The lights are on
Ray’s the Dead, featured in Sony’s E3 press conference, is a title to keep on your radar if you’re looking for a quirky zombie game experience.
Rather than the typical apocalypse scenario as a survivor forced to take on hordes of zombies, the main character is a zombie forced to grow his army of the undead to avenge his death.
Raymond Lamorte is not your average zombie. He is far more sentient and aware of his surroundings due to an odd device implanted in his brain. The game starts with recently resurrected Ray trying to figure out how he died while learning new ways to grow his number of zombie followers.
Gameplay focuses on raising zombies from freshly killed humans, as well as from graves of the recently buried. The player then uses the followers to complete tasks. Each type of zombie has its own strengths and weaknesses. While most zombies are clumsy and draw attention by stumbling into objects, certain types are able to be stealthier. A later companion includes an undead dog able to dodge bullets.
Ragtag Studio, the developer and publisher behind Ray’s the Dead, is working hard to bring many fun elements to the game. Ragtag plans to lend an ‘80s feel to the setting. That goal is achieved not only through music and background but also through pop culture and historical references of the time.
Narrative switches within this time period between flashbacks of Ray’s life and back to his undead state to tell the full story.
“We've worked hard to boil down the interactions to their very essence, making the game feel very intuitive,” says Matt Carter, Ragtag Studio co-founder. “We think that the experience of playing the two different stories of Ray will really captivate players of all skill levels, whether they're fans of zombies or not. "
Carter and his fellow creators Chris Cobb and Shawn Halwes all have extensive experience in the game development industry. While the three have each worked at large studios such as Activision, Ion Storm, and Disney, they appreciate the creative control possible with a smaller studio.
“Working for big studios, as we have, you don't get too far trying to pitch ideas like Ray's the Dead,” Carter explains. “In the off chance you are successful in that pitch, the likelihood that you get to have much, if any, input into the final game is slim to none. It’s hard to describe the level of satisfaction that having creative control over every aspect of the game brings.”
The smaller production scale does mean that some aspects of the game are still on the drawing table based on whether or not limited resources will allow for them to come to fruition. One such aspect is full voice acting.
“Ray's the Dead has a lot of fun characters and we'd like to bring them to life with full voice acting,” Carter says. “Currently the characters have a silly gibberish that we refer to as the ‘herpa derp.’ It works great for secondary characters, so we may meet somewhere in the middle with character voicing.”
Ray’s the Dead is priced at $20 and is expected to release in early 2014 for PlayStation 4, PC, Mac, and Linux.
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