Can there ever be too much zombies? Nah. Ubisoft is taking the once Wii U exclusive, ZombiU, and bringing it to Xbox One, PS4 and PC.
The ‘U’ is getting the ax as it prepares for its August 18 digital release.
One question popping up today is how Zombi will play without the Wii U gamepad? How will the gameplay transition to just a single screen?
“We knew from the beginning that maintaining the tension and feel of the original was one of the main challenges, as the way ZombiU was presented on Wii U cannot be reproduced,” says Hélène Henry, Zombi’s producer.
One of the main uses of the Wii U gamepad screen was the minimap. That’s been shuffled back to the single screen.
The developers are focusing on keeping a minimal HUD to amp up the tension.
“It disappears when not required, giving the game a very lonely feeling. If you have surround sound, the awesome sound mix from the original still stands and greatly helps immersion. As much as possible, we’ve tried to keep those key elements,” says Henry.
This includes revamping the backpack system. In ZombiU, the gamepad’s screen was used for your inventory. Players always felt vulnerable. Extending this vulnerability to a single screen was an important goal for the developers.
Opening your backpack will not pause the game and will take up a sizable chunk of the screen. You’ll only be able to see zombies coming from the sides of your view.
Henry stresses the most important thing about Zombi is its “general sense of claustrophobia, and not knowing what is coming next – at least for new players.”
Besides the technical improvements, the folks at Ubisoft are also adding a few extra weapons. In the original ZombiU, the cricket bat was your only melee weapon. Zombi adds two more – a shovel and a nail bat. The shovel gives you better reach while the nail bat ups your damage.
The flashlight is also getting an upgrade. You can switch to a wider, further-reaching beam, but the zombies won’t be far behind. The flashlight also needs to be off for 30 seconds to recharge.
Not every feature from ZombiU is surviving the transition. ZombiU’s single-system multiplayer didn’t make the cut. One player could use the Wii U gamepad to place zombie hordes in the path of the other player. Ubisoft opted to focus on the solo mode versus trying to redesign the mode.
ZombiU was well received by critics when it released in 2012.
Re-releasing Zombi is a smart move by Ubisoft. If there’s one genre gamers never seem to tire of, it’s zombies. ZombiU never did turn a profit for Ubisoft. But, that could change with next month’s release of Zombi on PS4, Xbox One and PC. At the very least, Ubisoft will be able to reach millions of gamers who never had a chance to play the Wii U version.
What do you think of Zombi coming to consoles and PC? Sound off in the comments.