primary plan is to kill my wife and kids quickly and painlessly , burn their bodies so they can not rise from the dead, and then wander about until I starve or get eatten (I’m killing them to spare them the death of being torn apart limb from limb by the shambling dead)

  34. Tyshalle says:

    I’ve been looking forward to this game for years before I ever found out it existed (i.e. today). This is spectacular.

  35. JonFitt says:

    Plan A: Avoid Serondal.

  36. JonFitt says:

    Plan A supplemental: Avoid these people http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vorarephilia

  37. Pattom says:

    I agree completely with Jim. I don’t have anything to add besides that.

  38. Paul says:

    ZOMB AWESUM INSTNT BUI!

  39. Fumarole says:

    Hopefully the developers have read World War Z and Lucifer’s Hammer. I’d play the shit out of those books.

  40. Pattom says:

    Wait, yes I do. I also agree completely with JonFitt.

  41. Alaric says:

    @Serondal,

    Of course you will submit. That is IF we decide to accept you.

    My team is as follows:

    1) A weapons expert, who has an extensive collection and is about to start making his own ammo. He is also knowledgeable in many aspects of applied science. The type of person who actually remembers how to make nitroglycerin in field conditions.

    2) A pilot. (There is a small airport near us, and two large ones. Commandeering a plane in the event of civilization collapse will get us out of this cold climate into something more adequate.) He is also very knowledgeable in other areas.

    3) A doctor.

    4) A farmer. Also knows how to survive in the wilderness, build houses, furniture, etc., etc., etc. And unless civilization collapses within 3 years, will also be our nurse.

    5) A marksman. Excellent shot, former military, can operate most individual and some crew-served weapons. Knows how to torture people. Has very, Very, VERY flexible morals.

  42. JonFitt says:

    @Alaric That’s a fine bunch of people you’ve got lined up there. Personally I’d be worried that they haven’t got you down for category
    6) Bait

    ;-)

  43. redd says:

    bears, zombers, bloodlines… the planets are aligning

  44. Jad says:

    Is Endless Bear on fire? But like, cold fire? Cause that would be awesome.

    I’m excited about this game. While it does sound like Fallout, the concept got me thinking of a game was more party-based more strategic/tactical. Can you guide your rag-tag teams through the apocalypse? Recruiting multiple teams with competing agendas, fortifying certain locations to defend against the hordes, while embarking on quests that keep civilization going?

    I’ve been playing a whole bunch of Jagged Alliance 2 recently, so what I think I’m envisioning is a cross of that, particularly the strategic aspects of the game, with more story-based RPG-ness like Fallout. Dunno if that would work.

  45. Cooper says:

    Oh, wow.

    This sounds just, well, perfect. I’ve been wanting a proper survival-based zombie game for some time – a serious take on Urban Dead has been on a personal wish list. I have a real love of hard survival games, and anything with zombies is immediately better than anything else without. Just the idea of this makes me squee with the upmost glee…

  46. Alaric says:

    @JinFitt

    I’m not worried about that at all. I am one of these people. And if need be I can take out the other four. But they are all my friends, so I don’t think it’ll come to that.

  47. Jazmeister says:

    Why do people have zombie plans? What about Rossignocalypse-style fuel-death plans? I’m going to take the windfarms at dawn.

  48. MacBeth says:

    No-one has verified if DoubleBear is female, or possibly hemaphrodite. Horace and DoubleBear might get it on, thus producing DoubleInfiniteBearCubs… then where would we be?

    Also, this game sounds like the game I’ve wanted to play for ages and ages and ages. DO WANT.