With another year behind them, Stealth Studios have once again updated their Zombie Playground Kickstarter page with information about the shipment of scheduled rewards. One such reward, for tiers $30+, is the Zombie Playground OST, which features a rather startling omission. The original campaign had played up the involvement of hip hop artist, Aesop Rock. He’d created the background music used in the campaign trailer. The expectation being that he’d contribute more music after the campaign concluded. Instead, the majority of the game’s music was created by veteran musician, Shawn Lee. In fact Aesop Rock’s music doesn’t feature at all in the game or OST.
When an astute backer pointed this out, Stealth Studios admitted that they hadn’t been in contact with Aesop Rock and required his approval before the tracks could be added. This seemed like an odd oversight considering they’d gone to the trouble of listing him as part of the development team (above Shawn Lee).
A Lie Of Omission Is Still A Lie
Deciding to do a little journalism, I reached out to Aesop Rock myself through his Twitter account and heard back the same day. He confirmed that he hadn’t been attached to the project for some time. In fact he hadn’t realized the game had come out. So, why hasn’t Stealth contacted him or ever mentioned that he was no longer part of the project?
At this point all we have is speculation since Stealth Studios never responded to my inquiries. What I can determine is that there seems to be a lot more going on behind the scenes of Zombie Playground than the developers let on. The game’s whole development cycle has been troubling. The dev’s avoidance of clear, open communication with their backers has done nothing to ease this. It looks to be another case of a developer getting in over their heads and backers being the ones who (literally) pay for it.