The Unliving Dead: Division 9

By Kieron Gillen on January 27th, 2010 at 9:00 pm.

Not sure how we missed this one. In an earlier comment thread, Man Raised By Puffins mentioned Irrational had put up footage of a game which never quite made it on their blog. In short, it’s basically them taking their SWAT experience and approach and applying it to a Zombie game. Frankly, we’d have been all over this. Footage follows…

Dave Tosser says: I think it’s a shame Irrational are no longer 2k Boston. It’s good when studios are brought into the larger brand of a publisher. The individuality of creative entities only confuses the public and detracts from corporate synergy. I hope the 2k shareholders aren’t too disappointed in their sub-optimally performing investment.

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76 Comments »

  1. jsutcliffe says:

    That does look almost exactly like SWAT 4 with zombies. (edit: Ah, I see that’s the basic point. It helps to read the article)
    I need a new SWAT game. Someone should make one. :(

    • Premium User Badge

      Chaz says:

      Yeah it does indeed look just like Swat 4 but with added zombies. You can see why the game never made the final cut though as it looks like it could quickly get quite dull and repetative.

    • Dodo says:

      It is the same level as in swat 4.

  2. EthZee says:

    We need a Zombie SWAT game. Or just Supernatural SWAT, like that thingy, Quinns (irritating though he is, he sure has some good ideas sometimes) suggested.

    http://videosgames.wordpress.com/2009/11/02/huntsman/

  3. Morti says:

    ok, what’s the deal with Dave Tosser? where did this meme come from?

    also, the game looks rather nice…. Then again, too much zombie stuff lately.

    • Bonedwarf says:

      Some tosser named Gerald on Gamespy whoring himself to Ubisoft and how their new “ONLINE ALL THE TIME” DRM has “benefits” and basically being an absolute slut to Ubi and drinking their jism.

    • Vitamin Powered says:

      @Bonedwarf

      Um, yes, pretty much. I would have worded it more politely, but I cannot argue with your honesty.

    • Joinn says:

      Well, what do you expect from someone with the last name Tosser? :)

    • Joinn says:

      *sigh* seriously needs an edit function

      But that should have said:
      “What do you expect of someone name _Gerald_” :)

      Like the subtle name change though ^^

  4. Bonedwarf says:

    Enjoying the Dave Tosser stuff after reading that Ubi Gerald bullshit on Gamespy. What a fucking shill.

    As for this… Well NOW we don’t need more zombie games. But back when it was made it would probably have been original.

  5. Paul_M says:

    Their distracto-flashbang jobby is cooler than the pipebomb in left4dead.

  6. Unaco says:

    I loaned my SWAT4 disc to a friend. If I hadn’t, I’d maybe load it up. Fantastic game. This does look like it could have been fun as well… with a bit of work. It does indeed just look like SWAT 4 with Zombies… in fact, that level looks surprisingly like the ‘Victory Imports Auto Centre’ level from SWAT4, with the outside area added.

    • Lack_26 says:

      Yeah, it’s exactly the same (with the outside bit added). But SWAT 4 was creepy enough as it was, I don’t think I could survive the addition of zombies.

  7. sbs says:

    The Zombie-animations were really scary, you can see the dead body having all kinds of spasms as if it’s fighting being moved

  8. Weylund says:

    That… actually looks super-awesome. From the fact that you could be infected and that guns weren’t lying around every corner, to the suspenseful “rooms without zombies” that the Valve games notably lack, it looked like it could have been great fun.

    Parts of it looked like shit, though. Grenades, the fact that the team needed to be ordered to “fall in” every five feet, the crappy crappy voice acting (“Noooooooooo! You baaaaaastaaaaards!”)… I’d say “finish it, but make it slightly less shitty”.

    I wonder what led to it being dropped?

    • rargphlam says:

      Ken Levine said that when they pitched it to the publisher, they literally said “zombies? heh, who would want to play a game about zombies?” This was before the whole zombie rush.

    • Dominic White says:

      Even at the time, they could have just jumped up and down and pointed vigorously at the Resident Evil series, which was just going from strength to strength in popularity.

      Then again, if I’m not mistaken this is the same publisher that thought that Irrational would work best without their studio name anymore.

    • Theblazeuk says:

      There are plenty of rooms without Zombies in L4D depending on how the Director is feeling. Its just if you stick aroudn in them, prepare to meet the Horde…

      It always freaks me out when there are NO zombies around in those games. Quiet….too quiet.

  9. autogunner says:

    dudes it was a concept thrown together in about a week stop ragging on the gameplay features!

    this would b=have been epic if brought to release

  10. Davee says:

    Wow! It could have been a mod for SWAT4 tho. The later half of that map they showed was a reused SWAT4 map ^^

    I would have played it nonetheless. Scary music too! Epic.

