Excited much? If any faithful readers will happen to be in the Vancouver area Friday, May 4, get yerself over to this conference and let us know what The Man has to say!
I'm very very interested to see how this gets pulled off.
Caught this on Slashdot. Apparently there's a 'grassroots' Zombie Lurch that has been occurring annually for the last few years, in different cities. Madison, WI (A lovely city by the way, I attended a LAN there a few years back) is this year's 'victim' of the zombie horde. You can check out a bunch of the pics here, here and here, and I must say, it looks exactly like certain scenes in Stubbs. Quite charming actually. :) One could imagine someone in that crowd is a Stubbs fan, but I didn't spot anyone trying to corner his look. Too bad. :(
As for the actual Xbox game, I'm not done with it, though I sense I'm just a few levels away from completion.
1UP, the site that was hosting Alex's 'blog' about Stubbs development, has officially reviewed the game. It's basically a rave review for a fresh 'strategy/action' hybrid game that will debut for us mere mortals in just a few days.
The highlights they note are really all that we've come to expect from Bungie/Wideload... an attention to detail beyond just actual gameplay. There is wit aplenty, and the mantra, coined by Jaime back during the development of Halo 2, of '30 seconds of gameplay repeated over and over' (often misunderstood by some as an excuse for level repetition) is fully embraced in Stubbs.
Those of you planning to purchase the Xbox version of the game when it debuts this Monday, the 17th, feel free to email me a pic of you holding the game or posing it in some creative (non-filthy of course!) manner, I'll post the pic here if it's funny/compelling enough.
Once I get mine, I'll be sure to write a review. Halo 1 and 2 have spoiled me and my itch for the fabled First Person Shooter genre. I wonder how quickly I'll forget all that as I play a game that's Third Person and not quite a shooter. It's my one concern based on previous looks at the game.
UPDATE: Another thumbs-up review, this time from the folks at Gaming Horizon.
Read about Matt Soell and his current faves in music, books, tv, and games over at Gamasutra. It's an interesting read if you think a game is influenced by what the authors are currently into. Matt has always given his group an extra dose of irony and a twist of counter-culture (he's not the only one of course) so it's interesting to see what he considers worth consuming as a member of our pop culture.
And hey, no glasses? What, you trying to go legit or something Matt? :)
Thanks to a heads up by Roger Wilco at the HBO forums.
I had the pleasure of visiting Wideload recently and was impressed with their progress on the game. It's coming along really well and the hints of multiple-platform simul-release seems like a sure thing. And if not simul, then near-simul. But the most important bit of info I gleaned from these talented folks is that they're having alot of fun, are full of ideas (that they would not tell me, of course) and feel real good about the future. This portends great things, methinks.
Here's an interesting NEW trivia question. I'll give anyone with a paypal account $5 if they get close to what I think is the answer to the following question:
"Stubbs the Zombie is based on a previous Bungie engine. In the history of Bungie (and now Wideload) technical sequels, what sets this game apart from past attempts?"
I'll give you a hint. My answer is sarcastic and smarmy.
Once again it's time to drag our old friend Stubbs the Zombie out from behind the curtain to see how he's decomposing. Not only have we got a Q&A with Alex Seropian on Wideload's upcoming game, but three tasty, delicious, new screenshots for you as well. Dig in!
What�s the plot of the game?
The game follows the exploits of Stubbs, a Zombie, as he embarks on a quest for true love and brutal revenge in Punchbowl, Pennsylvania, a city of the future built in the 1950s.
How did you come up with this idea?
It was a collaborative effort by our small internal prototyping team. We started with a bunch of ideas and spent some time developing the most promising ones. Ultimately the team picked Stubbs the Zombie as the game that would become Wideload's first project.
How many prototypes did you create before deciding this was the game you were going to make?
We created a couple dozen prototypes. We chose Stubbs the Zombie because of the gameplay potential and the depth of Stubbs as the main character. It helped that we had an opportunity to use the Halo engine and a lot of good ideas for building the game with that technology.
We also liked it because it allowed us to do something new with a somewhat moribund genre. Zombies are popular adversaries because they're easy to make as long as you adhere to the mythology: they're slow, they're dumb, they only attack by biting, etc. We kept the basic idea of a brain-eating dead guy but chose to not limit ourselves to what had been done before. That made it a lot more interesting.
Why did you decide on a retro 50�s theme?
It�s not just retro � it�s Retro-Futurist! Punchbowl exists in the 1950s, but it's designed to be a model city � an example of the miracles that await humanity in the year 2000. Some elements of retro-futurism, like flying cars and personal robots, are now seen as amusingly naive; others are surprisingly accurate. Punchbowl incorporates all of these things � it's connected to the familiar, but it gives our designers a tremendous amount of creative freedom.
Why make the main character a zombie?
When dead men crawl out of their graves and start gobbling the flesh of the living, you have to consider the possibility that everything you thought you knew is worthless. Nothing says "total breakdown of natural law" like zombies, and that sort of imminent chaos is an attractive starting point for a game. Besides, zombies have been painted as the enemy for far too long. We're giving equal time to their side of the story.
What makes the Stubbs character compelling to players?
Stubbs has a lot of really cool abilities that evolve into interesting gameplay dynamics. Stubbs can tear off his own hand and send it into areas he can't reach himself. The hand can also possess other characters, giving you access to their weapons and abilities. It really opens a lot of doors gameplay-wise. Personality-wise, he's a good man who was wronged all his life; only in death does he gain the ability to turn his losing streak around. He's the ultimate underdog, and everyone likes an underdog.
What has been the most challenging part of developing this game?
When you tread new ground, you often have to make up your own rules and hope they work out. We got lucky in that sense that our early design decisions held up quite well as we moved into production.
How does this game take advantage of the Halo engine?
We utilize all the technical majesty of the rendering engine, AI and core game systems, and then we crank them all to eleven.
How are you finding working on the Halo engine for your game?
The Halo engine is phenomenal, and the tools allow us to do some really cool things. The underlying technology is robust enough to power a game that is very different from Halo, and Wideload programmers have added their own special sauce where appropriate (to the graphics and AI systems, for example).
How are you improving upon or changing the Halo engine for the game?
AI is the most labor-intensive work. Getting a horde of zombies to go about their brain-eating business in a rewarding and enjoyable way is a tough task.
What do you think players will most enjoy about the game?
The combination of chaotic action, stealth gameplay, strategic use of Zombie hordes and a healthy dose of dark humor.
What�s the game�s release date?
Thanks Alex, and all the fine folks at Wideload. We look forward to an exhilarating summer of hot, decaying flesh and cool, refreshing brains. While the rest of us wait for the release date, eyes twitching and mouth watering, we can at least satiate ourselves with the following:
So what do you think? It's freaky, it's weird, it's unusual... in other words, it's got that pure Bungie spirit that we've come to expect from these folks. Except it's not Bungie. It's Alex's new company, Wideload, that is making "Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel without a Pulse"
Now take a real good look at those screenshots and see if you don't detect a faint whiff of the whimsy that went into "Pimps at Sea."
Me likey so far what I'm seeing. I wonder when we'll get to see some gameplay?