Undead Overlord Q&A

2013/10/11 17:28:46 +00:00 | Jonathan James

Undead Overlord is an upcoming zombie strategy game in development for the Windows, Mac, Linux, and iPad. Unlike many zombie games, you directly control a group of zombies and fight against the human resistance. We recently had a chance to conduct a Q&A with Cryptic Studios co-founder Cameron Petty to learn more about his latest venture:

What are some of the things that the zombies will be able to do? Can you also tell us about any special abilities?

Our zombies like to smash things up and chow down on people, mostly, and these guys can be really persistent in their hunt for tasty treats. And I will tell you right up front that stealth missions are *not* their specialty. :-) The current special ability for your basic Grunt zombie is a temporary, frenzied burst of speed. As a Mind (from Dimension Z, that is), you don’t have very fine control over your grunt zombies. You can direct them where to attack or move, to destroy property or break down doors… but not to open doors, or use weapons. When left to their own devices, they have only one urge: to devour flesh! Yum!

That having been said, some of our zombies are a bit more . . . untraditional. The back story gets into some twisted metaphysics that I won’t go into here, but suffice it to say that you wind up (as the player) combining dead bodies together along with a healthy sprinkling of inter-dimensional chaos in order to create the three crazed boss zombie mutations that you see in our trailer - Speed, Tank, and Brain.

Each of those boss zombies has their own special ability, also, which we’ll be revealing in our Kickstarter updates. The first is already up and spotlights the Tank Zombie, the bruiser of the bunch - his special ability, Stomp, works a lot like a small explosion, and is your basic area-of-effect explosive damage kind of thing. [update here]

One of my favorite bits is when Mind Control comes into the mix. I’ll give you one guess which boss zombie that pertains to . . . more on that later! :-)

They will be up against a variety of human forces. Can you tease some of the things that the humans will do to try and stop the zombie horde?

Humans are a resourceful bunch, frustrating as that is, and will make use of anything they can to survive. They’ll fight with fists, baseball bats, pistols, shotguns, assault rifles, grenades, and more. They’ll even lay traps and put up defenses like barricades and landmines.

Then again, they’ll also freak out and go running right into a zombie horde if they lose their squash due to too much chaos, or just curl up and wait to be eaten. I love it when they do that!

From what I understand, the game is currently in an alpha stage. Can you tell us how much of the game is done at this point?

We’ve come a long way already, but we’re not quite to what we’d call an alpha stage yet. We’ve built out a lot of the core gameplay, including much of the combat, controls, core AI, and of course… zombification! We’ve also gotten in loads of art, animation, and design.

There’s still quite a ways to go, though, including more level design, coding, polish . . . and, of course, tackling a bunch of bugs.

As far as the gore goes, are you holding back at all or will this be an M-rated game?

We want to do justice to zombies and fans of the undead. I can’t speak to a rating yet, but there will be gore! Grossing people out is a top priority. In the immortal words of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, “...buckets of blood, pouring out of people’s heads!” Of course, they were referring to John Wayne’s latest movie at the time, but, hey - you get the idea.

How are missions structured? Do you carry your zombie horde over from one mission to the next or do you have a new task/location each time?

As an Undead Overlord, it’s tempting to get attached to the members of one’s horde, but in the end, it’s always better for everyone involved if a certain degree of professional detachment is maintained. So while missions will tend to progress naturally from one to the next, you’ll typically start off with a new group of zombies (or just one - that’s often all it takes).

Just between you and me, though, we like the idea of zombies persisting across missions, and continue to throw around design ideas that might make that feasible. No promises, though.

Can you tell us about how the player will progress in the game? How many hours will the game take to complete and are there other options/modes that will extend the life of the game?

We’re planning on a few chapters in the saga to start out with, taking the player from starting out in a small town, moving in to the big city, and finally roaming an apocalyptic setting. We’re not certain yet how many hours this will take, but we want to make sure it’s a satisfying experience.

We’re also experimenting with other game modes for extra brain-munching fun and to extend the life of the game, such as control-point style missions where you’ll vie with humans over strategic positions and ultimately try to destroy each other’s stronghold. We may also release new missions over the life of the game. Finally, we know that the best way to extend the game is with competitive multiplayer - which we’d dearly love to do, as long as we can make sure to get the core game into the hands of players first. It’s one of our more ambitious Kickstarter stretch goals.

I see that it's planned to be available for tablets and the PC. Are there any plans for a console version?

Once we get Undead Overlord out there for our initial platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux, and iPad), we’ll gauge player response and consider ways to infect more systems. Other than going where players want to see the game most, we want to be careful to make sure the game still plays well and feels good.

Provided the project is funded, when do you plan to have the game released?

If funded, we’re planning on an early access release of the game-in-development in January for our Kickstarter backers, followed by a general release late next year.

Does the team have a specific zombie movie or zombie movies that they use for inspiration? What are some of your favorites?

Evil Dead 2. Re-animator. Return of the Living Dead. Zombieland. Shaun of the Dead. Fido. Slither.

Um, just to name a few . . . so many good zombie flicks! You can see that I’m referencing stuff that is all over-the-top, bordering on (or past) the line into abject silliness. We’re definitely not making a zombie simulator - we really just want to get weird and have fun with the whole idea.

Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?

I’d just like to share with you all one of the quotes we’ve featured on our Kickstarter page, from a web portal called The Vault via Google Translate, which I think really says it best: “Overlord Undead team is the bet… railroaded to a compendium of creatures battered against everything in their path.” Thanks a ton for being interested in the game - here’s hoping we can get this sucker kickstarted!


To learn more about Undead Overlord, check out the trailer below and visit: http://www.undeadoverlord.com/

"You are the horde! Raw, aggressive hunger - there's nothing like being a Zombie when you want to do some damage! Now you can control your own horde of zombies and lay waste to the tidy world that humans have created for themselves. Feast on their brains, grow, mutate, and gain incredible powers. Take over a small town (deputies are tasty!). Overwhelm the arriving SWAT units. Reduce a mighty city to rubble and feast on the remains of generals as their weapons lie smoldering. Mayhem has never tasted so good. JumpCore is excited to announce Undead Overlord, the world's tastiest Zombie Dominion RTS. Coming soon on both tablet and desktop platforms. Zoom into a world where destruction is the goal. Mindless zombies? Not when you are the controlling Mind! Haven't you always wanted to take over the world?"