The Dead Linger Coming To Steam With New Engine

By Nathan Grayson on September 24th, 2013 at 12:00 pm.

The dead just won’t go away. I’ve tried calling a re-exterminator, setting out traps with bait, asking them very nicely – everything. But still, they linger. I can’t complain too much, though. I mean, The Dead Linger really does have quite a lot going for it, what with its planet-sized sandbox of undead survival, fully interactable environments, and wrenches that are used not for wrench things but for merciless bopping. The only problem? It is a bit creaky and kind of entirely hideous. Or at least, it was. Fortunately, those lingering (and perhaps occasionally walking, and hopefully thriller-ing) dead are in for a major face-lift. Developer Sandswept has announced that alpha update 10 is coming to Steam Early Access, and it’ll be sporting a fresh new coat of sticky red paint to mark the occasion.

The milestone update‘s release is just around the corner, all set to lunge for your most succulent bits of clavicle on September 27th. The entire world’s been redone in Unity, making everything much easier on the eyes whether it’s an expansive, sun-spattered forest or a puking pile of reanimated flesh. If you’ve already bought into previous versions of the alpha, you’re all set. A code should arrive in your inbox in the coming days.

Everyone else, meanwhile, can grab Dead Linger on Steam for $19.99/£14.99. There’s also a four-pack option at $44.99/£29.99 if you have friends or – conversely – are incredibly lonely and want to enact what it might be like if you did have friends.

Now the usual disclaimer: I’m tired of zombie games blah blah blah but this one looks interesting blah. I feel like I say that about more zombie games than I don’t these days (see also Walking Dead, DayZ, Dying Light, Nether, Project Zomboid, etc, etc, etc), which is either a good thing or a sign that we desperately need some new themes because all the good ideas being used up on creaky old zombies. Maybe a little of column A and a little of column B? Oh well.

Who’s tried Dead Linger already? How are you getting on with it?

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30 Comments »

  1. Ergates_Antius says:

    Kind’a lingers joke in here somewhere.

  2. derbefrier says:

    Although I haven’t played it I have been following it closely for a while and it isn in my opinion, one of the more ambitious zombie survival games in developement. I think if they pull it of DayZ won’t have a chance but that’s only if they can make the game they have promised. I may have to pick this up but I have been waiting for something more feature complete

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    Gap Gen says:

    My brain has now become unable to distinguish any between any two games with the word “Dead” in the title.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      I’m struggling to remember what the word even means any more, it’s just a sound.

      Dead. Dead Dead. Deadead. Deadeadeadeadeadeadeadeadeadeadeadeadeadeadeadead.

    • Shuck says:

      My brain has become unable to retain the names of any of these zombie games, so I’m assuming they all have “dead” in the title. I read about one, think, “oh, the feature set is becoming really interesting now” then realize that it’s probably a different zombie game than the one I read about previously. There were a few that – I think – did sound interesting, but I’ll be damned if I’ll ever be able to figure out which ones those were…

      • The Random One says:

        There is at least one other game (maybe more?) that has an identical planned feature set as Dead Linger – humongous procedurally generated zombie apocalypse in which structures can be built and tore down. I remember that after watching the trailers there was one I thought of as “the good one”, but don’t ask me which one.

        • Shuck says:

          Yeah, it seems like the zombie games have a spectrum of overlapping feature sets that makes it hard to distinguish them, because they’re all trying to create a particular sort of experience and they have similar (lack of) resources available.

  4. Westmark says:

    The game as a whole sounds very interesting, but in my opinion it’s still not very pretty. I hope they rid the game of the general emptiness and flat textures.

    • Exuro says:

      They definitely will. It’s important to remember they’re trying to create a believable world that procedurally generates. Pretty sure they’re going to add a crapton of stuff to it.

      • Shuck says:

        Procedural content generation isn’t easy. It’s damn hard to do it right, in fact. If it weren’t, AAA studios would be using it for their content generation instead of having massive teams doing the work. (I’ve seen, first hand, AAA games that spent huge amounts of resources on procedural systems and still failed to make them work properly.) So they might pull it off, but just as easily might not. One really can’t make any assumptions.

  5. SickBrick says:

    Amateur graphics, no atmosphere.

    • Exuro says:

      Blah blah, Early Alpha, blah blah, focusing on features before graphics (the nerve!), blah.

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      Gap Gen says:

      But no-one else does linging quite to my liking. (I should probably stop being snarky and see how this turns out, of course).

  6. Exuro says:

    The game definitely has a lot going for it in terms of uniqueness of features and ideas. One important thing is that it’s supposed to be a zombie survival game, not a deathmatch survival game where the zombies are just kind of a mild annoyance.

    Obviously it’s nowhere near where it wants to be right now, and that really needs to be taken into consideration when making a judgement about it, but as someone who has followed it since before even DayZ came out, it’s been very interesting to watch it progress. Seeing what they have achieved thus far gives me every faith that if they stick with it, they’ll produce the product they’ve promised.

