When Killer Freaks from Outer Space for Wii U was shown at E3 2011, some may have thought that Ubisoft had produced one of the more intriguing teasers for the system. It was a new IP with strange looking aliens that the player could shoot with impunity: it pushed some buttons.
This year we've learned that ZombiU, itself one of the most interesting titles set for the the Wii U launch period, had evolved from and ultimately replaced Killer Freaks. After some anguished looks amongst the staff on E3 duty and Nintendo Life HQ, we wondered how a shooter with strange looking aliens had become a Zombie-infested survival-horror title. Thankfully, Ubisoft senior vice president of sales and marketing Tony Key has spoken to IGN to explain how the freaks were created, and why they were replaced.
We look at Killer Freaks as more of a tech demo. They came up with this idea. It was an easy execution for them to use the Rabbids technology that they had built to create the Rabbids, the wire frames, to create these very quickly, these little goofy creatures. And they brought it to us as a tech demo for the Wii U saying ‘this is what we can do with the game.’ And we all thought ‘wow, that’s really cool. We should show that to Nintendo.
And before you know it, it’s here at E3 as a way to demonstrate the new system. And as time goes by, we start to see that there’s maybe bigger and better ideas around this actual game design, and these freaks slowly started turning into zombies because zombies are much more compelling than these stupid little rats we had running around, whatever they were.
The team really decided that they wanted to take a more serious tone. And it was going to be hard to do with the baddies that we had designed. It’s the same studio that made Rabbids, and their devs kept looking at it and going ‘these things need to be zombies. All I see is an ugly Rabbid when I look at this thing.
So there you have it, the dream of blasting away strange, ugly rabbids in a Wii U shooter appears to be over. Still, our first impressions of Zombi U suggest that it could be one to watch.