In 2010, The Walking Dead television series re-sparked the genre of zombies and has thus far had a significant impact on popular culture and the way we perceive zombies in media.
The popularity of The Walking Dead has led to a resurgence of interest in zombies and a reimagining of their portrayal in film, television, and video games. From games such as Dying Light and World War Z to the phenomenal game The Last of Us from Naughty Dog, all have been somewhat inspired by a surge of players dying to see more zombies. Each studio has delivered on this need in their own way, from narrative-rich and compelling stories to survival-based gameplay over the course of the last decade.
With the popularity of zombies in gaming continuing to grow it’s likely that we’ll see even more zombie-centered games in the years to come. But how did it impact the zombie game landscape specifically?
Telltale’s The Walking Dead- The Pioneer of Choice-Based Gameplay
Source: Telltale’s The Walking Dead
When we think of zombie games, the first thing that comes to mind is often survival, combat, and gore. However, in 2012, Telltale Games released a game that would change the way we think about zombie games forever. This game had a significant impact on the zombie game genre, introducing choice-based gameplay, cinematic storytelling, and a new format for episodic games.
The Walking Dead was one of the first games to introduce choice-based gameplay to the zombie game genre. It presents players with a series of difficult decisions that had real consequences for the story and its characters. This style of gameplay was a departure from the typical zombie game formula of simply surviving and killing zombies. Instead, it forced players to think about the consequences of their actions and how they would impact the story.
A beautifully crafted story and players found themselves becoming emotionally invested in the characters’ lives, making their decisions all the more crucial. The game’s ability to pull at the heartstrings of the players made it a cultural phenomenon that paved the way for other narrative-driven games.
Making every choice matter.
The Walking Dead’s success also had a significant impact on the gaming industry as a whole. It led to the creation of other choice-based games like Life is Strange, Detroit: Become Human, and Until Dawn. These games are proof that the narrative-driven genre has the potential to become a staple in the gaming industry. It is now more common to see a game that allows players to make choices that will affect the outcome of the story, thanks to the success of The Walking Dead.
While there were many other narrative-driven games before, The Walking Dead, was the most popular of its time, utilizing the player’s choices and their eventual consequences to create an innovative and unique experience which in turn set a new standard for storytelling in video games. Its success paved the way for other choice-based games, such as Life is Strange and Detroit: Become Human, to achieve critical and commercial success.
The Last of Us Effect on Narrative-Driven Stories
Source: The Last of Us
The Walking Dead TV show has had a profound impact on narrative-driven games, and The Last of Us is a prime example of how the show’s influence can be seen in video game storytelling. The Last of Us, released in 2013 and is a post-apocalyptic action-adventure game that follows the story of Joel and Ellie as they traverse a world ravaged by a fungal infection that has turned most of the population into zombie-like creatures.
The game’s story is deeply rooted in the idea of survival and explores the complexities of human nature in the face of disaster. This is a common theme in The Walking Dead, where the characters constantly face the harsh realities of a world overrun by zombies. The game’s narrative structure is also similar to The Walking Dead, with players making choices that affect the outcome of the story.
The Importance of Storytelling
One of the most striking similarities between The Walking Dead and The Last of Us is the way that both stories highlight the true horrors of humanity in the face of an apocalypse. While the zombies in both stories are certainly terrifying, the real monsters are often the other survivors. The Walking Dead is famous for its depictions of brutal violence and the lengths that some people will go to survive, and The Last of Us takes this idea to new heights.
In The Last of Us, players encounter a variety of human enemies who are just as ruthless and dangerous as the infected. The game’s story explores themes of morality, sacrifice, and the human condition, and it does so in a way that is deeply emotional and affecting. The Walking Dead similarly explores these themes, and the success of the show has paved the way for other narrative-driven games that delve into the darker aspects of human nature.
World War Z- An Action-Packed Zombie Shooter
Source: World War Z
World War Z provided gamers with an action-packed experience that keeps players on their toes and provides the need for facing off against hordes of zombies.
In 2013, the zombie genre was at its peak, and World War Z capitalized on this popularity with its intense action and impressive horde technology. Developed by Saber Interactive and published by Paramount Pictures, World War Z was based on the movie of the same name which was itself based on a novel by Max Brooks.
Horde Shooter Zombies
The game quickly gained a following due to its focus on cooperative gameplay, allowing up to four players to team up and fight against hordes of zombies across various locations around the world. The gameplay is engaging and exciting, with players using an array of weapons and traps to fend off the undead in fast-paced action. But what really set World War Z apart from other zombie games was its horde technology – allowing for massive amounts of zombies to flood the screen at once, creating a sense of overwhelming chaos and terror.
Despite its tie-in to the movie, World War Z managed to stand out as a solid game in its own right. It received positive reviews for its satisfying gameplay, impressive visuals, and faithful adaptation of the zombie-filled world of the film. Fans of the genre were thrilled with the game’s frenetic action and focus on cooperative play, and it quickly gained a reputation as one of the best zombie shooters in recent years.
However, World War Z‘s success was not without its challenges. The game faced criticism for its lack of depth in story and character development, which paled in comparison to the gripping narratives of other zombie games like The Last of Us and Telltale’s The Walking Dead. But for those looking for an adrenaline-fueled zombie shooter with an emphasis on co-op play, World War Z was a perfect choice.
Overall, World War Z remains a popular choice for fans of the zombie genre, and its success has paved the way for other action-packed shooters like Days Gone and Dying Light 2. With its impressive horde technology, satisfying gameplay, and intense cooperative action, World War Z will always be remembered as one of the most entertaining zombie games in recent history.
The effect that The Walking Dead had on gaming cannot be understated.
Narrative-focused games have blossomed as a result and powerful stories have begun to truly take shape in front of us. It all comes full circle now with The Last of Us going from game to show, much like The Walking Dead going from TV show to Telltale’s adaptation, further cementing their influence on popular culture. As the zombie genre continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how these games continue to inspire and shape the future of interactive storytelling.