Bad news

August 12, 2011

To celebrate Friday, here are some bad news for zombie fans. Well, they were for me at least.

Dead Island

From what I’ve seen a read, despite the awesome trailer everyone’s seen by now Dead Island disappointingly seems to be just another zombie game. Instead of the “realistic personal horror RPG about surviving the zombie apocalypse in an open sandbox environment” we seem to have video game silly-fare: special zombies à la Left 4 Dead, making special weapons à la Dead Rising, healing by drinking energy drinks…while there are loads of positive things said as well, comments like:

Sure, it may have shattered my disbelief, but…

are a great turn-off. While I don’t want to put down the game too much without actually playing it, I’m just disappointed that they didn’t really go for the unique approach they proclaimed earlier. From the gameplay trailers it pretty much looks like Left 4 Dead. That’s of course not a bad thing, but still.

Kotaku has a few articles on the subject. See this one for example.

World War Z

In a similar vein, the WWZ film seems to be taking a risky turn. Or maybe I should say risky in terms of fans, safe in terms of general public. The official plot description goes:

The story revolves around United Nations employee Gerry Lane (Pitt), who traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments and threatening to decimate humanity itself.

While this is an understandable choice – centering the movie on a character – I can’t help the feeling that this detracts immensely from the appeal of the story. The major thing that bugs me, however, is the idea of one person trying to “stop the zombie pandemic”. This sounds horribly unrealistic, like a James Bond/Jason Bourne vs. zombies scenario. This doesn’t mean that it’s going to be a bad movie. Just as with Dead Island, above, it’s about suspension of disbelief. For me that’s one of the biggest hurdles that zombie fiction needs to cross, and this doesn’t seem promising in that regard. Might still kick ass, of course, and Brad Pitt is great.

The Walking Dead

The big news here is of course Frank Darabont getting fired. How this will affect the series remains to be seen, but it doesn’t sound good on a gut level. There are all sorts of rumours and implications, so I suggest you check out the Hollywood Reporter article here.

With these news it still pays to keep in mind that these are much expected works. There are lots of expectations resting on each, and that inevitably colours opinions, news and reactions. We might still end up with three excellent pieces of zombie culture, so keep those fingers crossed.



  1. Im sorry to say that I am not hopeful for any of these franchises at this stage. Bummer.

    Dead Island was always going to have to be exceptional in order to keep up with the hype over the fantastic trailer. With the release of “Space Marine” the same day, plus “Gears of War 3” a week or so after that Dead Island is far down my game purchase list. I suspect that I will pick it up for about half cost at some point in 2012, assuming that the reviews of the full game are at least half decent. I found it difficult to get enthusiastic about either of the Dead Rising games and Dead Island looks like more of the same to me. Boo.

    While I get that cinema is a different media to literature and as such needs different emphases, I think that WWZ looks like its in trouble. If they want to make a race-against-the-clock-to-save-the-world from zombies movie then why bother using the WWZ source at all? Its not like what they are planning is an original concept. Its like the last episode of Walking Dead season one all over again. Bah.

    Frank Darabont always struck me as a slimy sycophant any time that I have seen him interviewed. His interview of Stephen King on the extras for “The Mist” is toe-curlingly embarrassing. But..

    Despite how “Hollywood” Darabont appears he generally makes exceptional movies. With that in mind it seems likely to me that that is largely why Walking Dead season 1 was so correspondingly good. Losing him from the next season cant be good. I also read somewhere that part of why he was fired was to do with disagreements over the final episode of season one, which we all know was crap. I foresee Walking Dead season two as having the artistic and creative integrity of “Terminator: The Sarah Connors Chronicles” or if I am feeling particularly negative “Relic Hunter”. Bollocks.

    Like you Mikko, I very much hope to be proven wrong about this, but it looks like the rot has set in in all of these franchises. Which is about as funny a turn of phrase as this news is.


  2. Bad news all round.


  3. I hope for the best but fear the worst. We can only wait and see what transpires but it does not look good, I’m sorry to say.


  4. Hey Mikko,
    I too was initially turned off of Dead Island by the negative reviews that swarmed the zombie community after its release…. However, I rented it, and it is a blast. An actual, proper zombie apocalypse would be almost impossible to make as a any kind of first or third person game. Maybe as a strategy game, but not as an RPG or FPS. The game is unrealistic, but what game isn’t? I agree that it would have been more zombiesque to have you have to eat, drink and sleep… and hide 90% of the time, like you would do during a Zed outbreak. But for the most part, the general public wouldn’t give a shit about playing a game like that. They wanna run around with a sledgehammer, tearing through zombies. Dead Island lets you do that.
    The quests are very in keeping with zombie outbreaks (meds, food, water, power, comms, transportation, etc…). The setting is novel, the supporting cast of survivors is diverse, once again in keeping with zombie cinema and such.
    Is it worth 60bucks? Heck no! But it promises to be hours of fun…


    • Hey Jules,

      I’ve actually been hearing a lot of good stuff about the game as well, so I guess it really manages to be better than I thought previously. Now I just need to get a machine that I can actually play the game on, my poor old PC would just cough a few times and pass away. Thanks for the info, I’m going to take your word on it.


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