ZombiU: Why I Await The Multiplayer
A surprise cult hit of 2009 was one of the biggest shake ups in online play for a long time.
The ability to write in-game notes to either help or hinder other players, to summon, be summoned or invade in real-time, all while actually on the main quest of the story. Demon's Souls offered a totally optional multiplayer mode, that was absolutely seamlessly integrated with the main game. It was unquestionably brilliant. I absolutely adore both games, and I'm sure many of you guys do too, so It's no surprise that many titles surfacing today cite direct influence from them.
ZombiU is such a game.
"A bunch of the core designers on the team are huge fans of Dark Souls. I've played all the way through and even through New Game + on Dark Souls and Demon' Souls, so they're a huge inspiration."Design Director Gabrielle Shrager of Ubisoft via GamesTM
While this quote was specifically referring to the difficulty level of the game, it's clear that From Software's design elements have seeped into the way the game world shifts with the input of other players (and possibly Banksy).
"The story mode is full of online play. Players can spray paint secret messages all over the city of London to help or sometimes hinder their friends."
"... we've got your friends' zombies invading your maps....die on a certain map and then when I venture into the same map I will see your zombie and be able to take his backpack"Producer Guillame Brunier of Ubisoft via GamesTM
The last part is particularly exciting, because it seems to imply that Zombie invasions could utilise the difficulty scaling function of the main game. It now turns out that the ammount of time you spend alive as a particular character directly correlates with how strong they become as a zombie upon death. He adds:
"If you survive for 45 minutes or one hour or two hours and you die, the zombie will be that much stronger. when a one hour plus character dies and becomes a zombie it will be much tougher to get your gear back from them. You won't want to die because you won't want to lose your skills, but you also won't want to fight yourself when you're that powerful"
Polygon's Samit Sarkar has written a great piece on the local multiplayer aspect which you've hopefully read.
The basic premise of this mode is a great showcase of asymmetrical multiplayer, with one player using the tablet controller to tactically spawn zombies with an overhead view, and the other player on the TV in a traditional zombie survival FPS mode.
"This is a much more strategic mode than the ones in traditional survival horror games, where players merely slay hordes of undead. As the human, we sprinted around the map from flag to flag, fending off zombies and scrounging for ammo as much as possible. As the zombie boss, we micromanaged our gang, constantly rearranging and switching out our infected to maximise our chances of ding on fresh brains. And thanks to the Wii U's setup, the GamePad Player gets a nice bonus: he can set up his minions around the map, and then look up at the TV to watch them wreak havoc on his opponent."From the Polygon article.
These features are something I expect to be seeing a lot of in the 8th gen, with both Microsoft and Sony embracing hardware that allows for asymmetrical multiplayer. Considering that Smart Glass is compatible with Windows 8, this isn't just a console-only affair.
This genuinly does seem to be heralding a a greater level of depth and innovation in the way we play together, and no matter which is your platform of choice, you'll be feeling the benefits. So the question is: What would you like to see?
Get your creativity on.