Rebellion Developments’ Ryan Baker dishes the deadly dirt on defiling the sieg-heiling armies of the dead in Zombie Army 4: Dead War.
How have you upped the stakes for this fourth Zombie Army outing?
There’s a bevy of classic World War II weapons available for the player to use, and each has a variety of upgrades that make them wilder than in real life. Like, the electric shot upgrade that bursts the heads of zombies and then sends arcs of electricity out to other enemies nearby, knocking them stunned to the ground.
As for the zombies, we’ve got nimble creepers. Elites in armour. Suicide zombies. Chainsaw-wielding heavies. Shielded grenadiers. There are even zombie tanks and zombie sharks.
Zombie sharks? Is that a replacement for zombie Hitler?
The zombie shark is one of our new traps. Shoot the target on it and a jolt of electricity will bring it back to life for a few seconds, flailing around and chewing up any zombies – or players – nearby. And, hey, don’t think there aren’t any more surprises when it comes to zombie Hitler…
Do you really need a buddy – or three – to have a hope in hell of surviving the hordes of hell, or can you slay solo?
The number of zombies scales with the number of players, so you’ll get a good challenge whether you’re on your own or with friends. And you can choose to play as if you had more or fewer players, so if you want to take on four people’s worth of undead on your own, go ahead. Playing on your own, the game leans a bit more into the horror aspect, as you’ve lost the safety net of other players watching your back or reviving you if you get knocked down.
What changes when the difficulty shuffles up to higher levels?
Zombies will hit harder and take more shots to put down, meaning you really need to make your ammo count. On harder modes, your bullets are affected by gravity and wind, so long-range shots require a lot more skill. You’ve got to aim carefully if you want to blow an enemy sniper’s head off before he gets you. On the plus side, you can earn a lot more points.
How does Zombie Army 4 differentiate from what Call of Duty: Zombies fans might be familiar with?
Zombie Army 4 very much has its own style, ambience and feel, and it plays up hugely and lovingly to all those classic horror films from the ’70s and ’80s. You’ll see that across the large story campaign, a whole slew of creepy enemies and satisfying ways to kill them, and we’ve got our own spin on Horde Mode, too.
Where’d you look to for inspiration in terms of the arsenal of boomsticks and the music?
Nick D Brewer’s soundtrack is an homage to the music of both European and North American horror movies and B-movies of the late ’70s and ’80s. There are healthy doses of pulsing kick drums and bass, doomy synthesiser lines, and discordant piano melodies, all glued together with sporadic ‘what the hell was that?’ noises. The music has a real sense of retro dread throughout.
Nick and his audio team also treat their approach to sound design in the same vein. Everything from weapon sounds to gore audio, from creature vocalisations to environmental ambience: there is no room for subtlety. Everything must be as in-your-face and ghastly to the ears and mind as possible!
Zombie Army 4: Dead War is available now on PS4 and Xbox One.