World War Z (2019 video game)
|World War Z|
|Publisher(s)||Mad Dog Games|
World War Z is a third-person shooter video game developed by Saber Interactive and published by Mad Dog Games. It was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on April 16, 2019, and will be released for Nintendo Switch at an unspecified date in the future. Loosely based on the 2006 book of the same name, and set in the same universe as the 2013 film adaptation, the game follows groups of survivors of a zombie apocalypse in the cities of Moscow, New York, Jerusalem, Tokyo, and Marseille.
The game is a cooperative third-person shooter in which four players fight against massive hordes of zombies in locations including: New York, Jerusalem, Moscow, Tokyo, and Marseille. Players can choose from six classes, including the Gunslinger, the Hellraiser, who specializes in using explosives, the Fixer, the Medic, the Slasher, who specializes in using mêlée, the Exterminator, who specializes in crowd control, and the Dronemaster, who specializes in using a drone to attack zombies or support teammates. New perks and weapons can be unlocked for each of the classes as players progress in the game. The game can support up to 1,000 enemies appearing on-screen simultaneously, and they can climb onto each other to reach players on a higher level. Players can collect different items in the battlefield, but their locations are procedurally generated. In addition to fighting zombies, players also need to complete different objectives, such as escorting survivors, in each location.
The game features five competitive multiplayer modes. The Player vs Player vs Zombie mode pits two teams of players against each other while the zombie hordes attack both teams. Other modes include Swarm Deathmatch, Swarm Domination, and King of the Hill.
A group of survivors fail to reach an evacuation point set up by the U.S. Army and are forced to fight their way back down to the streets. They are soon contacted by another group of survivors who have procured a subway train that will take them to another evacuation site. The group manage to reach the train and help prepare it for departure while fighting off swarms of zombies trying to overrun the train. Though they manage to get the train started, they are stopped by a sealed door that was previously manned by other survivors who were meant to open it upon their arrival. After opening the sealed door, the group fights their way to the last Army evacuation site but find all the ships have left and the remaining soldiers and survivors have been killed. Finding a boat attached to a winch, the group desperately try to bring it ashore as their last chance of escape while fighting off a massive zombie horde. After boarding the boat, the survivors leave New York. Somewhere along the way, however, the boat runs out of fuel and the survivors are once again left stranded in a zombie-infested town. They eventually come across another evacuation site still manned by the Army and full of wounded civilians. With the help of a gunship, the group desperately tries to defend the site under siege from multiple hordes as the soldiers evacuate the civilians. Things take a turn for the better when the Air Force arrives and destroys the remaining hordes, allowing everyone else to escape via helicopters.
A group of soldiers and a journalist are tasked with rescuing a scientist whom high command regards as crucial in putting an end to the zombie epidemic. The soldiers manage to rescue the scientist, who reveals to them that he was part of a team developing an experimental orbital cannon that can be used to wipe out large swarms of zombies in a single shot. The soldiers then accompany the doctor to the facility where the weapon can be fired and manage to protect him long enough to activate the weapon and escape. While flying away from the facility, the group witnesses the devastating firepower of the orbital cannon, which wipes out a large zombie swarm which overrun the facility.
A group of survivors searching for food witnesses the crash of a Russian military helicopter and move in to save anyone who survived. When they reach the crash site, they only found one survivor, a female Russian Army officer, and fight off a massive swarm that attempts to overrun the crash site. After fending off the zombies, the officer enlists the groups' help in activating a deadly nerve agent throughout Moscow that is lethal to both humans and zombies. The plan is to evacuate any survivors still alive in the city and kill all of the zombies in Moscow, but the nerve agent will leave Moscow uninhabitable for six months. After sending out a signal to warn all survivors to evacuate before the nerve agent is released, the group infiltrate a secret facility where the nerve agent can be released. They successfully release it throughout Moscow, killing all of the zombies in the city. Five days after being stranded in the bunker, the group believes they have been abandoned, but re-establish a connection with the officer who tells them to gas the tunnels to kill off the zombies hiding inside. Soon after, the Russian Army arrives and evacuates the group from the station as it is being attacked by multiple zombie hordes.
