Rebellion announced a new Zombie Army game at E3 this year. Besides a playable demo at Gamescom, there wasn’t a lot of new announcements. (You can see the same demo I’ve played in the Demo Walkthrough below). But from my experience with the fourth installment in this series, the game plays exactly the same as we are used to, but there are a few new elements that impact the experience a bit, making it a bit fresh from the last games. Such as weapon enhancements, unique special attacks and not least, traps. If you have played Strange Brigade, you will find the traps familiar, as the traps in Zombie Army 4 are inspired from that title.
You can play this solo offline, or with up to four friends online.
After my little hands-on session with the game, I got the opportunity to interview the Lead Level Designer Jordan Woodward from Rebellion about Zombie Army 4.
It sure is a lot of great experienced members in the development team, as Jordan himself worked on Sniper Elite 4, and the diverse members of the team have experience from the previous Zombie Army titles and Strange Brigade.
“All of that experience hopefully shows in Zombie Army 4” – Jordan Woodward
Strange Brigade is the latest installment from Rebellion, so one of my questions did, of course, include if some of the features/elements from that title has been forwarded onto Zombie Army 4 that hasn’t been in the series. During my hands-on, I noticed that traps similar to Strange Brigade has been added, such as electric and propeller traps.
“These traps are built by the survivors in the world, and you can utilize them to help you kill zombies. Players who have played Strange Brigade and all fans of our franchise will be familiar and comfortable with using those traps as well” added Jordan.
I tried to figure out how many zombies there are in the game, as well as how many different types of zombie enemies. (Zombie character models) Jordan couldn’t give me an exact number as it depends on how many players are playing, 1-4 players. And for now, it has been revealed approx four different zombie models showcased in the new trailer and the demo I played through. But there will be a variety of mix on the same models, such as flamethrowers, holding a machine gun and other stuff to keep things varied.
“Even the standard grunts have a variety to mix it up a little bit”
Developing videogames isn’t always an easy task, so I asked Jordan what was the most difficult part to develop in Zombie Army 4. He added that balancing the game for one to four players and still keep the core co-op experience that the fanbase is used to and love is a difficult task. They also balanced the experience for playing the game solo.
To keep players playing (replay-value) for a longer amount of time, they have added perks and skins players can unlock by completing challenges such as killing one hundred zombies with explosive bullets. But the developers assure that there is a lot of content available from the start, you can pick up all your weapons right from the start and then customize it to your playstyle.
“Not locking too much away and just letting you customize your play experience, right from the start without locking off our content”
In terms of easter eggs, during my playthrough, I missed a lot of easter eggs apparently. Similar to the trilogy such as finding gold bars and bottles, there will be easter eggs in Zombie Army 4 as well, not gold bars and bottles specifically, so we have to figure out that part ourself of what that could be. A big tip from Jordan is to explore every sideway, break down doors, check over willow corners to locate these mystery collectibles.
With pers involved, the developers still want the core gameplay experience, so they didn’t add a create a class element or RPG elements. You can pick perks related to shotguns, rifles or even medic to suit your playstyle and still manage to change all that up later on. They don’t want to make a permanent decision on the perks for your character.
“It’s about giving all the players the freedom to play around with all the different features we’ve got. And try and find something that works for them. And something that works, between you or your group of friends as well.”
I added a small personal question at the end of the interview to figure out if Jordan had any tips/tricks for people who want to work as a Level Designer.
“Portfolio, portfolio, portfolio. If you really want to get into the industry in any respect, to be honest. Working on your portfolio, and just doing it in your spare time. Doing it as a passion really showing that it is your passion. And spending the time to make your own games make your own levels. Vulgar leaps and bounds to getting you into the industry and getting your foot in the door as well.”
“I just can’t wait for everyone to play basically. It’s been an absolute pleasure to watch people play our game and I can’t wait to see what people do with it”– added Jordan at the end of the interview.
“It’s been an absolute pleasure to watch people play our game”
Our playthrough on Zombie Army Trilogy
Zombie Army 4 will arrive for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC (Epic Games Store) early 2020.