  11. MacBeth says:

    “Swat 4 Dead” then, obviously…

    The SWAT model – slow, considered, careful movement with occasional moments of violence – would work well with slow zombies, not so much with fast ones. I think this could still work… someone needs to reanimate the concept and make it live again!

    • EthZee says:

      I don’t know, I think it would just be more EXTREME with fast zombies. Or maybe not ‘fast’ zombies, per se; maybe have zombies that can move at normal people speeds. Then add normal people to the mix. Instant tension!

    • Don says:

      Yep, whilst the zombies/infected of L4D work well in the context of a fast action game they aren’t particularly scary, there’s something about the slow, remorseless shuffling towards you of the classic Romero zombie that makes them creepier. Also in L4D if you get taken down by the horde it’s usually so fast you don’t have time to think about it, whilst being boxed in by slow zombies with ammo low and every shot critical gives you time to get worried about how/if you’re going to get out of this one. Somebody should definitely do a reboot of the slow zombie shooter, time for it to stagger slowly into the limelight.

  12. Heliosicle says:

    It’s just a crappy pre production thing showing gameplay etc

  13. Premium User Badge

    HermitUK says:

    You’d have to kick yourself a bit that you essentially had L4D in production before it came out.

  14. Nighthood says:

    I have to say, the whole Barry Tosser thing is very Brookeresque, to the point where I think it’s the sort of thing he’d have on his shows. (Charlie Brookeresque, obviously)

  15. Sam A. says:

    I want a Freedom Force arcade cabinet. they should have made that in real life, too.

  16. Shadrach says:

    I like how they’re the slow shambling kind of zombies and not the manic l4d run-at-you 100kph type.

    • Ven says:

      Slow shambling zombies are far too easy to kill. Valve pulled a good move by making them fast, or else L4D would be a shitty ass game, and we all know Valve don’t make shitty ass games.

    • plugmonkey says:

      As someone else has already pointed out, L4D is a fast paced shooter, so the fast zombies work.

      I still think a slower paced, limited resource, tactical survival horror like this would work really well with slow zombies.

  17. Larington says:

    This had potential, but naturally it takes a clever chap to spot that potential, instead of being too busy trying to work out how to get the word synergy into a sentence to pay any attention to potential.

    • Unaco says:

      What about a synergy between the sort of person who can spot that potential, and work the word synergy into a sentence (twice)?

      I have been thinking on this a little since my last comment, and yes, it definitely has/had potential. A slower, more tactical and thoughtful L4D… but still with the mad, frantic moments when they’re pouring in from everywhere.

    • Bhazor says:

      According to their podcast they had found a publisher willing to fund it. But this was just as 2K were looking to buy them up so obviously they couldn’t sell themselves to one publisher whilst working for another.

  18. Snords says:

    .

  19. destroy.all.monsters says:

    Finally Mr. Tosser spews my favorite word to hate: synergy!

  20. The Walker says:

    When did Ira Glass start working for Irrational?

  21. bla says:

    Oh man at this point I’m just viewing articles I don’t even care about just to scroll down and see what Mr Tosser has to say!

  22. hoff says:

    Division 9 announcement as “one of their favorite unreleased product” + rumors about Irrational working on a new XCom game Ken Levine calls one of his favorite games of all time + confirmation that their next game will be unlike anything they’ve done before …

    Division 9 + Aliens instead of zombies = A new gaming decade of awesomeness triggered by the return of Irrational, makers of SS2, creating a proper sequel to XCom with never before seen gameplay, strategic depth and atmosphere. Pray, people!

  23. Tim says:

    Of course a smart, slow-paced zombie game wouldn’t get published. Left 4 Dead 2 may bring a welcome dose of teamplay into zombie games, but it’s not that scary. Come on… the game features chainsaws and pintle mounter miniguns. It’s not exactly survival oriented. As much as I love Left 4 Dead, it doesn’t live up to the what I want from a horror game. It’s a fun action game is all.

    This game sounds like what FEAR and Jericho wanted to be. Let’s face it, the majority of FEAR was just a normal(albeit pretty) shooter with J-Horror ambiance stamped onto it. Gag me. Jericho was… Well… It was Jericho.

    “Tactical” horror doesn’t need to suck.

  24. Ed says:

    This looks pretty good, although the action doesn’t look that frantic (clear lines of sight and plenty of warning for all attacks), but it is a rough demo after all. SWAT 4 was a creepy game in any case, when you knew that death could be waiting round the next corner, and some of the locations fostered a sense of unease as well.

    Shame they didn’t get to push on this concept further.

