Remember that zombie film with Brad Pitt that came out in 2013? Well, six years after it hit cinemas it’s finally getting a video game spinoff.
The World War Z video game adaptation has an April 16 release date on PS4, Xbox One and PC.
While it’s not directly associated with the movie – so no Brad Pitt, I’m afraid – it does have links to the novel by Max Brooks.
With a shedload of zombies, four person co-op and bucketloads of blood, guts and gore, it also has A LOT in common with the Left 4 Dead series.
But with Left 4 Dead 3 looking increasingly unlikely, World War Z might just be the unofficial sequel we’ve been waiting for.
If you’ve played Left 4 Dead then you’ll have a pretty good idea about what to expect from World War Z.
From the special zombies and safe houses, to the wave-based set-pieces and character classes, World War Z doesn’t stray far from the Left 4 Dead formula.
But while Left 4 Dead wasn’t exactly short of zombies to mow down, World War Z takes it to another level.
It’s hardly surprising if you’ve seen the movie and remember THAT scene with the zombies and the wall.
Indeed, it was the iconic scene set in Jerusalem that set the wheels in motion for the World War Z video game.
“Our CEO Matt Karch got an exclusive look at the movie before it was released,” explains creative director Oliver Hollis-Leick. “As soon as he saw those swarms coming over Jerusalem wall, he had the idea, which is kind of ridiculous, because to put that in a game is unbelievably difficult.
“He went Paramount and said, ‘look I want to make this game with all of the swarms you see in the movie, what do you think?’
“They loved the idea, so he went back to the team and we started work on creating our own engine that would allow us to support upwards of 500 enemies on screen at the same time, without compromising graphics.”
The zombie swarm set-pieces showcase World War Z at its very best. The sight of hundreds of zombies clawing their way up the walls, frantically climbing over each other and crashing down to the floor is a hugely impressive spectacle, not that you have long to admire it all when the odds are so heavily stacked against you.
Unsurprisingly, getting the swarms right was the hardest part of making World War Z.
“The swarms were a real beast to get working,” Hollis-Leick continues. “The way those swarms work is that they look like, on first glance, that they’re an effect and are all on a pre-programmed trajectory, but actually, it’s the AI system.
“You can think of them a bit like a school of piranha fish. They sense the food, they know where the player is, and they’ll do anything to get to that player.
“They’re capable of pyramiding up on top of each other and even throwing themselves off buildings. They’ll move as a network until they encounter the players, and then they’ll break off and start attacking as individuals.”
With some of the best zombie set-pieces since Left 4 Dead, a surprisingly competent selection of player-vs-player-vs-zombie modes and new missions and locations launching as DLC, World War Z might be one of the surprise packages of the year.
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