News, Q&A Review 110

Q&A: Art Style And More

And just like that, we’re back to it being Thursday — a full week since we made our set of big announcements. Time flies when you’re having fun! As promised, I’ve scouted around the web and put together a brand new Big List of Questions. Since this batch was so big, I decided split it into two parts.

Today, we’ll be covering general questions about Class3 and design. Read on to get all of the meaty details.

Stephane LAbbe asks in an article comment: “I’ve read that guns making noise will affect gameplay. Is this true?”

Absolutely. Zombie canon proves that the undead are attracted to noise and movement, and we’re not about to mess with that expectation. Each round fired is going to make a LOT of noise, so you can expect to attract all sorts of unwanted attention when you choose to use a firearm.

We want you to think about to how you engage enemies based on your personal strategy and the moment-to-moment situations you find yourself in. Are you up to your neck in a tightly-packed pile of zombies? You may want to risk gunfire to quickly drop as many of them as you can. Or are you in a heavily-infested area where it may make more sense to pull out a melee weapon and silently take out smaller groups, guerrilla-style? It’s up to you, but if you make the wrong choice…well, you may just need to get out of there and reevaluate your decision.

As we’ve mentioned before, the focus of game is on survival — not simply standing in one spot farming zombies. You may be able to hold your own for a while, but you’re still one person. And there are a WHOLE lot more of them…

James Westwood asks in an article comment: “I noticed the reference to ‘screamers’ in a recent article. Does this mean that zombies will have different ‘classes’?”

Just like we intend to have both fast and slow zombies, it’s likely that we’ll have other recognizable variants too. A screamer is just what it sounds like: a zombie who is likely to make loud noises that will attract other zombies.

Introducing a variety of different zombies will allow us to create interesting combat situations. In the case of our friend the screamer, if you see one of those guys in a group, you’d better take them out first, or you’ll find yourself in a bad spot pretty quickly.

For those of you concerned about zombies with jetpacks or laser-beam eyes or other crazy stuff like that, know that the guys here have a pretty grounded view of what zombies are. We’ll push our own boundaries a bit if it will make the game more fun, but we don’t think you can take any random monster, slap a rotting flesh texture on it and call it a zombie. Any special types we have will still feel like zombies.

KALLUM666 asks in an article comment: “Are you making it so the only way to kill a zombie is to shoot it in the head?”

While headshots and decapitation (remove the head…destroy the brain) are the surest way to drop any zed, there will probably be some other…creative…ways to get the job done, too. I’d imagine that blowing a zombie up or cutting them into pieces may also be good ways to put a damper on their obsession for eating brains.

HybridPara from Joystiq asks: “If it has a big ol’ open world, will Class3 have multiplayer co-op?”

(Note from the future: As of mid-2012, we have to step back from this. Class3 will not have co-op mode at launch. The explanation is part of the Q&A here.)

Allowing you to play with other people is definitely something we’re going to support! There’s nothing more fun than sitting around, geeking out with your friends about how you’d survive if you woke up one morning and realized that the the people stumbling around outside weren’t just looking for coffee.

Our goal is to take that conversation and actually let you play it out in our world. As Jeff mentions in his Rude Q&A, we plan for Class3 to allow 1-2 people to play together over Xbox LIVE or together on the same screen.
Of course, Class4 will allow for thousands of players to run around simultaneously in a much larger server-hosted world.

Mephster from MMOZed asks: “Why not put the concept art into the game just like Borderlands does?”

To get a good answer for this question, I went and chatted with our art director, Doug Williams. Here’s what he had to say:

I love Borderlands, from the great cover all the way down to their ground tiles — it’s polished, cohesive, and has a great style that works really well for their world.

Initially, I had a hard time choosing what I wanted Class3 to look like. At the time, I was making a lot of art that had sharp angles and an almost cartoony look (like the image to the right), and almost made a push for this style. Ultimately though, I realized that I never envisioned this game looking like that, and it seemed more like I was trying to be different rather than follow what my heart was telling me.

I’m hoping to capture a Roger Deakins look to our world, with characters that are fairly realistic, but sit just outside of the uncanny valley. They can view it from their house, but hopefully they don’t enter it. I think that in the end, this will make for a really immersive world for players. If it feels like home, it’s easier to imagine it being home, and that makes it all the more unsettling.

Erik asks in an article comment: “Some zombie games are focused on fun rather than the scare of the zombie apocalypse. Is your game going to be scary?”

It’s too soon to give details about the story of the world, but it’s safe to say that we don’t intend for the game to be overly comical. It’s about survival, and trying to stay alive when an overwhelming number of reanimated dead people are trying to kill you and eat your meaty parts [not necessarily in that order] is more scary than silly.

