Zombies: The Awakening is a canceled survival-horror first-person shooter developed by Krysalide for the PC, Playstation 2 and Xbox around 2003-2004 for a release planned in the beginning of 2005.
Using the Unreal Engine 2, Zombies: The Awakening was the first game from a small team composed of 15 people. Few is known about the game itself apart from the official announcement on the old website that we can now find everywhere on the Internet:
“Mix of FPS and survival/horror. Balance between action and adventure to offer a varied experience to the player.
Interactive use of the surroundings in order to survive in the besieged town : find objects to block paths, use electricity or gaz to forge a path to freedom. Find food and medication to save your skin and that of other survivors.
Beware the contamination… zombies attacks will slowly turn you into one of them… See your body changing, becoming slow and clumsy, but also more resistant to bullets and other attacks. But will you find a cure in time ? Find medikits, ingredients to a serum and use the sickness to your advantage.
Find other survivors. Each will bring new skills in medication, combat, electronics… and each one will have a different personnality and weaponry.
When ammo is sparse, use other mayhem devices : electric drill, molotov cocktail, and many more…
Half of the city is plunged in darkness. If you want to avoid surprises, find reliable light sources.
20 hours of intense gameplay, 11 levels to test your survival instincts, 20 weapons and 12 sidekicks.
Various and dangerous enemies, with different behaviors and intelligence. Hordes of living dead, squad based military, zombies, and bikers from hell ready to plunder town…”
On December 2003, a developer from Krysalide was interviewed by Ownt and shared more about the game:
“Zombies is a first-person shooter created to replicate the vibe of Resident Evil while offering the freedom of movement of a first-person game. Krysalide hopes to avoid the heavyweight competition of FPS by standing out for the gameplay peculiar to any good survival horror game.
The game will last about 15 hours and will be a series of missions and puzzles placed on a linear frame. Each mission will allow you to meet a new secondary character with his own weapon and special skills.
The project is ambitious, especially since it is planned to integrate into the game a substantial multiplayer part that the developer of Krysalide compares to Counter Strike with zombies in the center and on each side of the character classes (bikers, soldiers, police officers, survivors).”
However, after some gameplay was revealed initially on February 2004, the game vanished before French website NoFrag was informed from the CEO of Krysalide himself, Loïc Barrier, that it was definitely canceled due to lack of publishers interested in the project:
It’s been a year since we last talked about Zombies: The Awakening, and for a good reason: today I had confirmation from Loïc Barrier, the boss of Krysalide, that the game will never be released. It was canceled, apparently a while ago, when Krysalide realized that no publisher would accept the project as the developer had designed it.
We can speculate that it was too ambitious for a first game from a small team of 15 people that had never made before their own game.
After the cancellation of Zombies: The Awakening, Krysalide would still work as an outsource company on various projects made by French developers such as The Crew and Dishonored 2 before disappearing.
Article by Daniel Nicaise
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