After the recent re-unveiling of Dead Island, it got me thinking more and more about zombies in video games. Do we really need any more games, have they been done to death and are we in need of some sort of revelation for the genre as a whole? The short answer to this is a resounding "yes", but it's a little more complicated than that.
As long have games have been around, so have zombies. Ever since George Romero's Dawn of the Dead there has been a cult following for everything zombie. There have been plenty of zombie games and movies ever since Romero's masterpiece, from Zombies Ate My Neighbors all the way to Left 4 Dead, the genre has seen quite a few variations on the formula. Full blown action to tense horror, we've had it all. Or so we like to think.
When have we ever had a true zombie horror game, one that takes itself seriously but not to the point where it's humorous like Resident Evil? The answer to this question is never. We have never had a serious, drama filled zombie game. There have definitely been attempts but they've never emphasized on the characters and what this sort of situation will do to them, we've definitely had movies and even a TV series that have explored what happens to humans when an outside threat as radical as zombies is brought into the mix, and it works really well. If we can get a TV series and a bunch of movies with a serious zombie theme then why can't we have a game that can do the same thing?
The zombie genre needs reinventing for it to stay relevant in gaming and if there is one game that will be able to do this it'll be Dead Island. It promises an emotional story with true horror, you must survive with 3 of your friends on an open world tropical resort with nothing more than a few items that you'll find laying around the island to defend yourself with. This is the type of zombie game I have been dreaming of ever since I watched Night of the Living Dead. I love zombies as much as the next guy but I'm sick of these macho action games where zombies can be plowed down with a few shots, that's just plain boring.
So yeah we do need more zombies but only if the genre is willing to reinvent itself. The next time you tell someone about Dead Island and they say "oh Jesus not another zombie game", do me a favour and punch them in the arm. This won't be just another zombie game and at this point in time all I can say is "please be good", I have high hopes for this.