Can There Be Too Many Zombie Sandboxes?

Nope.

In fact, the default answer to any question of “Can there be too many X games” is No.

A game does not magically get worse because there are a lot of similar titles on the market; you might get tired of playing the same theme/setting multiple times in a row, but whose fault is that? I will take a thoroughly unoriginal knockoff game that is actually fun over the groundbreaking original snoozefest any day. The key is that each otherwise copycat game that comes after needs to be better than the one before. Do that, and you’re golden in my book.

I bring all this up because I just read Keen’s brief write-up of a zombie sandbox pseudo-MMO called The War Z. Not to be confused with World War Z, the bestselling 2006 book, of course. Or DayZ, the zombie sandbox mod that caused me to purchase ArmaII during the most recent Steam sale. Or The Dead Linger, the fairly recent zombie sandbox pseudo-MMO Kickstarter that I originally thought was what Keen was talking about. Or Dead Island, of which I have logged 30 hours playing in the last 10 days. Or Left 4 Dead 2. Or…

…well, there have been a lot of zombie games, eh? Technically even Minecraft.

But you know what? Zombies still have some life in them. If these upcoming games are actually fun, I say bring them on. I just signed up for The War Z’s beta, so we’ll see how that goes.

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Posted on July 28, 2012, in Commentary and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. The only problem I see is if the effort that’s going into projects that are very similar is taking resources away from potential projects that could appeal to a different demographic. If the developers in question would have made either a Zombie MMO or no MMO at all then it’s not a problem. If they would have preferred to make a pirate MMO but they perceive that a Zombie MMO would sell better so they made that instead then yes, there’s a problem.

    I think zombies are incredibly boring. It completely mystifies me why anyone would choose them as a theme or setting over about a gazillion other options. There is virtually no chance that I would play any zombie sandbox MMO. The presence of zombies would remove any interest I might otherwise have. That appears to be a minority view, though. Apparently zombies sell.

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    • I typically don’t put much stock in potentialities. After all, even if that zombie MMO could have been a pirate MMO, it could also be a worse game overall too. Maybe in the mystical long-view it is better to have varied and spectacular failures for the overall health of the genre as opposed to incrementally good derivatives… but I cannot play the long-view.

      As for zombies themselves, I understand your point; the zombie setting definitely seems to railroad plots/enemies/etc along a well-worn track. I find elves and dwarves impossibly generic after ~15 years of them, but they can at least do more things than fight final battles in pharmaceutical/military bases. That being said, few non-zombie games are capable of inspiring actual dread in me, even if the boars/treants/cultists do the same sort of things.

      Plus, I dig post-apoc settings, which automatically includes all zombie games.

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  2. Don’t forget Urban Dead (http://urbandead.com).

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