This isn’t to say that we won’t add any humor to the world, though. If you carefully check out Doug’s concepts, you’ll often spot fun references in signs and location names (these aren’t final, but they give you the idea that we’re not a bunch of stiffs over here). Also, humanity probably wouldn’t be able to survive long under constant, extreme stress if there wasn’t some form of respite in the world. Even if it’s subtle, humor can make Really Bad Shit seem more bearable.

Kat asks in an article comment: “Will we be seeing female characters? Ones who…er…for lack of better words [will] be dressed for a zombie apocalypse?”

ABSOLUTELY! Just like men, there will be plenty of ladies fighting for their lives out there, too. While it’s a little early to go into detail about characters, know without a doubt that we believe that women are equally as capable as men in our post-apocalyptic world. You’re probably not going to see a bunch of unarmed, bikini-clad chicks prancing around, but you will see ones with bad-ass boots and rifles knocking zombie heads off of zombie shoulders.

Dan asks in an article comment: “Will [Class3] be an open sandbox landscape like Fallout 3? Or will it be more of a linear path of cooperative play from safe haven to safe haven a la Left 4 Dead?”

Class3 plays like a sandbox game. We don’t lock you into an area and tell you where to go and what to do. When we use the term “open world game” we are talking about freedom of decision making and goal setting. We’re talking about NOT being strictly channeled through the world or being forced down a linear path. There will be Big Things going on in the world — even an unfolding story — but it will always be up to you to choose what you want to do and when and how you want to do it.

Many readers ask: “Will the game be in first or third person?”

The game will be in third person. This was a big decision for us and not something we chose lightly. Both first and third perspectives definitely have their strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately, for us, we wanted to pick the right perspective for not just shooting but also melee combat and world interaction. There is a nice sense of panic you can get being surrounded by zombies in 1st-person perspective, but 3rd-person is better for making those moments playable.

There will be plenty of shooting in the game (and we’ve put a lot of work into making tuning our 3rd-person shooting to feel awesome). Melee combat and stealth are also huge elements of the game, and 3rd-person was the right choice for them.

Creating a great 1st-person or 3rd-person experience is about more than just the camera position. There are a lot of touches and design choices that go into doing things right so that they’re awesome — not just functional. Are there some games that can support both? Sure. Are there many games that are better off as one or the other? Yes, and ours is included.

Many of you have asked: “How do I get one of those sweet custom pictures next to my name when I comment on your site?”

As you’ve probably noticed, when you comment on any of our articles, your post has an avatar next to it. By default, this is a brain in a jar. While brains in jars ARE pretty awesome, getting a customized pic in there is even cooler. Here’s how you do it:

Our site uses a universal avatar service called Gravatar. To set up your own Gravatar, head over to their site and click the “get your Gravatar today” button. Enter the same email address you use to post on our site, and follow the steps from there.

Once you’re all set up, every time you post a comment, your custom avatar will show up next to your name.

That’s a wrap…for now! Keep an eye on the site tomorrow for our follow-up Q&A, which will focus on Class4 questions and more design details. Also remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitterfor the most up-to-date news alerts!

Stay classy, survivors.


(Edit: For easy access, I added the link to our follow-up Q&A. Oh, look. I did it again. Go check it out!)

  1. Researcher: Joemama


    i cannot wait for this game!!! keep up the good work!!!

    • Researcher: urban angrybear

      is this gana be a first person shooter game or a third or what ever can somone tell me this cause it seems like a real awsome game but i wana know if it is or not

    • Researcher: Emily

      Urban, the game will be third person. Check out the second to last question in this article to read more.

    • Researcher: William White
      Date Recorded: June 1, 2011 at 2:09 pm

      umm….when is this game supposed to come out, and on what consoles?

    • Researcher: Manuel
      Date Recorded: August 6, 2011 at 2:17 pm

      On Xbox360 they don’t know when.

  2. Researcher: Josh

    HOw long will the time span between Class3 and Calss4 be? While running around with one friend is fun, being able to play with all my friends (who can’t wait for this game sounds 100 times better!

  3. Researcher: Gabrielo

    hmm, interesting, a good dose of info here.

  4. Researcher: Samuraininja

    I love that you’re making two different games and hope both will be as awesome as I think they will! Good job so far, can’t wait for either to come out even though it will be a while

  5. Researcher: Errant

    I’m loving what little I’ve heard so far. Sound decisions all around. I think I’d have preferred first person, but I’m looking forward to being proven wrong.

    I don’t think death has really been discussed, but I know I’ve been thinking hard about it when it comes to Class4. On the one hand, you don’t want the penalties to be so stiff that when you die it’s so devastating you want to just turn the 360 off and never play again, but it needs to have enough gravity to keep people from running screaming into every cluster of zombies they see over and over again. They’re not afraid. These abominations want to devour you; you should fear them.

