Over the past few years, I have seen a trend in gaming with studios and developers releasing multiple titles in either the zombie or near-apocalypse / post-apocalypse genre. It used to be a once a year or once every few years thing, but now it’s everywhere. If there is one thing I have realized, it’s that these genres need to die.
I noticed this year while watching the various E3 press events that more and more studios are developing games in these genres. Sony has The Last of Us, Konami has Metal Gear Survive, and even Call of Duty has jumped onto the bandwagon with their “Zombies” mode. During the Sony E3 press conference, there were two of these titles: The Last of Us Part 2 and Days Gone. While these two games look beautiful, they feel the same. It looks like they both have the same premise: a deadly disease has riddled the world, killing most of the population while resurrecting them as monsters, and it’s up to a small group of people to come together to learn how to survive. It’s the same thing every single time and it’s annoying.
Now, as I mentioned earlier, this isn’t just about the zombie genre, but also the post-apocalyptic or near-apocalyptic genre. Ubisoft is about to release another game in their Tom Clancy’s The Division franchise that takes place in a version of America where a virus has taken the lives countless people, leaving it up to the agents of The Division to save the country and re-establish the government. From the gameplay and footage that I saw, everything is overgrown and looks run down. They also show that various groups of citizens have come together to form communities in an effort to combat the lawlessness. I have to say that I could not stop rolling my eyes and sighing heavily as the game was revealed. I kept asking myself “when is this going to end?”
I’m not alone in feeling this way either, I have talked to multiple people that have agreed that these genres need to be put on hold or die. One of the conversations I had was with an employee at GamesStop who said that the zombie genre ruined his favorite franchise Metal Gear Solid with the release of Metal Gear Survive. He also felt that it was just another way for Konami to cash in on the zombie craze while ruining a very solid gaming series. The gaming marketplace is over-saturated with these titles. Everywhere I turn, I see the same games over and over again. Just searching the XBOX online store, I found that there were over 30 titles available of purchase that dealt with zombies. I’m not going to even go into the number of zombie-related titles on the Playstation Store or on Steam. I feel like I can’t go into a GameStop anymore without someone asking me if I want to buy or pre-order a game in the genres I don’t like. But here is the thing, so many people have latched onto these games that they keep buying them even when they notice that they are the same games.
This raises a lot of questions for me: Do developers think that something will be different? How do you keep zombie games interesting? How can developers change these games? Also what is it with making zombies fast (yes, I know the film 28 Days Later showed the zombies being fast, and even the game Left 4 Dead did it, but the question is why? Zombies are supposed to be slow and shambling)?
Let’s be clear: I’m not completely down on the genre. In fact, the best zombie game I have played in recent years was The Walking Dead from TellTale Games. I loved it. However, it’s still very annoying that game developers are milking this zombie cash-cow to the point of being repetitive. You know there’s an issue when I look forward more to sports games or family games than I do other titles announced. How many more of these games must we endure before people say “enough”?
What do you guys think? Let us know in the comments below.