While some are impatiently waiting for the undead craze to actually die, I still believe the zombie genre has some legs. On the negative side, it has become a huge part of pop culture, so, as expected, many of the same tired tropes we have witnessed over the past few years have started to be repeated ad nauseum. Even so, it is still possible to create new, original experiences within the space. There is one recently announced IP in particular that could bring a breath of fresh air to a genre that is in danger of decomposing.
It is called Dying Light, a title that brings us a new spin on one of the more critically-acclaimed, yet generally under-appreciated types of gameplay: free-running. First undertaken by the DICE developed Mirrors Edge, the visceral free-running aesthetic was hugely original and extremely well done. Although the sales numbers were unable to live up to the innovation and positive fan response, many in the gaming community refused to forget how impressive the game truly was.
This was not lost on the team at Techland (Dead Island…NOT Riptide), with their latest title bringing the gameplay elements of ME with a zombie apocalypse experience The released images make it look like you will be bounding across dilapidated favelas in Brazil, a setting that seems perfect for a game that involves quick escapes from the undead. In fact, the zombie genre is one of the most logical uses of free-running, considering that this seems to be the most common type of defense from the tenacious walkers.
Although details are sparse, Dying Light will involve scavenging for supplies during the daylight hours, while simply attempting to survive the night against a horde of zombies who become uber aggressive when the moon makes an appearance.
There will also supposedly be a 4-player co-op mode, along with a look back feature for when you need to check whether or not you are at a safe distance when leaving enemies in the dust.
Expect to see video of Dying Light gameplay at E3 in two weeks (We will be there!) Until then, lets just hope this will advance the genre as opposed to banking on a popular theme. The title is slated for PC release sometime in 2014.