Now 2017 is behind us, it's time to look into the murky waters of the future - 2018 beckons the weary. There is a veritable horde of Zombie projects on the go, some started in 2017, shambling ever onward into the dawn of this new year, some rearing their decaying heads for the first time and a despicable few, their bodies so mangled and torn by age, animated even before 2017, limp, drag and pull their bloated carcasses over the new year line.
Following a successful Indiegogo campaign, plans are underway to remake Italian cult classic film, Nightmare City, with none other than the legendary Tom Savini taking the director's chair. However, time and good fortune, just like the Zombie hordes it wishes to bring to the silver screen, have not been kind to this project. For over two years, the idea has been tossed about between financiers, no deal able to be struck, and the desired filming location of Puerto Rico has been devastated by a ruthless hurricane, leaving much of the island in ruins. Again, just like a Zombie outbreak, hope lingers on, faith in eventual salvation remains.
This restructuring of George Romero's classic film Day of the Dead, has me in two minds. Firstly, and most obviously, it's a Zombie movie - and one using Romero's amazing work as an inspiration. How could I not be excited for it? Well, the single trailer and the few clips of footage show a very different take on the Zombie's of old. Not only are they super-fast sprinters, the "half-human, half-zombie" Max (a nod to the semi-intelligent Zombie named Bub from the 1985 original) is a bit far-fetched - even for me. Still, all will be revealed very soon (possibly even before you read these words) as the movie hits US theatres January 5th, 2018.
This movie needs no introduction - the idea of a sequel to World War Z has been floating around the creative minds for Hollywood for what seems like decades. Now, this is definitely going to be controversial - not everyone liked the original and, to many of us undead-lovers, news that the sequel is now firmly on track will not be met with unbridled joy. Me though, while clearly worse than the awesome book by Max Brooks, I was dazzled by this massive-budget Zombie film and am more than willing to put the hype-train into 5th gear (do trains have gears?) for the sequel. Plot details are limited for now but we do know that Brad Pitt will return as former U.N. (United Nations) Investigator Jerry Lane as he scours the globe for the source of the Zombie plague and a way to halt its devastating spread. By far the best news however is that the attached director is none other than David Fincher, phenomenal talent behind Seven, Fight Club and Alien 3. A quote from Fincher fills me with hope:
"We’re hoping to get a piece of material that’s a reason to make a movie not an excuse to make a movie."
It's back - hallelujah! You may remember that way back in - err…, frankly, only god knows when this project started - George Romero's son, Cameron Romero, grabbed the putrid Zombie robes from his father and ran, hoping to continue the late Zombie-master's legacy with a Zombie movie of his own; Origins. The movie would tell the origin story behind the 1968 behemoth, Night of the Living Dead; where the Zombies came from in the first place. Now, messing too much with the biblical work of the Godfather, may seem like heresy (yes, I'm looking at you Day of the Dead: Bloodline) but, as Cameron has gone on record to say that his dad read the script and called it "genius", I am extremely, extremely excited for the film recently retitled Rise of the Living Dead. The frustratingly long period of time between the funding campaign ending and the loyal backers getting any updates on the status of the project has irreparably jaded my enthusiasm but, none-the-less, I remain stubbornly optimistic.
The premise for DEAD afterlife is definitely original; a murdered Pharmaceutical Scientist named Donald Conlee is a ghost, quietly witnessing his own funeral as ghosts do, before, heavens above, Donald's dead body bursts out of his coffin and starts eating people - death was only the start of Donald's problems! A mysterious Gatekeeper has given Donald's ghost a time-limit and should Zombie Donald not be back in the ground by the time-limit expires, Ghost Donald will be locked out of Heaven forever. To make matters worse, Donald's murderer is at the funeral, putting his girlfriend in mortal danger. Somehow, with the aid of only a disgruntled gravedigger and a hearse driver, Ghost Donald must solve both the above problems, defeating the Living Dead before they can rampage across the whole of humanity. With some known faces in the horror genre including Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th), Bill Moseley (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2) and Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes), this Night of the Living Dead meets Heaven Can Wait movie will be worth dying for.
As we all know, George Romero, Godfather of the Dead, very sadly passed away in 2017. Luckily, the minor inconvenience of being dead has not stopped this legendary film-maker from continuing the "of the Dead" series. Joking aside, the talented Romero senior was never going to direct this Zombie movie, instead passing the reins to second unit director of many of the "of the Dead" films, Matt Birman. Birman describes the film as Road Warrior meets Rollerball at a NASCAR race, with plenty of inspiration drawn from Ben-Hur. Notably, the film will see the return of Greg Nicotero and his Oscar-winning special effects group - expect some fantastic looking deadheads on par with excellent ambling corpses seen on The Walking Dead.
From weird upcoming Zombie movies, I now look at one mysterious entry which has already been filmed and premiered to a few lucky people, waiting for worldwide distribution. Anna and the Apocalypse is a Zombie musical. Yes, that's right - a musical. Set during Christmas, this entirely Scottish movie has seen rave reviews thanks in part to a director who was not shy with the gore or surprising deaths. I've no doubt that this film will be hitting the shelves soon - be sure not to miss it.
