All around you, the world has been taken to its knees. All you see is blood and fire, everywhere. You hear the groans of what sounds to be an injured man. You walk, slowly, only to find hoards of reanimated corpses. Instead of sneaking away, you pull out all the firepower you can muster and start gunning down everything. As the guns pound away, the blood begins to paint the floor. To the few who have made it close, you pull out a knife and cut their heads clean off. After every corpse falls back to the ground, again, you realize you are no different than these abominations. You are a soldier, a murderer, when in your past life you were just a simple, moral-driven human.
Zombie games. As gamers, we love to hate this genre because we beg for something different but are perfectly fine with the same game we are given, over and over. Whether it be Valve’s Left 4 Dead Franchise or the more recent Quick Silver creation, Dead Island, these games are about throwing hoards and hoards of zombies at you. But what if a company took the gamble on making a game where killing wasn’t the main objective. There may be a glimmer of hope on the horizon for the zombie genre lovers.
Naughty Dog’s, The Last of Us, which was unveiled at the Spike VGA’s, may be the game for which we’ve all been blood-thirsty. If the trailer is any indication of the direction this game is headed, we may be in for a treat. Although there are a few undead killed in the trailer, the trailer conveys a sense of despair. Naughty Dog forces the viewer to empathize with these characters and really key in on their hopelessness. Their sole factor to keep pushing on is not mowing down undead, but for one another, to somehow survive and thrive in the wasteland.
With the zombie genre becoming increasingly stagnant, a game developer like Naughty Dog can definitely resurrect it from the dead. The lack of any sort of emotional attachment to characters in this genre is depressing. In most zombies games, the story is an afterthought to the brutality. You are just a vessel of destruction mowing down everyone. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. The Last Of Us can save the genre if they don’t fall into the trap of needing a gun or a melee weapon smashing against the undead every second. Give us the harrowing tale of surviving amongst the dead, where every action can mean life or death. Force the player to realize the importance of finding rations and water to keep pushing on. Make the deaths of human character’s important, dramatic. Put the emotion back into the games.
I have high hopes for Naughty Dog in their venture away from the globe-trotting, comical world of the Uncharted franchise, to this more gritty, desperate game. The end of the world is featured in many games, but The Last Of Us could pump life back into the dying genre.