Roam's Kickstarter page refers to the hordes of nasties as "vicious, flesh-eating monstrosities" and even though it's later confirmed that they mean 'zombies', I'm going to forgive the two-person team for using those most overused of enemies because the game looks absolutely superb. Zombies can be a useful device - a reason for enforced co-operation, bandit brutality, desperate survival and scavenging exploration - and Roam already appears to understand the intelligent application of unintelligent enemies. It's a procedurally generated, free-form survival game in which you can build, barricade, bargain and band together with friends. The pitch video is mighty.
That's an attractive proposition. The game is the work of artist Ryan Sharr, formerly of Gas Powered Games, and programmer Zach Barson, and the planned features contain just about everything I'd like to see in an urban zombie survival RPG. Those features include a procedurally generated world that becomes increasingly dangerous as time passes, with zombies mutating and bandits planning raids. There's also base management that doesn't rely on a fixed location, allowing the player to build a shelter on top of an office block or prop up a makeshift cabin in the woods.
Fifteen dollars is the minimum pledge to receive a copy of the game, which isn't due until this time next year, although a beta should be available 1-3 months before release.
The next batch of zombie games won't be about headshots, they will be about the emergent narrative possibilities thrown up by survival in a world gone to pot. That might involve the tension of DayZ, the inspired madness of Zomboid, or the group mechanics, development and management of Roam and Dead Nation - hopefully, all of the above. I'm dangerously close to being excited about zombies! It's like being seventeen again, when I'd happily watch something like Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue (warning: gore, rebellious attitudes toward the police, does not take place in Manchester) and believe I had spent my time wisely. Now, when does Resident Evil 6 come to PC?