According to a new post on the Ubisoft blog, ZombiU will drop the “U” and be reborn as Zombi on the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The transition does not come without substantial design challenges, as ZombiU heavily incorporated the WiiU’s GamePad controller to create some of the game’s most satisfying moments of terror. Ubisoft promises that the adjustments made to release Zombi on core gaming platforms will make up for the loss of the GamePad.
Zombi takes place in London following a zombie outbreak. When you die, you respawn as a new survivor, starting the game over from scratch with no loot, weapons. etc. If you return to the area where you previously died, you will see the old “you” in zombie form, which is both fun and terrible.
And if you want to recover all the loot you previously died with, like precious ammunition, you’d better make sure to kill and loot your zombie you. ZombiU. Get it?
The oppressive sense of awareness you had to maintain in ZombiU in order to keep the zombies at arm’s length was heightened by the constant need to look away from the screen and down at the WiiU GamePad. Every second not looking at the television could get you into trouble.
You had to look at the GamePad to see your minimap, or the contents of any containers you discovered and searched for loot. Ubisoft also worked some augmented reality into the game, by turning the GamePad into a sensor you could use to hold up and look through, and scan the environment for zombies.
The scanning mechanism worked in full 360-degrees, meaning you could stand up, turn in a full circle to check for zombies, and see the actual game world no matter where you were looking.
All of this GamePad-based terror will obviously be gone in the upcoming PC, PS4, and Xbox One versions, so Ubisoft described some of the necessary design changes.
“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. While the minimap (which formerly required players to glance down at the Wii U gamepad) has been moved onto the main screen, “We maintain a minimal HUD as much as possible,” Henry says. “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.”
Zombi will also not offer ZombiU’s multiplayer mode, in which one player was the survivor and used the main monitor to play the game, and the other player used the GamePad to drop enemies into the map, to challenge the survivor.
Illustration via Ubisoft