Lovers of uncooked mushrooms may remember The Wild Eight, an extra-tough multiplayer survival game set in a frozen wasteland following a plane crash. I thought it wasn’t bad, even if your hunger bar drained faster than a broken bathtub. Since its release however, there seems to have been a split among its creators. It’s not clear what happened but the result is that the snowy game has been sold off to its publisher Hype Train Digital. In the meantime, the original developers, Fntastic, are off to make a new game, called Dead Dozen.
It’s set in a frozen wasteland.
It’s more multiplayer horror than straight-up survival, however. Twelve people are trapped in an abandoned Soviet research base in Siberia, where there will be zombies and shooting. Here’s the single paragraph describing the game’s premise:
"DEAD DOZEN is a Multiplayer Action Horror Game where you turn into a ghoul after your death as a human. Loot, barricade and cooperate when you play as a Survivor or infiltrate, infect and eat your former human friends when you play as a Ghoul."
It’s interesting, although this kind of “zombie mode” game has been around for yonks, of course. The first time I encountered it was in Halo 2, where it was hacked together using childish shouts, limited weapons and a system of honour whereby you’d swap from red to green team if killed by a “zombie”. It’s an idea that has certainly been around. One of The Wild Eight’s original ideas included having a nasty person hiding among the survivors like a cold Cylon, so I’d be curious to see if this was something Dead Dozen also had in mind.
As for what happened among the creators of the previous game, it’s unclear. The news was briefly mentioned the at the bottom of an October update, which laid out new animals and detailed a roadmap of the Wild Eight’s final stages. “The team will continue to further optimize the game’s performance and work on creating new content for the fans of the game,” said Hype Train.
A small bit of text at the bottom of Dead Dozen’s FAQ gives a little more insight (but not much) citing "internal conflict":
"What happened to The Wild Eight?
We sold The Wild Eight to our publisher. This decision was very hard for us, because our team was hoping to always evolve the game. The Wild Eight is our debut project, it brought us first success and valuable experience. But nevertheless, because of internal conflict with partners within the company, we had to sell the project to the publisher, who is now successfully supporting the project. We will always love The Wild Eight, it's in our hearts."
We’ll know more about Dead Dozen soon, as it’s scheduled to release a single-map alpha on January 8 next year. The Wild Eight, meanwhile, is due to shiver out of early access in February. Since I’ve played, it has added an easy mode.