    One important thing to note is that while progress was steady, it wasn’t excessively quick up until about 4 months ago when they announced they’d be changing engines. They’d been building the entire engine from scratch up until that point, something which proved to be more time consuming than they’d hoped I think. They’ve spent the last 4 months porting the entire thing to Unity, but now that they’re using a pre-built engine rather than building one, progress should increase tenfold. I do think anyone even slightly intrigued by the idea should not be put off by what they see currently, and should keep an eye on the project.

  7. AlmostPalpable says:

    People keep saying it has a lot going for it and that it’s unique but I honestly don’t see anything original or anything interesting at all. How many survival horror zombie games are there? How many of them are eerily similar to this except some look a little better or a little to a lot worse?

    I say let people keep on pumping out zombie games because it keeps all of the unimaginative and talentless moron “developers” busy while real developers can keep on coming up with the actually original and “it has a lot going for it” stuff that actually has stuff going for it. Although I suppose even real developers seem to pump out loads of shite these days anyway. Oh well! I’ll go and get my cup of tea now.

    • Exuro says:

      Yes, but the difference is that the people saying it’s unique and has a lot going for it have actually at least made some kind of effort to either play it for themselves or find out what it’s proposed set of features are. You can have your little opinions, and even be incredibly rude about a bunch of indies who are just trying to make their (not to mention thousands of other peoples) dream game, but that doesn’t make you right. You can’t just watch a trailer showing off a new engine and decide that it’s the same as all the others.

      There are absolutely no other zombie survival games proposing the set of features that this one is, not a single one. There’s also not a single one that already has the freeform barricading system that this one has.

      You need to stop confusing “not something I’m interested in” with “unoriginal and uninteresting”. You certainly shouldn’t be calling a team of like 10 hardworking indies (who basically built an entire engine from scratch to support their game, before eventually caving and switching to Unity because of complaints from people like you) “talentless morons”. They’re doing good work.

    • Shuck says:

      Darn right. “Real” developers should be working on Generic Tolkien Fantasy Games, or maybe Space Marines, or Military Man Shooters, or…

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      Hell yeah, let all the talented developers work on the next tower defense game. Or the next MOBA. Or the next retro platformer. Or the next brown & grey shooter. Or the next…

  8. ZIGS says:

    I liked their jab at State of Decay not supporting mouse/kb at release

    • Baines says:

      An unfinished Early Access title takes a jab at another unfinished Early Access title for being an unfinished Early Access title.

      And haven’t people said that State of Decay has mouse+keyboard support, that it just isn’t official because it is just the engine defaults?

      • tk421242 says:

        Mouse and keyboard do indeed work with the current build of SoD on Steam. There is no key mapping or key layout built into the game so it was trial and error to determine functions. Really kind of a silly comment for them to put on their video especially since the two games really are quite different.

        SoD plays more like Dead Rising and vastly focuses on resource management and team management while Dead Linger has been nothing more then a tech demo the last few months. SoD always has a storyline while DL is just an open sandbox. I am happy to see they are using a new engine because things have been very rough in DL the last few times I booted it up to play so hopefully this will smooth some of the issues out.

      • Tssha says:

        It’s a good sign, because it indicates they’re fans too and they wouldn’t be making this game if they weren’t making the kind of game they want to play. They’re basically saying “we played this game too, but it wasn’t the game we’re making so we’re going to keep going on this one”.

  9. Stevostin says:

    OMG! Take that, Arma III !

  10. frightlever says:

    Remember when we were excited about Dead State? Lotta zombies floated under the bridge since then.

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    Chaz says:

    I bought into the alpha a couple of months or more back and despite it being in a very obvious, early in construction state of affairs, I actually found it to be a very tense and atmospheric game. It’s the only zombie game I’ve played so far that’s come really close to nailing that Romero Dawn of the Dead vibe. It’s still very early days for the game at the moment, but I’m looking forward to giving this new update a go. Hopefully things will only just keep getting better.

    The graphics might look a bit crude in screen shots, but when you’re playing it’s surprisingly atmospheric. The days and nights are long, with sunsets casting long shadows and dark, almost pitch black nights. The landscapes themselves are impressively vast and give you that real world feeling of scale. Sitting in a dark room in your bordered up house, staring out the window at the gloomy landscape waiting for the sun to come up, is a really eerie and tense experience. Likewise having to head into a town on a looting expedition usually ends up a fraught panicky mad dash as you’re chased by hordes of zombies, who batter down doors and come crashing through windows to get at you.

    But it’s still in early alpha though. So yeah, it’s buggy and it’s crude, but if they can pull off even half the stuff on their impressively long list of features, then in my mind this is looking to be the number one zombie survival game.

  12. hemmingjay says:

    I have had it since pre-order first became available and it has been rough. In fact it’s been a mess until recently and yes the graphics are painfully bad right now. The new graphics are not amazing but it’s such an immense improvement that we are all excited. I just hope that the random crashes are improved with this new engine.

    The game will certainly be fun but only time will tell if it has much value over the other options out there. For some reason, all of these zombie related games take much longer to shamble to life than comparable other games. Seriously, look at the progress of Day Z, Project Zomboid, this, etc.

  13. Shodex says:

    I think so far, the best survival game I’ve ever played was Neo Scavenger. And it isn’t even a zombie game.