Think Duke Nukem Forever (opens in new tab) was a long time coming? Or that the newly (sort of) announced Earthworm Jim 4 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab). 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.