“Holy shit.” Rehv shook his head and muttered, “Now we know what the zombie apocalypse looks like.”
― J.R. Ward, The King
I can hear their moaning behind my door,
the sound of their fingers scratching the wood,
the stink of their hunger torturing my soul.
I don’t really know if I will survive
I don’t really know if I want to survive…
… but I know that, inside this small room, I’ve still the chance to get my last interview.
In front of me, in the semi-darkness, the developer of Z Dawn awaits.
He doesn’t seem to fear the dead outside, indeed he shows the tranquility of the person who knows exactly what is happening.
1ST TURN) After almost 2,5 years of EA finally Z Dawn has been released. What this long period of test taught you?
First of all, we want to thank you for the opportunity to talk about this amazing journey. Throughout this experience, we learned that the time invested in a game is crucial to create a fun and complex gameplay experience.
Although there’s room to improve and content to add, we feel that the main things we wanted for the game are done. The more we play and test the game, the more ideas we have, we’re still filtering gaming concepts to this day. This can be challenging, but since the game release, we take into consideration every input and opinions of our gamers, that is helping us shape the game even further.
2ND TURN) How important will be the story in Z Dawn?
Not much. What is important for Z Dawn is the survival/managing features, these are the main focus of the game.
3RD TURN) Someone has described Z Dawn as a zombie version of Civilization. What can you say about that? What were your real inspirations?
Civilization and turn-based games, in general, were the real inspirations. And we’re fans of The Walking Dead television series as well. Our past experience of creating turn-based games influenced the design of Z Dawn too.
4TH TURN) As I said not long ago, it seems that nowadays the world of zombie videogames is quite overcrowded, so how do you think your game can stand out from the others? Which are the original ideas behind your game?
Our game is a fusion between strategy and survival and that is what sets Z Dawn apart from the rest. We wanted to give the vibe of Civilization but with zombies where you can managing survivor encampment instead of managing cities.
5TH TURN) Now let’s talk about enemy. How many enemy types we will encounter during our adventure? During the game will we face different kinds of zombies?
Yes, you’ll encounter many types of dangers like regular zombies hordes, the zombie screamer (that calls other zombies if it notices human flesh), the scouting area type of zombie, other hostile survivors and the boss (the zombie brute).
6TH TURN) Z Dawn seems to have some roguelike features. What can you say about randomness? Will, there be only random generated content or some parts of the game are hand crafted?
Every event is randomly generated and the story is hand crafted. Since the goal of the survivors is to get rescued, certain predetermined actions are needed to trigger the rescue events.
7TH TURN) You decided to implement the perma-death feature in the game (and I think this was a great idea!), but I read that some players complained about it. Do you think to add an option to disable it, in the future?
No, it’s a survival game, and it would not be a true roguelike if you could revive your survivors, right? We took into consideration what true fans of the roguelike genre would appreciate. We understand that it’s hard to see a survivor you get used to, getting infected and having to say goodbye, but that’s exactly what we wanted in the game, the feeling that your survivors are unique and cannot be replaced, just like in real-life situations.
8TH TURN) Ok, let’s change the subject a little bit. Why do you think players like so much zombies and post-apocalyptic scenarios?
The challenge of surviving and shooting zombies is somewhat satisfying. The idea of alternative realities that everything we are used to cease to exist and against many odds humanity finds a way to survive, that tell us more about ourselves as humans.
9TH TURN) Now something about the future of the game. Do you think to add some variations (like events or NPC interactions) in the near future?
We want to deeply explore the features already present in the game. For example, the survivor’s professions, we want to add more job related events, we also have plans to add more NPC survivors interactions to improve the way they interact with the players. And much more exciting stuff that we want to keep private for now.
10TH TURN) I know that the release of a modding tool for a small indie developer is always a really hard task to accomplish, but do you have any plan in this regard?
We don’t think so, until the present moment, the community hasn’t shown much interest in that regard.
11TH BONUS TURN) Before leaving you, just a bonus question. Which is the latest turn-based game you’ve played or still playing?
Civilization V (ed I had my suspicious…)
Thank you so much for the time you have dedicated to us! Obviously we will continue to follow your amazing project.
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And remember you can already buy the game on Steam.