Following the outbreak, the whole country of Japan is being evacuated. A volunteer rescue team finishes a final check for survivors in the city and assists in escorting a bus of survivors to a military checkpoint. The team is then tasked with assisting in defending a large cruise ship which is the only remaining evacuation transport. The team manage to hold off a massive swarm by destroying a large fuel facility that acts as a wall of fire and manage to reach the cruise ship in time as it departs Japan. However, some of the infected have gotten aboard due to poor and rushed screening operations, causing the ship to be in danger of being overrun as the infection spreads. The team assists the military in repelling and ultimately eliminating the infected from the ship. Though they have abandoned their country, the team hold hope that they will one day return to reclaim their land.
With one of the largest zombie hordes in Europe headed straight to Marseille, four members of French Resistance battle their way through the streets to obtain weapons and medicine before it arrives. They soon learn that a French missile battery set up in Fort Niolon across the bay has gone dark, despite its much-needed firepower required to stop the horde dead in its tracks. Volunteering to investigate, the group finally arrives at the fort after fighting through a town and a factory. There, they found the survivors holed up in a fortified building, and a giant swarm of zombies climbing up the hill towards their position. With no time to lose, the group is forced to commandeer the battery in order to stop the swarm. Using missile launchers to trigger avalanches that halt the swarm, they eventually succeed in lifting the siege, and returns to Marseille upon learning that the city is under attack. Rallying at Fort Saint-Jean, the group stages a final stand against the horde as night approaches, setting up fire moats and sealing breaches along the way. Overwhelmed and outnumbered, they struggle to contact Fort Niolon as their radios are disabled in the attack. They eventually signaled the battery with a flare gun, who responded in kind with a missile barrage that obliterates much of the horde, thereby saving the city.
Saber Interactive began the game's development after one of their teams completed the production of a Halo game. Approximately 100 people worked on the game. The studio decided to use the World War Z license for the game as they felt that there were too many risks involved in marketing a brand new intellectual property. Matt Karch, CEO of Saber Interactive, described the game as the combination of both the 2013 film and the book. Gerry Lane, the character played by Brad Pitt in the 2013 movie, is not in the game as the team opted to include multiple survivors who have their own stories. The team took inspiration from The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay when they were exploring how they could incorporate elements from the film and the book into the game. Left 4 Dead also inspired the developer when they were crafting the game's gameplay. A proprietary game engine named the Swarm Engine was used to power the game and render the huge zombie hordes.
The game was announced at The Game Awards 2017. The game was released on April 19, 2019 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Focus Home Interactive served as the title's distributor. It was also an Epic Games Store exclusive. Saber planned to support the game by introducing more episodes, characters, settings, and competitive game modes, after the game's launch.
A Game of the Year Edition of the game was released on May 5, 2020, and includes new weapon and character packs, a new three-mission PvE episode set in Marseille, France, as well as all previously released downloadable content. Alongside the reveal of the Game of the Year Edition, a Nintendo Switch port was announced. Matt Karch, the CEO of developer Saber Interactive, called getting the game to run on Nintendo's console "the hardest thing that we have had to do".
According to review aggregator Metacritic, the game received "mixed or average reviews" from critics. Game Informer compared it to Left 4 Dead series, praised its shooting mechanics, visuals and story, but criticized its soundtrack and lack of non-vocal player interactions.
It was the best-selling retail game in the UK in its week of release. As of April 23, 2019, more than 1 million units of the game have been sold. It sold almost 2 million copies in the first month after the release. In Japan, the PlayStation 4 version of World War Z sold 27,872 copies within its first week of release in September 2019, placing it at number seven on the all format video game sales chart.
As of October 2019, more than 3 million units have been sold.
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