Survivor Zero teaser trailer

survivor-zero-logo

Survivor Zero has a teaser trailer out. I’m only 8+ months late to that party. I hadn’t seen news from Hidden Panda Games in forever, but wrote an article referencing the sandbox style and ability to out-think the zombies instead of just outgun their hordes, and in so doing realized my omission. So I went looking, and found this teaser trailer.

Have you watched it yet? Cause I want to talk about it. If you haven’t, stop reading and go watch it.

The video title of “found footage” is interesting. What story is Hidden Panda trying to tell here?
The feeling of being alone, with an abandoned civilization surrounding the player is clear. The haunting traces of humanity gone by are cool – the now common spray-painted messages on the wall, the weapons left lying around by the previous occupant of the house, etc.

And of course the overall theme – the camera. The battery is running out constantly, the footage is choppy from starts & stops, and the pictures are grainy / blurry / otherwise done in a hurry. Other zombie games and movies have incorporated video camera / camera crew type material – namely the Dawn of the Dead remake particularly during the end credits, Dead Rising game series, and even such other supernatural type titles as Fatal Frame, etc. I’m sure there are more but they escape me at the moment.

As I was mentioning in another post about how Day Z proved a zombie game does not need to be 100% action all the time, and that suspense and tension are crucial – that’s certainly where this Survivor Zero video started from.

But, having only one zombie who is not actually seen in the clip is not quite the payoff I would have expected. If said zombie surprises the viewer, who is then locked in mortal peril & immediate proximity to the zombie, that would pay off strongly. It would get a more visceral reaction, so to speak. 🙂

Perhaps they intend to make this particular zombie more personal, more traumatic for the player? Maybe it’s the player’s love interest or something similar? Maybe it’s an immediate family member like a parent or sibling who is transformed into a brain-eating monster, horrific in visage and emotionally damaging to the protagonist. Even the Walking Dead game hasn’t done that yet, although the TV series certainly did.

Interestingly, Hidden Panda has been far more active than I have been on my blog. They’re particularly strong on Reddit of course, as well as Twitter and a chunk on Facebook with a TON of survey type stuff there.

What baffles me is they have promoted their official website, but it is still down. This Reddit thread discusses the timelines involved, but it is clear the website has been down for a year or beyond. Apparently it just got some sort of update a couple days ago, but that wasn’t a content thing but more of a domain admin thing.

The game clearly has a following. With very little content updates (similar to my blog here over the same period) they still have an active Reddit audience, a few hundred folks on Facebook, and apparently Twitter is decently strong too. But to totally NOT have even a placeholder website? Come on guys, that is Marketing 101. The video got about 34,000 views on YouTube. That crushes the number of views I have seen in other channels, by a factor of at least 100. But they are falling down faster than Zoey with 10% health. One glancing blow from a dying zombie and wham hello pavement.

Maybe I can offer my help to them? I understand they are an all-volunteer group. That’s just plain hard – like herding undead cats. Hell, getting my chapter of Zombie Squad to meet up was rough – let alone get them to accomplish a goal at hand! So I feel for these guys.

They DO have some support – even a Steam Community group although from yet another Reddit thread they apparently had their Steam Greenlight possibilities dashed.

But there are also Reddit threads that show the game is NOT dead as of two months ago or so. Perhaps the shadow zombie in the trailer is just the registrar from GoDaddy want $20 now or he’ll start biting everyone in sight?

I’m a fan, and would love to see these guys move the project forward. I understand they have a PR guy on the job as of a while ago. Hopefully they can get their group of survivors together, working in the same direction, and not all bleed out before they have some solid success. They have the support of gamers, but unless they begin enlisting that support and leveraging it, they’ll go from Survivor Zero to Zero Survivors. And I hate it when that happens both in games & in game development.

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