The dead walk the earth in the the zombie add-on for Red Dead Redemption, Undead Nightmare. While zombies are tres passe, Rockstar thinks it can put an original spin on them. Here's why:
"With Undead Nightmare, we have long wanted to find a way to make zombies interesting, and one of the ways that we thought we could do that was by putting zombies into an existing universe, so the player gets to see how characters they already know respond to the madness of a zombie outbreak," Rockstar's Dan Houser tells GameSpot. "This is, we believe, more interesting than creating a world that people do not know and using it purely for zombies."
The idea was to make Undead Nightmare a 1970s exploitation-type flick: During the day the set was used for a serious Western, but at night, the cast and crew made a crazy horror film.
According to Houser, the familiarity of the Red Dead world adds depth to the horror angle. "Zombies obviously add a new dimension to the world, and at the same time, the familiar world of Red Dead Redemption adds something from a narrative perspective to a zombie experience," Houser explains. "It gives it context and depth it would otherwise lack."
In short, the zombies aren't merely window dressing in this game. It's an unexpected direction.
"But of all the various bits of feedback we saw online, I don't think we ever saw the phrase 'what this game is missing is the super natural,' and that is part of what attracted us — it simply was not what people expected, and we felt we could make something that was interesting for us and would be very fun for fans."
House and his team have been responsive to said feedback and are planning on doing an update that lets players, if they wish, enjoy multiplayer free roam sans friendly fire.
On October 26, Undead Nightmare reacquaints us with Red Dead Redemption hero John Marston in an entirely stand-alone title. The game will also be available on a separate disc. As Houser tells GameSpot, Undead Nightmare is "not part of any Red Dead Redemption canon, if such a thing exists."
It does. Very much so.
Rockstar's approach is the reverse of what many game developers do: Introduce characters as the characters are placed in a scary environment. From what Houser is saying, the goal was to take characters players know (and love) and then put them in a nightmare. The stakes are higher and players have more invested in what's going on. And not to mention, the thought of John Marston on a zombie horse is a total curveball.
Red Dead Redemption Undead Nightmare Q&A [GameSpot]