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Forget Duke Nukem, THIS is the longest-delayed sequel ever (and you probably didn't even know it was a sequel)

Think Duke Nukem Forever was a long time coming? Or that the newly (sort of) announced Earthworm Jim 4 was trailing hard behind its predecessor? Forget them both. An upcoming game that you almost certainly know about is actually a sequel coming 26 years after the last game in its series. In fact it's coming so late that you probably didn't even know it was a sequel at all.

That game? The Wii U's ZombiU. Like me, you probably initially thought that its oddly-spelt title was a reference to the console it's launching on, but in fact its origins lie far deeper in the cold, festering ground than that. You see ZombiU is a sequel to a game called Zombi. Zombi launched in 1986 on the Amstrad CPC home computer. And it was in fact, Ubisoft's first published game. 

It looked like this:

ZombieU looks like this:

I can forgive you for not making the connection.

But delve a little deeper and it's obvious from where Zombie U's unholy, misshapen DNA spurts. Ubisoft's new game, you see, isn't a simple FPS. It's a tense first-person survival-horror, with an emphasis on inventory management, serious repercussions for slipping up, and a terrible penchant for distracting you from the main action just as a pongy skull-nibbler is coming round the corner.

The original Zombi was a first-person adventure game (with real-time, click-to-pop-head zombie-killing action) set in a Dawn of the Dead-style shopping mall. It put an emphasis on inventory management, had serious repercussions for slipping up, would throw in the distraction of pongy skull-nibblers while you were trying to do adventure and exploration stuff, and shared its most unique and striking repercussion for failing to deal with said lurching organ-bags with ZombiU.

Above: Also, it had the best title screen ever. Now if Ubi would just bring back that awesome '80s logo

Both games, you see, feature a rather natty multi-character zombification mechanic. In Zombi, you had four protagonists to play as. Should one of them be killed, he or she would return as a zombie, roaming the area of the game in which they died, nicely ripe (to be fair, over-ripe and rotting) for a picking off by the next character. ZombiU does the same thing, only it uses it as a narratively-justified respawn mechanic.

Get killed in-game and you'll restart the last checkpoint as a different survivor, devoid of all the the equipment and supplies you'd picked up with your previous character. Find his don't-know-when-to-quit corpse shambling around however, and once you've double-killed it you'll be able to loot it and get all of your stuff back.

 

So yeah. One of the Wii U's launch titles is a sequel 26 years in the making. I know Nintendo consoles have an unfair reputation amongst their detractors for being filled with recycled old IP, but this is ridiculous.

But seriously though Ubi, that '80s logo. Bring it back.

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22 comments

  • bass88 - July 25, 2012 3:48 a.m.

    Judging by some of these comments, I doubt you'll ever attempt a joke again, Mr. Houghton.
  • LKJHGFDSA - July 22, 2012 4:04 a.m.

    Like RacattackForce already said, it's more of a remake than a sequel. and it wasn't really planned either, the game used to be titled "Killer freaks from outer space" and it was a cod-like zombie engine with cartoonish dog aliens. Then they changed the project to this dead island-like game. and the game was (code) named "Zombie" before it was ZombiU. It'd seem they called it that because they simply put zombies in their Killer Freaks game and built some stuff around that. Kinda half-assed IMO. I imagine the creative process of the game was like "Uhhh, so we wanna make a game for this new console, any ideas?" "Well uhhhh, Call Of Duty is pretty popular." "Oh yeah, so we'll make something like that, but it can't be an exact clone." "Hmm... what else is popular, what theme" "2012, the world ending, the apocalpse" "Yeah let's make this game with the world ending. but how will it end?" "Duhhhh, aliens?" "Great, let's do that." then that flunked, so they switched to zombies. Keeping the same 'run towards to the camera' coding and all that. So yeah, this game IMO is no where near comparable to big sequels which took forever to make. It's a half-arsed cash in. Oh yes, and to all the readers giving this schmoe credit for finding the link between these two games, the creators/guys involved with the game mentioned the similarity between the two during E3 when they revealed the game.
  • Gamer_Geek - August 4, 2012 9:24 a.m.

    Call of Duty is a massive cash-cow. A story which is running out of ideas, and game play which is recycled with new maps (older maps are being updated now) and newer weapons; old weapons which have new attachments. I'm not a big fan of FPS, but can some developer produce a FPS with a better story and game play, which would end the reign of COD in the military FPS market?
  • ub3rfry - July 21, 2012 7:33 p.m.

    Wow, consider that point missed!! DNF Was in "Development" for ever & a year, Zombi was never planed for a sequel, so like I said, point missed.
  • usrevenge - July 21, 2012 12:20 p.m.

    came expecting begging for the over rated half life sequel Left presently surprised. What if this game takes place before during or after the original zombi
  • talleyXIV - July 20, 2012 3:58 p.m.

    Holy balls that gameplay was intense. This game will be one not to play at night. I might shit my pants.
  • IceBlueKirby - July 20, 2012 3:50 p.m.

    I had no idea Zombi existed, then again it's as old as I am. It's an interesting little bit of info, that's for sure.
  • evilpacman18 - July 20, 2012 2:51 p.m.

    I hadn't seen that gameplay trailer. This game looks really good actually/legitimately scary.
  • bash street kid - July 20, 2012 2:49 p.m.

    Haven't heard anyone mention this before, nice article. I'll put this out at the pub later and raise a few eyebrows (yes, even game geeks like a shandy now & then).
  • J-Fid - July 20, 2012 1:51 p.m.

    You learn something new every day.
  • spaced73 - July 20, 2012 1:26 p.m.

    one tough game had it on spectrum one wrong corner and you were greeted by a room of zombies
  • archnite - July 20, 2012 8:43 a.m.

    This is my favorite article of the weak.
  • archnite - July 20, 2012 8:48 a.m.

    Guh "weak" now I just look like an idiot. The respawn sounds cool, reminds me of demon souls. DO you become a special infected or is this game not going for that?
  • rxb - July 20, 2012 7:54 a.m.

    Bloody hell, well found Hooters.
  • CitizenWolfie - July 20, 2012 6:53 a.m.

    Cool bit of trivia there, nice one David! I'm liking the theme of inventory management playing a big part. I think it should add a bit of depth to the usual zombie shooter. I also read somewhere else today that if you die, you stay dead and instead start as a new character somewhere else. That pretty much sways it for me.
  • blahman01 - July 20, 2012 6:36 a.m.

    Yeah you definitely missed the point. Must be a slow news day.
  • KnowYourPokemon - July 20, 2012 5:22 a.m.

    I think you kind of miss the point. Duke Nukem Forever is the longest delayed sequel in terms of how long it actually took them to make the game. They were making it for over a decade. Not waited 15 years and then started working on it. If we were going by how long between games it took them 26 years to release another Kid Icarus game.
  • GR_DavidHoughton - July 20, 2012 5:55 a.m.

    Point not missed. I was however, using artistic license. And besides, the definition of 'delayed' is fairly malleable depending on context.
  • ParagonT - July 20, 2012 8:17 a.m.

    How can something be "delayed" if it was never planned to be made exactly? I could say anything in the future is just being delayed in that context. Nice article by the way, didn't know about the old game.
  • KnowYourPokemon - July 20, 2012 9:54 a.m.

    Even in that case you would still consider Kid Icarus q bigger delay than Duke Nukem. In order for something to have been considered 'delayed' it has to have been expected in the first place. If not I could just say that the sequel to X game from 20 years ago has been a huge delay because it hasn't been released/announced yet. So yeah, point pretty missed.

Showing 1-20 of 22 comments

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