Soldak Entertainment has been making games as an independent studio for the past 12 years. A hallmark of many of the titles they have produced has been the depth in their mechanics, from taking on quests to save a village to managing diplomatic relations all while set within the trappings of an action-RPG. We spoke with lead developer and founder Steven Peeler about their latest game, Zombasite, and how it goes beyond even what they've accomplished thus far.
Co-Optimus: Thanks for taking the time to answer some of our questions about Zombasite! This is the fifth title you've released over the span of 12 years and, in some ways, it seems to be the most ambitious. Do you see this as the culmination of certain ideas and features from previous titles?
Steven Peeler: Zombasite is definitely the most ambitious game we’ve ever made. It is much larger than any of our previous games in pretty much any measurable way. I wouldn’t quite say it’s the culmination since that implies that we won’t do even better in a future game, but we’ve certainly greatly improved some major gameplay systems such as the dynamic world and the clans over the span of several games.
Co-Optimus: What's something new that Zombasite brings to the table?
Steven: That greatly depends on what we are comparing Zombasite to.
Compared to other action RPGs, Zombasite has a dynamic world that changes based on what the player does or doesn’t do, what the other clans do, and even what the monsters do. It also has lots of zombie mechanics like how you get infected, what can cure infections, what can detect infections, and even mutations that can make the plague even worse.
Compared to other zombie games, the biggest difference is that Zombasite is in a fantasy setting instead of the more common modern day setting. With a fantasy setting you have medieval weapons and armor, magic, fantasy type classes, non-zombie monsters, and more.
Compared to our previous games, there are a ton of new zombie monsters, new classes/skills, new skill mechanics like traits and support skills, better unique monsters (more tactics, taunting, better enhancements, etc), better graphics (normal/spec maps), new clan mechanics, lots of new quests, crafting mechanics, and a lot more.
Co-Optimus: One of the more interesting features of Zombasite, to me, is how the world doesn't seem to wait for you to act. Quests will come and go (which may lead to some serious problems for your clan), NPCs will fight with one another, and clans/enemies will act in their own interests to further their power. It's very impressive but I can't help but wonder why. Why go to such lengths for an action-RPG?
Steven: Why wouldn’t you want the game world to dynamically respond to everything? :) Personally I think the dynamic world makes everything more immersive and adds a lot of replayability. You never quite know what is going to happen. I’m even surprised sometimes and vow to get revenge on some NPC that betrayed me when I wasn’t expecting any trouble.