Let’s be real. MMORPGs tend to do poorly on crowdfunding platforms. Such massive undertakings by their very nature necessitate huge teams and budgets. Something most indie devs simply don’t have. Enter newcomers Zosky Games and their campaign for Apocalypse Dawn, “the first Zombie MMORPG with a breathtaking story.” This could get brutal.
In theory a zombie MMORPG sounds like great fun. Gamers love zombies and multiplayer. Why not get a game that can do both? If only anything was ever that simple.
It should be noted that despite its grand claims, Apocalypse Dawn actually isn’t the first zombie MMORPG with a story. Far from it actually. I suppose they can be forgiven for thinking as much though, because the games that have come before rarely stuck around long enough to make any sort of impression.
The campaign promises an interactive storyline with multiple paths and endings. This sounds more akin to a single-player RPG than an ongoing post-apocalyptic world. The page doesn’t reveal much of the plot of this supposedly “breathtaking story.” Presumably to prevent spoilers. That’s a shame really. It would’ve been nice to get an idea of what players could look forward to beyond the typical “discover the cause/cure of the zombie infestation,” that occurs in nearly every other zombie game, ever.
Done To Death
That’s because, and this may come as a shock to some of you, zombies get boring. The market is so over-saturated by the undead at this point that standard zombies are regulated to disposable minions in their own games. Only special and boss level zombies garner any sort of respect and even then they are just a challenge to overcome, not anything to be feared. Kill a few hundred and suddenly they are more of an annoyance than anything. Think about it, when was the last time zombies were the real antagonists on the Walking Dead? The real danger is always other (living) people.
Okay, so MMOs are hard to make and zombies don’t have a long shelf life. I freely admit that doesn’t mean the concept is impossible to pull off. It will just be unnecessarily difficult to do so.
My concerns aside, Apocalypse Dawn doesn’t look terrible. Developed in the Unreal Engine the game has some environmental mechanics that sound pretty fun. Players can interact with their surroundings, moving objects and leaving traceable footprints behind. It’s too bad these clever mechanics are bogged down by features to make it a proper MMO.
If Apocalypse Dawn was a multiplayer survival game like 7 Days To Die, I’d be all over it. Instead restrictive character class systems and MMO quest lines designed to play out the same for every character keep it from standing out.
In the end, the Kickstarter campaign fails to demonstrate why this particular zombie MMORPG would manage to succeed, when so many others have failed. MMOs have to deliver massive ongoing experiences that keep players engaged and returning for years. Apocalypse Dawn just doesn’t bring enough new life to the undead for that to work.