Open-World Zombie Survival Shambles Slowly Towards Xbox Live ArcadeS

Code name Class3 is not an action game with zombie targets. It's an open-world zombie survival game, and it's coming to the Xbox Live Arcade courtesy of Undead Labs and Microsoft Game Studios.

What's the difference between a game with zombies in it and a zombie game? A game with zombies in it could just-as-well be a game with feral kittens in it, or a game with really slow-moving Nazis. It's a shooter of some sort with enemies that just happen to be the walking dead.

That's not what Seattle based Undead Labs is bringing to Xbox Live Arcade.

In Class3, humanity has been wiped out, and the last few survivors of the zombie apocalypse need to band together to survive. The player takes control of one of these survivors and guides the rest in figuring out where to set up their settlement, when and where to raid for supplies, and how to fortify their encampment. The world changes in real-time based on what the player does.

"Undead Labs is thrilled to work directly with Microsoft to bring Xbox 360 players an outstanding zombie-survival franchise," said Jeff Strain, founder of Undead Labs. "Our mission is to create original online games that truly feel at home on the console platform, and Xbox 360 is a fantastic platform for online console gaming. We plan to create an ambitious open world XBLA game and use its gameplay, setting, and technology as the foundation for a full online world game."

What's being described is slightly different than what I envisioned when Undead Labs formed back in 2009. In 2009 ArenaNet co-founder and now Undead Labs founder Jeff Strain said they were going to build an MMOz - a massively multiplayer online zombie game - for consoles. It was the best idea for a new MMO I'd heard in ages. A full-fledged online zombie survival game is still in the works, however, and Class3's technology will be used as its foundation.

So this isn't an MMO, but it's still better than a simple zombie shooter. There'll still be guns and gore, of course, but there'll be much more than that in store when Class3 comes calling on Xbox Live Arcade.

"We are proud to collaborate with Undead Labs on the creation of a new game for Xbox 360," said Matt Booty, general manager at Microsoft Game Studios. "The Undead Labs team has a successful track record making innovative online games, and we are excited to support them as they bring their experience and talent to Xbox LIVE."

Stay tuned to the Undead Labs website for more on the development of Class3.

Thanks to Mr. Plunkett for the zombie game versus action-game with zombies distinction.