ZombiU – New Details, New GamePlay Mechanic Revealed

Game Informer aren\’t the only publication to be revealing new Wii U information! The guys and gals over at ONM have published a preview of ZombiU with commentary by Guillame Brunier, the games producer. Rather excitingly, theres a new game-play mechanic revealed…


GamePad as a survival bag

“What really makes ZombiU stand out is that we’re on the Wii U and that we built the game from the ground up exclusively for the Wii U GamePad. When we first got our hands on the GamePad we were like what are we going to do with it – the two screens, a big controller – it was really puzzling for us and really pushed our creativity.

“Quite quickly we came to realise that we wanted this GamePad to be one of the objects that the players will use in the game so we turned it into the survival bag for everything you need to beat zombies, find food, stock food, stock ammunition, weapons. It will even turn into weapons like the sniper and crossbow. This physical object that you have in your hands will be an object that you use in the game.”

GamePad as a sonar

“We tell people that that’s your survival kit so if you hold onto this you will have chances to survive. If you don’t and if you run and gun, zombies will come at you and you won’t have any more ammunition and you will die.
“We’ve got features such as the sonar so if you want to know where zombies are you need to look down and get this information. At the same time, if you look down, the zombies are still running around on the main screen so it creates a tension because you can not look at the two screens at the same time and looking back and forth creates that tension.

“I want to know where the zombies are so I look down on my sonar, pinch it, see where they are and then I bring my head up again. The sonar is a feature that people won’t be forced to use because they can look at the main screen with their eyes but you will have more information thanks to the sonar.”

GamePad used to scan for upgrades

“By lifting your Wii U GamePad in front of the screen, you will unveil a lot of information that you don’t see with your eyes such as food, other items, weapons, ammunition. You will be able to scan the infected to see if they are carrying anything interesting.You can play the game without using the Scanning feature but it’s much less fun.

“You are going to get upgrades for the scanning feature all the way through the game. You are going to be able to scan more and more. At the beginning you can just scan trashcans, but later in the game you can scan zombies to see if they carry ammunition or food items but also the serum – that’s a gland that they have that you will extract from their bodies in syringes so that you can counter them when they try to beat you. This kind of item you can not find in the beginning of the game.

“Also, it can be used as a hacking device that not only reveals stuff but breaks stuff such as CCTV cameras. On the maps, you’ll see CCTV cameras so you scan them and take control of the cameras and your mini-maps on your GamePad will upgrade with the area that the camera is shooting so it helps you gain visibility on the map thanks to this scanning feature.

“So it will scan to uncover stuff that’s not visible to the naked eye but also help build your mini-map.”

GamePad used to pick locks

“The main thing that comes to your mind when you start using the GamePad is that it feels like a regular controller but it’s a bit wider. Apart from this it’s a regular controller. It feels great in your hands. We’ve mapped our controls like in most regular shooters so people won’t feel uncomfortable.

“The only thing that you need to get used to is that at the same time you have a classic way of controlling and a touch-based interface so people need to get used to thinking: ‘Oh, I can also touch the controller.’

“For example, we’ve got a mini-game that [involves] lock picking, so we get in front of the door on the main TV and press X to lock pick, then [the player] will look down at their GamePad and we’re in touch-based gameplay now. You need to move your finger on the lock to pick the lock. On a classic controller you would do this by pressing a combination of buttons and it doesn’t feel natural.

“It comes very easy. When you’ve done this step and each time you get a new interaction with the GamePad, you feel you can touch it again. It’s like having a tablet but with the control sticks and triggers. It’s like everything that Nintendo does. First step, it puzzles you a bit but you pick it up and it’s really good.”

Crafting weapons

“You’ve got the weapon upgrades. These are upgrades that you find in the world using the scanner or community messages at points – bigger ammo capacity for your handgun or another barrel for your shotgun.

“So you come back to your safehouse with your parts and then you’ve got a workbench in your safehouse where you’ve got a mini-game activity in which you just craft your weapon. That’s permanent. You will keep your weapon upgrades even if you lose your character. These weapons will stay in the world and when you get them back they are still upgraded.

“We also have player skills so if you start the game with Lucy [pictured above] she’s going to get used to shooting with the handgun so if she kills 50 zombies with the handgun she will shoot faster and reload faster.

“When you lose Lucy because she turns into a zombie you take Josh but he’s never used a handgun so it will be down to zero again. But if Josh finds the double-barelled shotgun that Lucy crafted, he will have the shotgun and won’t have to craft it again.”

GamePad used as a barricade (New)

“We tried to put as many GamePad features in the game so there are plenty of them. One of which we haven’t discussed before is that you will be able to barricade yourself. You will find planks in the environment and you can lift your GamePad in front of the door and tap the screen to nail the planks.

“I can assure you that doing this knowing that there are three or four zombies coming behind the door provides a lot of stress. Knowing that if you don’t do it right they will blow the door and come at your and bite you and kill you, it turns it into something very stressful in the context of a survival horror.”

To check out our gallery of screens, head here