ZombiU is arguably the highest-profile third-party title on Wii U at launch, dominating the system's demo areas at trade shows and even getting its own console bundle in Europe. Despite the occasional bug and glitch, the builds that we've seen are also promising, with a potential level of immersion and challenge that should satisfy enthusiastic gamers.
A major feature in ZombiU will be the sizeable game world, playing into expectations of being in a zombie-infested London. One of the biggest challenges within this environment is ensuring survival, clearly, with the task of finding and hanging onto important items and weapons of paramount importance. In an interview with el33tonline.com, ZombiU's associate producer Nicolas Robin explains the principles behind this structure and the Nintendo franchise that inspired it.
And regarding the structure of the world we were really inspired by Metroid. So basically you will gain some abilities or new tools that you will discover in the game. There are very open areas that we show but you are not able to go there. Most of the interaction that the player does with the environments is done with the Wii U GamePad. As we said, to balance the immersion in the game we didn’t want the guy to lockpick the door by pressing a button twenty times. We didn’t want to have just a button or Quick Time Event stuff. We had this huge technology of a touchpad in the middle of the two sticks so we really wanted to use that. So when you want to lockpick a door you really lockpick the door with the Wii U GamePad. When you want to enter a code you really put the code in and if you miss then you put it in a few times. When you want to manage your inventory and backpack you manage it on this side. When you want to loot a box you will loot with your Wii U GamePad and when you want to scan you use it this way.
Another important aspect reinforced by Robin was the level of difficulty, with inspiration unsurprisingly sought from the gruelling Dark Souls and Demon Souls on Xbox 360 and PS3.
Dark Souls, Demon’s Souls inspired our online features and yes, it inspired us more in terms of making the challenge demanding – difficult but fair. And at the end when you achieve the thing you say, “Whew!” This feeling in videogames that we used to have when we were young. In modern videogames we have cool emotions also but we kind of miss sometimes the emotion of, “Okay, I tried many times, it was difficult, but I have a really good memory of that moment that I will tell to the other ones and share with the other ones”, and that’s really what we wanted to communicate with the game. We had this type of conversation around Dark Souls and Demon’s Souls with Mounir. And yes, basically that’s more where Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls inspired us is to make a fair challenge but a difficult one at the end of which the player will say, “Okay, you see the gas station, I shot the flare…” We had a lot of conversations with the playtesters and lots of very memorable moments.
For gamers that complain of modern games being too easy and accommodating, those words are surely music to their ears. ZombiU doesn't need much more hype than it's already received, but it seems that the sources of inspiration are at least strong places to start.
What do you think? Does this interview make you want the game more, or does the possibility of a large game world, tough level of difficulty and being snacked on by zombies seem like too much hard work? Let us know in the comments below.