Zombie game from the perspective of the zombie?


#1

Hi there! I’m somewhat new to the forum and definitely new to posting on it, but I had a question. I was playing @JimD 's new demo for Zombie Exodus: Safe Haven and a particular scene brought up old memories of reading the novel Warm Bodies several years ago because I had planned on seeing the movie when it came out. In addition to that, I had only recently binged all of iZombie. Those two premises combined, I’ve been pondering the thought of how zombie psychology works.

The idea of cognizant zombies has obviously been explored, such as in the examples given, so I guess I’m hoping to find any rpg I can where I can experience that kind of story for myself. And if one doesn’t exist, maybe I’ll even attempt to create my own (not that I wanna get anyone’s hopes up, such an endeavor would take at least a year and I doubt I’d ever even finish it anyway). Also, each time I’ve played the original Zombie Exodus so far, I played as a scientist who agonizingly explored zombie biology and how the virus works. What I’m more interested in looking into, story-/game-wise is how such a virus would affect the brain. Not that I’m planning on setting this story, were I to successfully write it, in the same world as ZE, so whatever virus I cook up would by no means be biologically identical to virus Zeta.

Come to think of it, the closest recollection I have to something like what I’m looking for was the game your character agonizes over in Creatures Such As We, which is probably called Creatures Such As We as well. But if you’ve played that CoG, you know the game, the main one you’re playing in real life, is focused on romance and, unfortunately, I find games centered around romance kinda boring. I crave a more impactful objective in my CoGs, or any rpg for that matter (i.e. kill zombies, kill the virus, save your friend, kill zombies in the process of saving your friend, etc. Of course, by the time I saved Jaime in Safe Haven, I had realized I wanted my character to be in love with him so…). Sure, I’ll approach the romantic angle w/ any available character that gauges my interest, but I need there to be more going on. And yet I complain when the author doesn’t give me enough smut to satisfy once I’ve approached that relationship. What can I say, I’m demanding. Or perhaps not, considering what I identify as “smut” may be the two romantically involved characters being cute or flirting or something.

Anyway, I was just wondering if/where I could find such a game where I can play a zombie not 100% focused on hunting and acquiring sustenance (or from the living perspective, us-stenance), or if anyone would be interested in such a game. Ok, I’ll get going now.

  • Aliya

#2

I’ve read one book with a zombie as a protagonist, however the protagonist being a zombie is a large spoiler for the book. But that’s The Girl With All the Gifts and it’s to be a movie. I thought it was an interesting take on the genre and I’d definitely suggest reading it if you haven’t.

I’d first question why use the Zombie Exodus world and not your own?

Secondly, I’ve not played such a game. I’m not sure if there is one. With so many specialised requirements I think you’d need to write it yourself, and I’ve no doubt there’d be a great deal of interest.


#3

I agree with @FairyGodfeather, make your game your own! Sure Zombie Exodus is pretty good but you’d be a lot better off designing a new world, especially since the MC is a zombie not a survivor, so doesn’t really have to worry about crafting defenses or… surviving I guess.

Also, were you going to say outright that the character is a zombie, or reveal it towards the end?(or in game)


#4

I’ve actually contemplated a game like that. Where it starts as a human vs zombie path, but if you make certain decisions you can become a zombie and turn on your former friends and family. At that point I was thinking of it being a lot of your characters own moral decisions conflicting inside between the human and zombie selves.

The game itself is barely even past the prologue and is just a side project so don’t get your hopes up on that front.

As for games with the protaganist as a zombie… I don’t know any unfortunately.


#5

I think it also allows you for far more freedom to tailoring your zombie infection to your own needs.

So you can have a slow-developing virus that gradually takes over as the protagonist loses their humanity, while desperately trying to find a cure. You can have one that antibiotics take care of initially but then the bacteria grows resistant. Or a virus, that starts relatively harmless, only affecting the young and the old, before it mutates in a way which makes it deadly to all.

Me, if I was doing an outbreak, I’d tack it onto the food health scares we’ve had in the UK. What with the horse-meat scandal, and also BSE, and the foot and mouth outbreaks I remember. And further back, we’d a city here that was quarantined in the 1960s due to contaminated meat. Anyone living in the UK during the BSE outbreak still can’t give blood in America. It’s things like that that get me musing on “what if zombies.”

Lab of the Dead, which I love, has you as a scientist searching for a zombie cure my experimenting upon Zombies.


#6

Doesn’t the whole concept of a zombie revolve around lack of free will and eating humans? Most zombie games say that you should head shot zombies and not talk them into submission. If zombies had free will, most would choose not to eat humans since they were humans a little while ago (like vegetarian beastboy) and that takes the horror and urgency out of the genre. I’m not sure how a choice game without free will can work out.


#7

It completely depends on the type of zombie. Some seem to be dumb others smarter you even can find ones where they are controlled by their hunger for flesh then after feeding their personality comes back briefly until they are hungry again.


#8

All zombies aren’t equal, and there’s so many different ways you can have an outbreak, and that it can progress.

You can have the psychological horror of slowly transforming into a zombie, having this disease spreading through your body and your thoughts getting more and more zombie-like, your wounds no longer healing, losing the ability to sleep. You’ve got to find a way to delay the progress, or perhaps even cure it, but at what cost? Maybe you invent a treatment to slow down the progress, but in doing so you lose the chance to take a cure If you ever develop one, so you might save the world, but at the cost of your own life.

I was just reminded that American Gods has a zombie character too, who’s a reanimated corpse, with all the decaying problems that come with that, but who doesn’t lack for free will, even if they do desperately want to be alive, properly alive, again. Or even the movie Death Becomes Her, you could say they’re technically zombies, and while that’d be completely the wrong tone for a serious game, it does still show certain problems of being dead. :slight_smile:

You could just start reading https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zombie there’s more ideas in there.

