It is safe to say that Undead Blackout has not been a huge success and this should come as no surprise to anyone at all, least of all me. When the game first released on February 3rd 2017, I was exhausted and the game was an unfinished mess. It sold a few copies but not enough for the gold plated Lamborghini I crave and I had to settle for a gold plated Vauxhall Corsa.
The game was then given a massive update which landed just before Christmas and while this improved and fixed so many elements, it still hasn’t reached a level where I am happy enough to let it go. Crucially the game is slated to release on Xbox One through the ID@Xbox program but it just does not work on Xbox One. Not ideal really.
Part of me wants to just let it go and move on, another part of me wants to go back to the drawing board (for like the tenth time) and get it right. So guess which part has won this internal battle? That’s right, Undead Blackout has gone back to the now battered drawing board for one final time.
Over the past month or so I have been putting together an all-new version of the game which is currently sitting in a pre-alpha stage, ready to move into alpha. That is to say, the mechanics are all present but there is only one crappy level and the whole things looks ugly as sin. Crucially it is working absolutely perfectly on the Xbox One dev kit.
Every element of the game is going to be improved upon but perhaps where the biggest change will be seen is in the design of the levels. The existing levels were quite open in many instances and this led to a lot of wandering around looking for keys and ammo and often completely failing to find either. Also given the zombies had their own AI powered wandering you could often fail to run into them altogether.
The new levels will be a lot more focussed. I am not completely ditching the open aspects in favour of some crappy top-down corridor shooter, instead the levels will adopt a more even flow, taking the player through some narrower sections before opening out into a larger area and so on. The current plan is for 10 new levels, many of which will be based on existing level themes while a couple will be all new areas.
The gameplay is heading in a much more arcadey direction, the slight “top-down Resident Evil” vibe is vey much gone and this is much more toward the Smash TV x Left4Dead end of the spectrum. Even in the exceptionally basic test arena I currently have working, the game is arguably already more fun due to the increase in action.
Many other parts of the game will be thoroughly polished and improved upon and I won’t bother listing them here as that is just boring but shall detail them as we go through this rebuild process. I am hoping for weekly dev blogs and lots of updates on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
One final super important point (especially if you are thinking about buying the game), I fully expect that once the game has been massively improved and the amount of content has increased that I will push the price up from $3.99 to $4.99. Not a huge increase of course but still, if you want to save yourself a small amount of money then grab the game now.