A Q&A with The Dead Linger
Anyone who has spent their time crawling the search engines looking for that true, open-world sandbox zombie game would have surely come across The Dead Linger. I know I did, and I haven’t looked back since! But for those of you who are truly unaware of this game being developed by the folks over at Sandswept Studios, The Dead Linger puts the focus back on the zombies, and of course, survival! After all, in a zombie apocalypse zombies will pose some kind of threat? Won’t they? Unlike the majority of games, The Dead Linger features a a massive, procedural world, similar to that used by Minecraft where the world is generated as you move along. But not only that, the zombies are as much of a threat as the humans, if not actually more so for a change. Be prepared to come across massive hordes of zombies who only want one thing. You!
While currently in Alpha, The Dead Linger is constantly being updated, adding more fundamental features to the game with each build. Geoff Keane from Sandswept Studios has kindly provided us with a Q&A to answer some questions about TDL and detail what we can expect in future builds of the game.
Q: What Inspired you to make The Dead Linger?
A: I was inspired quite some time ago (probably about 6 or 7 years ago) by The Walking Dead graphic novel. I started designing and building this game in my head long before code ever touched the idea. It just so happens that until recently, we haven’t had the team or the means to create it, and now that we have - we are! Some other large influences have been the Dawn of the Dead movies (old and new) as well as the eery loneliness found in the 28 Days/Weeks Later movies.
Q: Since zombies have become hugely popular in games this last year or so, have you learned from the mistakes some games have made, or from the success they have had and how has that influenced The Dead Linger?
A: We’ve kept our eyes on what other games are doing, but we find time and time again that our original vision of the game remains to be the truest form of what we want to do, and we’re sticking to it. The other games out there have little bearing on where we’re heading and what we plan to do with the genre.
Q: What makes The Dead Linger unique compared to the zombie games currently released/in development?
A: We’re focusing on the core antagonist of the zombie survival genre - the actual zombies. I won’t speak for other games, but The Dead Linger is offering a true zombie survival experience, where the survival is from the zombies themselves, and hordes of them at that. Free-form barricading, a massive, procedural world, and zombies sticking true to the classic genre of a mindless, slow, relentless horde are just some of the things we’re bringing that the zombie genre has yet to see. Where most games taking the route of run and gun action, we’re stepping back and saying “Where did zombies start and what made them actually scary? What makes the zombie apocalypse so alluring? Let’s go back to those roots.”
Q: Within The Dead Linger world, will players be able to encounter NPC’s? And if so will some of these be hostile?
A: While TDL is primarily meant to be surviving alone or with a group of your friends, we acknowledge that some people want some different interactions, and so do we at Sandswept. We do have some plans for NPCs, covering all the ranges of survivors you would meet, from military personnel still clinging to their orders, to a crazy old man with a sniper rifle, or the occasional companion NPC to help out here and there. We’re going to add them in a bit later in the process, and we’re not going to tell the survivors much about it in advance. We want to see how you deal with the encounters you face, just like you would in the real world.
Q: I know that currently TDL is only first-person, is a third-person view planned? Also will there be character customization at full release?
A: We have discussed a third person option, but at this time, The Dead Linger is intended to be an immersive, first person experience. We may add an option (and allow servers to disallow it) for third person view later on, though it’s never really lined up with my vision of the game. We do have some intense character customization planned, starting with clothing, and going much more in depth as time progresses. Zombies will also be using this system for a ton of variety in your foes.
Q: Is it important for you guys that The Dead Linger feels realistic, while at the same time still being fun? Are you aiming for a survival simulator?
A: It’s extremely important that fun wins out. We are aiming for a realistic zombie survival simulation, while still maintaining that it is an adventure game. We want you to go out there and have fun, and not feel like the real-world elements are constantly dragging you down. We will be adding loads of realistic features, but if one is threatening to harm the fun of the game, we may take some liberties with it to ensure it’s enjoyable, and not just a pain. Some hardcore survivors out there may find this disheartening, but I can promise the game will never become easy in favor of fun — just fun in favor of 100% realism. Realistic or not, if the game isn’t fun, it just isn’t fun to play. That holds true for any game, ever.
Q: What kind of graphics are you aiming towards for release? And will that have a huge impact on the system requirements?
A: We are aiming for as realistic as possible while still allowing the game to run on lower end machines (with various graphics options to control it.) We can’t really say for sure what level of graphics, but we are definitely making a game for the modern age.
Q: For anyone who is unsure whether to buy into The Dead Linger Alpha, why should they?
A: We know a lot of people are on the fence about The Dead Linger, either because it’s still in Alpha, it looks fun but isn’t quite there, or for any number of reasons. The best reason to pick it up now is that when you do so, you get to directly influence the direction of the game with your feedback, you get it discounted and keep it forever (you own the alpha, beta, and final version,) and every pre-order helps us develop. If you want to see the ultimate zombie survival game, pre-ordering now ensures we have the funding and time available to make it a complete reality. (If you don’t want to pre-order, you can still help out by voting Yes on Greenlight and pick it up later!) [link: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=143871106]
Q: What can we expect to see in the next few update?
A: The next update is the Big Engine Change. We’ve taken a bit of time to rebuild The Dead Linger in a new engine, bigger and better than before, to gain all sorts of benefits, from tools to performance. That is Build 010. Once that is released, we’re working on Build 011, which will feature a lot of cool new things, from campfires to hunting, and really expanding what there is to do in the forests of the world.
Q: When can we expect to see the full release of The Dead Linger?
A: We don’t really know yet. The Dead Linger is an iterative process, and the final release date is a bit ambiguous this early in Alpha. Stay tuned, and Linger on!
If you are interested in playing The Dead Linger, you can purchase it now from their official website at http://www.thedeadlinger.com/iwanttolinger. Buying the game now gives you access to every future build from Alpha through to final release! You can also head to their website to find out more information about TDL.
And remember to vote “YES” on Steam Greenlight to see The Dead Linger on steam!