Zombies don’t need to lack free will though. They can be every bit as varied as vampires are. :slight_smile: (In movies like the Omega Man, they are very zombie/vampire-esque people). And there are different ways to portray that horror and urgency.


#9

Dunno if a game like that exists, but I’d also like to see something like that someday.
The movie/book “Warm Bodies” plays with that concept too. It’s basically Romeo and Juliet if Romeo is a zombie and Juliet is a badass zombie-hunter. Sort of. Worth a watch if you haven’t seen it yet since it’s an interesting take at zombies (and Romeo and Juliet), but I have heard that the book has more information than the movie.


#10

Just a quick note: the OP is not in fact planning to use the ZE world as the setting for their game, were they successfully to write it. :slight_smile:


#11

I’m not sure really, this is a very new idea. But I’ve thought of multiple ways your character’s infection might come about and what would happen in relation to the character’s friends and family/the survivors they live with or know, unless you decide to isolate the character even before infection. I wish I had a more concrete plan to share, but here are my thoughts:

  • player gets scratched somewhere they can hide it. This scenario is inspired by iZombie, so as long as the player is fed well enough, their “predatory instincts” will be kept under control. How or even if you acquire those brains is up to you, also whether you eat human or animal brains, or anything you can get. Depending on the player’s choice of company they keep, if any, it’s up to you who you tell and how you go about it.
  • Another idea: you’re infected, in a way you can’t hide (probably not a fatal injury but it’s obvious) and at least one person is there to witness it. If a friend, they’ll try all they can to heal your immediate wound and help keep your secret. If an enemy, they’ll have no reason to help you, obviously, and you could try to eliminate them… or not. If it’s someone you just know but they’re not friend nor foe, they may just run off.
  • My point is that infection will occur very early on. What I’m thinking is, in the prologue, you start out a living human, maybe running from some undead, or maybe it’s pre-apocalypse (like several months or even a year before) and it’s entirely unexpected. But I don’t wanna extract all significant plot points from iZombie.
  • Like I said, if I were to write this story, it wouldn’t take place in the ZE universe, but the author did give me some good ideas. Such as, where you live and your current occupation/age will take part in how you become infected. There will of course be a point at which you establish your skill set. The infection will heighten some and lower others, but you’ll get a chance to build some back up to a degree, eventually.

That’s all I’ve got brewing so far. This response is very much a brainstorm, but I hope I answered your question and if not, let me know.


#12

Hay I’ve watched iZombie-- I get what you mean-- basically less zombie and more human, more normal wjen is fed brains, more Zombie when starved.
I think that that (English*) would be a pretty good premise, but more of the uncontrollable zombie moments when in danger to add drama.

And don’t forget that if we know we’re a zombie that we’d have a pretty lonely life-- zombies don’t really communicat and humans hate you.

Although if it’s very similar to iZombie then you could just hunt in pack of sentinent zombies-- just don’t eat mentally ill people’s brains (if you’re going for the whole ‘eat brain, get memories’ stuff)

*I had had and example about English and the word had had had fit; had had not been used I think that that would’ve sufficed.


#13

I don’t think I’d add the “eat brains, get memories” part to it. At least not in the sense of having that’s-so-Raven-esque flashbacks. The reason that’s important in iZombie is to move the crime-solving plot along, but this isn’t a crime-solving story so that won’t be necessary. What I might do is keep the part where you pick up the idiosyncrasies and ‘quirks’ of the brains you eat, and/or make the brains cause dreams that “bring to light” some facts/aspects of your victims’ lives, but in vague ways. So in reality it’s not much different from iZombie anyway.

What I wanted to do in addition is allow you to choose your character’s debilitations, if they have any. I really liked that the author of ZE: Safe Haven added that option because not only did it add a unique difficulty to the game, but it felt more honest to who I am and how the apocalypse would perhaps worsen or even help me cope w/ these debilitations. I would add a wider range of options for those, though. Like one would be “addiction”, which would ask you to what, giving several further options to specify (alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, heroine, etc.). Same set up for mental illnesses and disabilities, learning and physical disabilities/chronic illnesses. Like for me, one I’d choose is ADHD, which would lower the equivalent of a “focus” skill. At the start of zompoc, perhaps I’d take medication, stretch out the doses, etc, keeping my focus at a good level. I’d ofc eventually run out, lowering that skill once again. Why I want this in a game, maybe one day my game is because, when playing Safe Haven, my mental health score was at 99% basically the entire time, which is not at all accurate to who I am.

Also, going off of the idea that going w/o brains for too long will induce “full-on zombie-mode” (as referred to in iZombie), the longer you don’t feed, your mental health depletes, leading you to that full-on zombie, predatory state. And you’d think your physical health would deplete as well, and it will, until full-on zombie-mode kicks in. That’s when you’re temporarily given crazy-powerful strength/agility/combat ability, and lose any other form of thought and self-control unless it relates to you getting food ASAP. Basically, eat the goddamn brain when you can. Also, a less primal form of z-mode is triggered when you suffer any normally-fatal injury for a living person, but is harmless to an immortal being such as yourself. Unless, of course, you suffer a blow to the head. In that case, byebyes.


#14

I think there was a part in Choice of Zombies where you were able to get turned and play a little (page or two) as zombie you. I think you could even kill one of your former companions.

It has been a really REALLY long time since I have played though, so there is every chance I am not remembering properly.


#15

A game where the protagonist is like a cognizant voodoo-type zombie sounds interesting to me. Something like Is This a Zombie? Yeah I’m weeaboo trash wanna fight about it How many IF games have featured a protagonist without free will anyway?