They are Billions took me - and the rest of the world, it seems - completely by surprise, sneaking up like a god-forsaken ghoul, creeping noiselessly while it stalks its warm-blooded prey. It is a real-time strategy (RTS) game for the PC in which, you, the player, take charge of the last remnants of humanity following a devastating Zombie outbreak. Harking back to the wonderful old days of Command & Conquer, you train soldiers, construct walls, erect towers, forge an economy, lay spike-traps and gather steampunk-inspired vehicles in an effort to hold back the restless dead. And you'll need all these resources too as a whopping 20, 000 Zombies will try their luck against your fortified settlement. With the playable, yet unfinished, game on Steam's Early Access and current reviews looking exceptional favourable, you can join the undying war right now - over 180, 000 of you already have!
7 Days to Die has been in development for a good few years now and, from the regular update videos, this is going to be one epic Zombie survival game. That said… I don't really have anymore information for you other than to simply state the game's phenomenal success on Steam Early Access, having just over a jaw-busting 2.8 million players! I do have a slight worry that the game will fall foul of feature creep - the most dreaded of all game development nightmares where a game continually bloats with more and more fantastic content, never to reach its finished form.
Just a quick update on the notorious multiplayer-focused Zombie survival game that needs no introduction. The DayZ mod for ArmA 2 has been available for years (it may even have been forgotten by some of you) but the standalone full-game version has lagged behind in Steam's Early Access for eons (okay, not literally 'eons' but an unmentionably long time). However, the company in charge of this game, Bohemia Interactive, have firmly stated that this, often delayed, game will leave Early Access in 2018 and that, this time, they really mean it. A BETA version of the game will be released first, allowing core gameplay mechanics to be polished, followed later by a release of the standalone game in its fully-functional and complete 1.0 iteration. A single-player mode was promised a while back but with no further word and the single-player survival genre becoming increasingly cluttered, I would not be surprised if this feature was left on the cutting room floor. The game will also release to PS4 (Playstation 4) and Xbox One consoles this year.
Following an astoundingly successful kickstarter campaign to generate development funds in the latter months of 2017, this unashamedly Canadian Zombie survival game will absolutely see the light of day. It definitely looks the part with detailed visuals and stunning lighting, I'm also loving the focus on the slow-moving living dead shamblers of old rather than the sprinting deadheads we see so much of today. Still, while the game is hidden away behind closed doors as development continues, I'm left searching for that spark of greatness that will make this game unique; a selling point that makes this atmospheric survival simulator standout from the crowd - as 2018 rolls on, more news is bound to follow.
State of Decay 2, sequel to 2013's sleeper smash-hit, is looking like it will follow the same bizarre colony-management structure as the original but be several times more badass. For a start the graphics have improved, the scope has increased with new, more extensive lands to explore, their will possibly be an increased emotional stand-point with infected people who can be cured but at the cost of resources, and the fluidity of survivalism to combat appears a lot smoother. Still, the final extent of the improvements will likely remain hidden until the game's release in spring.
I'm really not sure what to say about this one; it comes and goes, wowing viewers with breath-taking imagery of awe-inspiring World War Z style infected (perhaps even more awe-inspiring than in the official World War Z video game - more on that later), before vanishing, leaving an information void in its place, before, again, surfacing with new revelations, only to disappear once more. From what we saw in 2016, it appeared the game was very nearly ready - only a few short months until it graced the screens of PS4 players the world over. Sadly 2016, came and went, 2017 quickly following suit with no release or even firm release date. How will 2018 fair? It's anyone's guess at this point.
This one is really exciting - the tantalising prospect of a sequel to one of my personal favourite Zombie games of all time; one that dared rock the apple cart, making the tired old Zombie survival come shooter more of an emotional journey through an apocalyptic environment. Yes, it had a few flaws such as the very linear and narrow levels so, here's hoping, that Part II can improve as well as innovate. There is, however, very little set in stone yet with the game allegedly still a ways off complete - it may make the later half of 2018 but, early 2019, seems a better guess in my book. The only confirmed news is that it will have a darker story than the first game, with morally ambiguous "grey" areas; far less of the good guys and bad guys of the original. Hmmm... still frustratingly vague. Not to worry though; Naughty Dog, the game's developers, have promised that we will see some new footage at E3 2018.
It may seem an odd choice to develop a game based on World War Z, a film released back in 2013. However, whether hoping to share in the limelight of the highest grossing Zombie-film ever or simply to generate enthusiasm for the upcoming movie sequel, Saber Interactive have announced the 4-player co-op Zombie shooter set in the same undead-infested universe of the movie. Again, not much to go on other than the awesome - if annoyingly short - trailer. No official release date has been given but if this one is not out in 2018, I'll eat my own brain!
As most of you will be aware Telltale's The Walking Dead games follow the story of Clementine, from young girl to hardened survivalist, charting her relationships with others, good and bad - and somewhere in between. In 2018, her story comes to a close as, for one final time, players don that big D baseball cap and head out into the Zombie ridden lands of the dead. In this culminating adventure, Clem is on a mission to save Alvin Jr. aka. AJ - the rescued little boy that the group calling themselves "The New Frontier" took from Clem in season 3.
