Undead Labs has announced a new zombie game for Xbox Live Arcade, codenamed Class3. But before gamers collectively shake their heads in disapproval of another zombie shooter, Jeff Strain and his team at Undead Labs are promising a completely new experience, one that focuses on survival, strategy and consequence.
“No game has really captured, in our opinion, what makes the zombie genre so popular and so compelling,” Strain said in a report from Joystiq. “There’s a lot of games out there that play to the horror aspect of zombies. There are plenty of games that play to the humor aspect as well. I think that’s all great, but a very strong part of what makes the genre so pervasive is the survival aspect, and there’s really never been a game, especially a modern take on it that really captures that aspect of the zombie genre. Setting aside the ‘zombie’ aspect of the genre, the gameplay itself that we’re endeavoring to make here is going to feel fundamentally different from any other game that’s come before, because of this emphasis on survival. I think it’s going to feel very fresh.”
Players will explore the zombie-infested sandbox city of Dunniway in a “fast-paced” third-person shooter. The emphasis in Class3 will be on survival, evasion, stealth, and securing resources rather than all-out shooting. The resources players will gather will range from weapons like guns, knives and crowbars to things like copper wire, food, and even other survivors, such as an electrician to repair electronics in your home base.
On top of these promising mechanics and scenarios, Strain goes even further and teases how death and sacrifice will matter in Class3.
“If you’re going to make a world where survival is your key goal, then death has to matter,” Strain explained. “We have some strong thoughts as to how we can accomplish that — our designers will be talking about that on our website over the next couple of months. The short answer is yes, there will be some notion of sacrifice, some notion of death being meaningful in the game, and we’ll talk about details at a later time.”
Strain’s ambition for Class3 is impressive, but so far a lot of details remain scarce. He stressed that a major focus will be for the player to explore the root cause of the zombie apocalypse, and how the downfall of society all started, but how these things will unfold to the player are still unclear. There’s also no indication of how the game will look except for some concept art, and Strain says that there are no plans to show Class3 at any events this year, and we mostly likely won’t see anything until next year sometime. Local cooperative play for two players is confirmed, but online co-op remains up in the air.
These few details are promising, but Strain and his team at Undead Labs still have to prove that Class3 really is different and can meet these lofty ambitions.