Lately the concept of the zombie has really taken over gaming. It has been a slow burn of course there were dozens of zombie games even before Capcom mad the Biohazard/Resident Evil series, but we see how that the zombie has become a “stock” character in a lot of games from shooters to causal party games.
I have a new concept for a zombie that is different from the typical slow, fast or monstrous that we have seen in past media. I think my new concept which is a mix of some other “horror” memes and tropes has merit, but you tell me what you think
My idea is the following what if there were a sickness where the outcome is not shambling zombies, but rather passionless sociopath. When you become ill you lose all sense of right or wrong, love, and emotion; but you retain your intellect, your knowledge, and even the ability to dissemble (lie or hide the truth). You can know you are infected, but you do no care. Once infected you don’t just slaughter everyone but rather YOU COULD. It might takes days, weeks or even months before you kill, but you will and it could be anyone or anything.
Now why is this interesting? I think it is interesting because it increases the paranoia and at the same time gives no “out” for lacking humanity. A slow zombie or a fast zombie is easy to spot. A monster zombie is even easier to spot. But the smart zombie/psychopath that could be anyone so everyone is a potential monster. But, as I said this new monster has reason, so you can talk to this psychopath monster. The infected person is passionless, but is still very human it is like sitting across from Dr. Hannibal Lecter…if Dr. Lecter were you neighbor, dentist, or sister/brother.
Now there always has to be a twist, right? Well, my twist is an oldie but a goodie. Only children between 3 and 10 get infected. In my concept is after you are a toddler and become a child you hormone levels change, and then when you become a teen your hormone levels change again. The infection can only strike when you are between those ages at the right hormone level. Once puberty hits your get a high fever that lasts for a week, and if you survive that, you that emotional parts of your brain turn back on. Do you see where we are going here…you can save them…but do you risk saving your child…do you risk someone else trying to save their child? See that is where the tension is in this idea. You have a smart, methodical killer that could kill anyone at a whim…but they are human in so many ways..and can be saved. And, (there is always an AND), because it is a specific group - what would be done to save kids, what harebrained schemes would people try to protect themselves from kids or would be tried to reverse the disease. Communities without children? Communities where children are imprisoned? Communities where people scarified ANYONE ELSE to the whims of their psychopathic children?
What do you do when your ability to love and want to protect children is at odds with the disease that makes something that CANNOT love and does not care? What happens when the enemy is hidden, but hidden in something you want to protect more than yourself? What happens when you see a sly smile on the face of a child slowly hiding a knife it took from the dinner table…do you kill the child before the cold chill down you back takes over your ability to act? How do you live never fully trusting a child, or always having some doubt? What is a family like, even a 'post apocalypse' family life, when children are something to be respected and feared like a poisonous snake or a wild lion?