  25. sbs says:

    what

    edit: ugh

  26. Thiefsie says:

    I like slow zombies so much more than next gen FAST zombies! This game would have been fun…

  27. fam says:

    Slow zombies are not “too easy to kill”.

    Its a failure of imagination.

    Reduce the amount of ammo lying around (seriously how much munitions would there be in an apocalypse)
    Increase zombie hardyness (if you go by the having to destroy the brain to kill rule)
    Increase zombies ability to kill.

    In l4d, you can have dozens of zombies swarming around you and they do very little damage, and you can swat them off. In the zombie movie cannon, even one zombie in nibbling distances is very dangerous, let alone a swarm.

    Slow zombies actually allows for more interesting pacing, in the romero esque fashion.

    A few shamblers aren’t a threat, they’re even comical to a degree in their helplessness, but eventually they mass up into a horrific finale, pushing the survivors to breaking point.

    Shambler makes a better metaphor, slow, but unrelenting, inevitable and unavoidable.

    Fast zombie is just meh.

    Fast zombies in a shuffler world can actually be frightening (see res evil OH GOD ITS GETTING UP AGAIN!)

    • fam says:

      motherfucking REPLY FAILURE!

      that was directed at Ven

    • Lilliput King says:

      I’m guessing they’re handled differently here, though. Or, were planned to be.

      Notice the ‘Status: Not infected” below player names.

  28. Noc says:

    I like the part where the guy throws a grenade at a zombie and knocks it over.

    Best part I think.

  29. poop says:

    i love the pvt hudson style guy who is in a constant state of freaking out in that vid

  30. army of none says:

    God… they move… so… slow… The players, that is, not the zombies. Painfully so. I don’t think I could play this.

    • Lilliput King says:

      I imagine they could move faster. There are two speeds in SWAT 4, and they’re moving at the slower one, for whatever reason.

  31. jamie144@gmail.com says:

    Slow zombies could work if theyre harder to kill like headshots only or they just keep getting up. If there are loads of them blocking your route and youve got limited ammo/resources. Valve wanted a insant fun twitch game but I think a more tactical group survival adventure would be the frickin shazam. Never played zombie fortress or whatever or killing zone but l4d’s constant shooting gets a bit dull.

    • jamie144@gmail.com says:

      yeah mine was meant at ven too. What an idiotic thing to think that slow zombies dont work. Ever played zombie panic?

  32. Sarlix says:

    Slow zombies are worse. You let your guard down because you think there so slow you have all the time in the world. But before for you know it Bam! there’s 50 of them chewing on your earlobe. Stay vigilant people!

  33. destroy.all.monsters says:

    This is a game I would like to buy, that’s for sure.

  34. Theblazeuk says:

    Has anyone actually gone through to the blog page?

    The pitch for the game makes it clear that it wouldn’t just be zombies, it’d be a range of “unknown supernatural enemies”, including some with “abilities never seen before” in tactical FPS like well, wall walking.

    It also includes stuff like shapeshifting enemies blending in with Civvies, which I think would be quite cool.

    The idea of ‘supernatural SWAT’ makes more sense than Zombie Swat. A variety of enemies to fight, civilians to evacuate, protect or who could be contaminated, mind controlled or whatever could be quite cool.

    Frankly that would be a great Delta Green videogame. I would need somethign faster than SWAT though, if not L4D fast.

  35. Navagon says:

    I have to agree with the others. Another SWAT game would be very welcome. Especially with better AI and more realistic rules.

    Watching your team get wasted one by one in SWAT 4 because they insist on negotiating with a crazed gunman. Even after they’d shot down one of their team and before even using non-lethal weapons was just… sad.

    Still, if done right, I’d love to see a fifth addition to the series. Just without the Buddhist team mates okay, Irrational?

    As for this game, it’s hard to see a place for it in today’s market as there’s been an explosion in similar titles. But back in 2006 this could have led the way for team based zombie survival games. Especially if they had kept in the context menu orders, included barricading options and other omissions by Valve.

  36. l1ddl3monkey says:

    Tom Clancy’s: Rainbow 4 Left 6 Dead – Omega Corpse Apocalypse

  37. Rei Onryou says:

    My favourite parts were the doors being bashed. The doors seemed solid and you didn’t know when the zombies would break through, but you knew they would. The tension of waiting for the inevitable worked great. Until the helicopter at the end.

    Perhaps Irrational are trying to drum up interest in the idea so that they can actually make it now?

  38. Premium User Badge

    KindredPhantom says:

    Doesn’t look too bad. It looks more like a mod than a full retail game. Also how slow the character walks would annoy me and the fact you have to keep telling your group to “group up”.

  39. sinister agent says:

    I thought SWAT 4 was tense enough as it was, to be honest. Trying to intimidate zombies into dropping their weapons would just be too far.