|Director(s)||Jean Philippe Caro
|Release date(s)||NA November 18, 2012
|Genre(s)||First-person shooter, survival horror|
|Distribution||Wii U Optical Disc|
ZombiU is a first-person survival horror video game developed by Ubisoft Montpellier for the Wii U video game console. The game was a launch game for the Wii U console, first released in North America on November 18, 2012, and later in the PAL regions on November 30, 2012, and in Japan on December 8, 2012. The player assumes the roles of various humans during the game, as they attempt to survive a zombie apocalypse in London. It is also packaged with the Wii U ZombiU bundle; along with the Wii U Pro Controller, the special ZombiU art book, a digital copy of Nintendo Land, and the contents of the Wii U Deluxe Set.
ZombiU is a first-person survival horror game set in London, in which the player assumes the role of a random survivor in the Zombie Apocalypse. The player collects various items and weapons used to fight and kill zombies that are located or looted from different areas. If the player's character is killed by a zombie, which can occur with a single bite, the character will permanently die and the player will then take the role of another random survivor. The previous character will become a zombie, whom the player must kill in order to reclaim his original inventory. If the player has Miiverse enabled, it is possible that other players' characters will also appear as zombies carrying the items they had collected. The player can also tag clues and hints onto walls that other players can see when they're on their own adventure.
The game's controls extensively use the features of the Wii U GamePad. During normal play, the touchscreen is used to manage the player's inventory and displays a mini-map of the immediate area, which shows the player's location and nearby items. The touchscreen is also used for context-sensitive actions, such as barricading doors or hacking combination locks. The Wii U GamePad gyroscope, which allows the controller to sense its rotation and tilt in three-dimensional space, is also utilized: while viewing the touchscreen the player may move the controller around in space to focus on and scan different areas of the area in order to find items. While performing any of these actions, the perspective on the television switches to a fixed third-person view, showing the player character and the surrounding area. In this state, the player is vulnerable to attack and must watch both the Wii U GamePad touchscreen and the television screen in order to avoid potential harm.
400 years ago, John Dee creates an apocalyptic prophecy known as "The Black Prophecy" which will be fulfilled in 2012. "The Prepper", an "ex-army, no-nonsense" man sees this apocalypse coming and prepares, whilst a secret society known as the "Ravens of Dee" researches his predictions to find a way to stop them from being realised. In November 2012, The Black Prophecy begins to be realised in the form of a zombie outbreak in London, England.
Sometime after the outbreak, The Player is led to The Prepper's bunker, where he is provided with weapons, a "bug-out bag" (bob), and the Prepper Pad, a device with a built in scanner and radar. It is revealed that The Prepper was a Raven of Dee but left the organization due to a disagreement in philosophy: Dee had prophesied that "Black Angels" would save the world. The Ravens believed that Dee was referring to their organization, but The Prepper, believed he was talking about "something far worse".
While scavenging at Buckingham Palace, the player enters an underground bunker that prevents The Prepper from contacting him. He is instead contacted by Dr. Knight, a member of the Palace's personal guard who is attempting to find a cure to the virus. He orders The Player to find diaries and notes left by Dee in exchange for scanner upgrades and a chemical capable of instantly killing The Infected. This is all done behind The Prepper's back, as he believes that a cure is impossible.
Soon after leaving Buckingham, The Player is contacted by Sondra, who leads him to what is left of the Ravens of Dee. Much to The Prepper's chagrin, she attempts to evacuate with The Player in a helicopter atop the Tower of London. However, a supernatural force leads a flock of ravens to fly into the propeller, causing the helicopter to crash. As The Player returns to The Prepper's bunker, Sondra promises to save The Player.
Back at the bunker, the generator is running out of fuel. The Prepper tells The Player to get petrol from a man named "Vikram". The Player arrives at Vikram's, only to find that he has gone insane. He and his young child tell The Player to go to a local nursery to get antibiotics for his wife. Despite the protests of The Prepper, who believes that The Player should simply raid the petrol station, he goes to the nursery, where the staff and children have all been eaten by one of the nurses, who's evolved into a ghost-like monster capable of teleportation. The Player returns with the antibiotics only to find that Vikram has turned into a zombie and has eaten his family.
On the way back to the bunker with the petrol, The Player receives a distress signal from a young girl saying that she and her family are barricaded in St. George's Church. The Prepper insists this is a trap, but The Player goes to rescue her nonetheless. The Prepper is proved to be right, however. The Player is kidnapped by "Boris", the self-proclaimed "King of Zombies" and his gang, who force survivors to fight off waves of zombies in the church's courtyard. Unfortunately for Boris, the lights, microphone, and music attract a horde of zombies to his location, and he and his gang are eaten whilst The Player escapes.