  6. Researcher: GJF26

    Will there be areas in this game that you and other survivors could clear of zombies, fortify and upgrade, maybe have computers to go collect ammo and things like that? Sort of like a town that you pave with the bodies of zombies.

  7. Researcher: Ruther Mass

    For years, since the very first day I can remember. My Family and I always sat down and talked about the upcoming zombie apocalypse and how we would survive it. We’ve created blueprints of our home, we’ve scouted out possible points of intrests where we can run for safety, and we’ve all taken classes at the gun range to learn how to shoot. You once spoke of a saying “Monsoon in Airzona” Well we are from Arizona and we now use that term when it comes to our plans. Now you might call us Crazy or even “Unstable” but the reality of it is… we are both those things!

    Heh we know the infection such as that might never happen but we enjoy preparing anyway. Zombies is what always brought my family and friends together where I live. Now, you are making the dream come to reality with this wonderful game.

    What I love about zombies isn’t the fact that I can kill something without getting in trouble. What I love about them is when they bring people together and just talk about means of survival for hours and hours on in. Now, the people at Undead labs is creating a world where you can answer that infamous question: “What will you do when the time comes?”

    Please Undead Labs, you are creating a game that may never be forgotten by the mass. A game that will possibly create a cult like WoW did. Please bring this game to shelves and please have this game be beyond Epic

    -Ruther Mass (Aka Jesse Waite)

    • Researcher: Emily

      This is really awesome, Ruther! I’m glad that what we’re doing speaks to you in such a personal way.

      We’re right there with you — I think everyone here has had those same “what would you do” debates with friends and family. It’s fun to see how zombies (of all things) can bring people together :)

      Thanks again for the support!

    • Researcher: KuroYuki

      Hahah, im kinda the same ruther.

      I plan for zombie outbreaks, Epidemics, Financial Collapse, Multiple types of war and even a flood.

      The biggest problem I got with zombie outbreaks is the fact that you expect them all to be adults from the movies and such, but in reality some zombie kid of 4-9 years old like in dawn of the dead or maybe an infected baby might be the biggest danger since you raise your firearm to be at head level when you round corners.

      Worst thing would be if animals would be affected tough. killer crows or killers dogs or killer deer like in some zombie survival stories are just too much to survive without a stocked government bunker :P

  8. Researcher: Helljumper4

    I’m really looking forward to all this,will there be things like choice of gear and clothing to..maybe armor or just military grade protection to help keep you “Mostly” together..or mabye jackets and such for the elements of the seasons like winter as they had in “Te walking dad” winter season being the toughest..anyways as for the armor,I understand it would probably have to be things that would exist in present day or at least year or two away..but nothing like Cyber suits or whatever as that be almost way out there…

    • Researcher: Chris

      I was reading some of your older posts and decided to reply with some ideas that I thought of but It wouldn’t let me post them so I will just post it here haha. For the voice chat and im just throwing my opinion out there, So I am not really sure on the concept or challenges that you face with voice chat. But an idea that I had and im not sure if it has been mentioned or anything but when you approach a new town or area and you are walking through the deserted streets looking at broken down buildings maybe when your at this point of entering a new town and your on main street you can press (lets say RB button) this gives your regular voice(meaning you don’t have to actually yell into the mic) to you, but to everyone else depending on their distance from you can hear your player yelling, if anyone is still alive. So if someone is a couple blocks away with their mic on they might here a faint yelling in the background and cant quite make it out so they start to move towards it carefully, quietly, and they hear what is being said and can meet up with you or inform you of their hideout. But of course when using this button you increase the likelihood of being attacked by a horde and making your presence known

    • Researcher: Chris

      didnt mean to post under helljumper4 just saw reply and was eager to post haha

  9. Researcher: lee

    will there be gun customization??

  10. Researcher: Tank Howland

    I would like to know if this game will have character customization.

    • Researcher: UltimateGameGorilla

      I hope it does. Character customization adds a lot to immersing yourself into the game. Even if it is minimal, I would still enjoy it.

    • Researcher: Dave

      Of course it will, it’s an MMO. Can you imagine a world full of clones?

    • Researcher: agentWred

      Well Class3 is not an MMO, so it might not. It will only have 1 or 2 players, so it doesn’t need to be. Personally, its a less important aspect of the game, so I’d rather get something else stuck into class3, like weapon customization or tagging (i dont even know why). It’ll be in Class4 for sure, and that’s all that matters.

    • Researcher: Simone from Italy

      This is a dream…i cant wait for this game.
      I dream for my all life for a game like this..
      Hope you do a big game and respect the all part…
      You need to mark the game in a WoW style, just more real and survival :)
      I hope for a good game :) Cant wait

    • Researcher: uzi

      Will there be fireworks or other things like that you can find to distract or lead zombies away? Will there be tools like a shovel or axe?is there custom characters and clothes?