Remember that odd little Zombie game I reviewed a few years ago called Ben and Ed. The game followed an unusual Running Man theme where you played as a Zombie, forced to take part in a neon-filled game show in order to save your best friend; the human, Ben. In 2018 comes the sequel - in fact, the unfinished version can already be bought and played through Steam's Early Access model. In essence, the game remains the same but is more multiplayer focused and boasts a horde of new features including a nifty level editor and a way to customise the Zombie you control. I love games like this, ones that aren't afraid to rock the boat, that see a gap in the market and shove a festering Zombie head through it!
Strangely, I just can't find the energy to write about this game that has gone through hell at least once and is now going back to buy the T-shirt. First announced in 2013 with scarce detail other than it is coming from Overkill Software, the brains behind the Payday game series. Since then, the years have rolled by with nothing new to go on - the game infrequently being re-announced with a new trailer or, so-called, gameplay footage. In December of 2017 came the latest re-announcement that the game will follow a group of survivors as they struggle to stay alive in the Zombie lousy streets of Washington D. C.. And guess what? It's another 4-player co-op Zombie shooter. Okay, I'm being a bit cynical as the Zombie genre seems to be crawling with 4-player co-op Zombie shooters such as Left 4 Dead 2, the Call of Duty Zombie modes and Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, but there are some ear-tickling mentions that suggest this may be different from the norm; "role-playing", "stealth", "survival horror". Still, with memories of the abysmal The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct haunting my brain, hopefully Overkill can bring us the action game set in The Walking Dead universe that we all deserve.
I'm starting to lose faith in Dead Island 2 - the sequel to 2011's legendary 'tropical-island-holiday-gone-wrong' Zombie game. The game's development story has been as tough as you can get with publisher disagreements, three different development companies, delays, lack of information and a varying view of where the franchise should go. Don't get me wrong, I love the Dead Island series of games and would love nothing more than a superb sequel to smash all opposition like decaying Zombie skulls, I just don't believe in a future where that can happen. However well publisher Deep Silver says Sumo Digital is progressing with the game, after this much of a delay in getting any concrete information or even a single screenshot, I just cannot see anyone caring that much. Sorry.
Now for something a little cheerier (and, it is only a little cheerier); the hugely anticipated Resident Evil 2 remake!!! Honestly though, that's all anyone can say at this time - it is being made, it exists and it is coming. Capcom has stated that the remake will be available "soon" (which could mean, well anything really). Expect to know more as the year progresses.
Perhaps a cheeky entry of my own; Project Rome, the game I am developing independently, will be continued throughout 2018. I wish I could write that it will be playable in an unfinished form in 2018 but I honestly believe it is not going to be gracing the hard drive of a PC near you until early 2019. That said, I'll be keeping up with the Dev Diary of the Dead so, whenever significant progress is made, you'll know about it.
A personal highlight of 2017 was becoming an amateur Zombie actor with Dundee-based company, Castle Horror - even getting a certificate to prove it! Castle Horror host scare events such as DEAD ZONE - where groups of the public were taken round the Zombie-packed outskirts of a castle by armed officers and forced to complete tasks before ultimately meeting UK Negan - and Castle Scream - a traditional Zombie-maze for Broughty Ferry carnival goers to wander through, getting freaked out by caged ghouls. What will 2018 bring? More of the same or freakish new terror outings for me and the other Zombies to scare the pants off you? Either way, I cannot wait to return to "the dream come true" that is, pretending to be dead.
Z Nation - TV's other notable Zombie show - has been quietly gathering pace since season 1. Just before the fourth season came to a close, Syfy announced that it had renewed the brain-busting, comedy Zombie show for a fifth season - huzzah! No details have spilled from the cooperate bigwigs upstairs yet but at least we know the usual cast of characters won't be left standing at the edge of the massive cliffhanger left at the end of season 4, for all eternity.
Ok, so this one is a kind of defunct entry - everyone knows that The Walking Dead, perhaps the world's favourite Zombie show, is coming back for a new series. Well, actually, at the time of writing, no such renewal has been put in place. Normally, I would laugh this off as cooperate tardiness but this year, I'm not so sure. The 100-episode behemoth has been struggling of late with number of viewers falling to a current low of just 7.85 million viewers, the lowest it has been since the controversial second series. However, don't get into a panic just yet, Walking Dead fans. 7.85 million viewers is still a staggering amount - most TV shows can only dream about figures like that - so I'm sure that Rick Grimes and fellow band of roughneck survivors will keep on walking, into 2018 and beyond.
The little brother to The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead will be getting a fourth season in 2018, and, better yet, Morgan from the main show will be making an appearance in this spin-off. It will be utterly fantastic to get a greater understanding of the backstory surrounding one of The Walking Dead universe's most memorable characters. As usual, though, plot details remain elusive at this point.
2018 is undeniably packed with Zombie projects in the works - films, games, TV series and more. In this lengthy article, you can catch up on all of them. Highlights include the Resident Evil 2 remake, The Walking Dead season 9 and, prequel to George Romero's masterpiece, Rise of the Living Dead.