How The Typing of the Dead: Overkill almost ended up in the grave
The Typing of the Dead: Overkill is a mix between a shooter and a typing instructor where you kill zombies by typing out letters and words. It was released by Modern Dream in October but was originally developed by Blitz Game Studios, however speaking to Giant Bomb, former Blitz project manager Ollie Clark revealed how the game nearly wasn’t released due to the studio’s financial troubles. Blitz Game Studios won the contract with Sega in part thanks to their experience porting the House of the Dead: Overkill engine from Wii to PlayStation 3, and began working in June to turn House of the Dead: Overkill into a typing game. They had to release it within six months. However the game nearly never made it’s Halloween release date.
According to Ollie Clark, he said that on the morning of September 12, he found out the studio was going into liquidation. He told Giant Bomb, “I went and spoke with a colleague of mine, Tom Weston, who was the company manager of business affairs at the time, and just spoke to him and said ‘What are the chances of getting this game out?’ And he said ‘Not a chance.’ That would normally be the end of it. We would do what studios do when they go under, which is go down to the pub and drink our sorrows away.”
Clark had been working on developing his own game on the side under the name Modern Dream and had been in discussions about setting up his own studio. Clark and Weston held a meeting with Sega to convince them to give them a chance to finish off the project under this newly formed studio. Thankfully Sega agreed and offered them a place at a local development studio.
“They (Sega) very kindly, and at their own risk, decided to support us in finishing the game,” said Clark. “So we met as a team on a Sunday, and decided that we were gonna do it.”
“It was blind luck, really, that Sega just happened to have a development studio in our town,” said lead designer and writer Jonathan Evans. “There’s not a lot of towns that can actually boast that. We could have been anywhere else in the country, and been in a lot of trouble. Possibly terminal.”
Amazingly, there were only four days of downtime on the project, despite all the issues which had arose and needed sorting out for the project to even have a chance to carry on. The game was only announced by Sega on Halloween morning, before being released on Steam later that day.
It’s not every day that a studio goes into liquidation and comes out of it with a finished project, which is credit to both the developers, who were willing to do whatever it took to make sure their game made it out, and Sega for believing that they were still able to fulfill creating Typing of the Dead: Overkill.
Sources: *Giant Bomb