The player now has sufficient upgrades to collect Dee's remaining letters for Dr. Knight, who is overjoyed when the player gives them all to him, believing he can now make the Panacea. The character returns to the safe house, where Knight contacts him with disappointing news: the Panacea is not a cure, but a vaccine. The Prepper, now aware of what The Player was doing behind his back, expresses his profound disappointment as The Player returns to Buckingham. Knight has left his bunker and is heading for the Queen's quarters to access data on a USB key. The Player makes his way through Buckingham only to find that Knight has been killed and turned into a zombie himself. The Player uses Knight's eye to bypass a retinal scanner and collect the USB key.
The player runs back to the Tower of London, as the RAF is about to firebomb London and Sondra is trying to fulfill her promise of rescuing The Player. This enrages The Prepper, who demands The Player leave the safe house and vow to outlive the Ravens of Dee.
After The Player leaves, a cutscene plays showing The Prepper. He has been using survivors to stock his food supplies and immediately finds a new lackey to do his bidding. While this goes on, The Player reaches Sondra and evacuates the city while the RAF (the "Black Angels" of prophecy) destroys the city.
Good Ending: The player downloaded the Panacea formula and got to the Tower of London without dying.
Escape Ending: The player didn't download the Panacea formula but made it to the tower of London without dying.
Bad Ending: The player died before reaching the Tower of London.
The Player: The player is any number of survivors; when one survivor dies, another takes over. Each is given their own identity and minor stat differences, and will gain skills as they survive. Reception of this mechanic was generally positive, although some criticized it because supporting characters are unable to identify the change in characters, simply acting like it's a single survivor.
The Prepper: A former military signals officer, the Prepper abandoned the Ravens of Dee because he believed that it was impossible for humanity to be saved. During the outbreak, he has linked himself into London's CCTV system, giving him near omnipresence to the events happening within the city. He is extremely controlling over those he allows in his safehouse, refusing to allow interaction with other Ravens, and screaming at the player for trying to evacuate. It is implied he was in a relationship with Sondra.
Dr. Peter Knight: A special forces agent who was given the task of creating the Panacea. He goes to extreme lengths to fulfill his task, using his wife and the compliment of soldiers sent to guard him as test subjects, and has become infected himself, regularly giving himself "Virucide" shots to keep his infection at bay. He successfully creates a vaccine, but is killed attempting to recover a flashdrive with the vaccine's data on it.
Sondra Kelley: The makeshift leader of the Ravens of Dee, Sondra leads their extraction efforts.
King Boris: The self-proclaimed king of the Zombies. King Boris along with his two lackeys capture other survivors and make them fight zombies for their amusement.
The concept of the game was initially derived from a prototype game known as White Rabbit. The game involved the player shooting at rabbits (similar to Ubisoft's own Rabbids), who charge at the screen and attack the player. The idea for rabbits as the antagonists was canceled due to conflicts between the developers and Ubisoft. The prototype was later developed into actual game Killer Freaks from Outer Space, which involved small Rabbid-like aliens in place of the rabbits, but otherwise using the same formula. When shown at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2011, the game received mixed reviews, with praise going to the originality but criticism for the bulky controls in contrast with the fast gameplay. Relying on a slower gameplay style, Killer Freaks from Outer Space was re-developed into what would become ZombiU.
Eurogamer gave ZombiU a 9/10, commenting "ZombiU isn't the obligatory FPS launch title, but an original twist on the genre that has no console equivalent. It's not quite a revolution, lacking the scope and variety of mechanics to compete with high watermarks like Half-Life 2. But that should take nothing away from Ubisoft's achievement, and the success or otherwise of ZombiU could be defining for Wii U." Edge gave ZombiU a 7/10, describing it as "a title that will infuse impulse buyers, early adopters and Nintendo diehards with relief and appreciation for the novel gameplay that Wii U can and will continue to provide." Giant Bomb gave ZombiU a 4/5 claiming that "It's a smart, scary, incredibly difficult action game" and is "an experience that rewards patience and punishes arrogance."
In contrast, IGN gave ZombiU a 6.3/10, citing a clunky control scheme and annoying melee combat. GameSpot gave ZombiU its lowest score with a 4.5/10, commenting "ZombiU is a game trapped in the wrong genre...ZombiU could have been an enjoyable action game, but instead it is a poor entry in the survival horror genre." Game Informer gave ZombiU a 5/10, stating that the game was sloppy and poorly executed.
In May 2013, the game's developer reported that work is underway on a prototype for a sequel. However, in July 2013, Ubisoft head Yves Guillemot stated that ZombiU was not profitable, and as such there were no plans for a sequel.
- Zombi, a 1986 Ubisoft game with a similar name and a similar gameplay mechanic where the player character is turned into a zombie upon death
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