Burn Zombie Burn! Developer Q&A

As gamers you can’t get tired of killing zombies. With such titles like Dead Rising, Left 4 Dead and Resident Evil 5, the zombie shooter genre is fast becoming the new gaming black these days. Burn Zombie Burn! is yet another zombie shooter which shuffles its flesh chomping way into the PlayStation 3, when it releases onto the PlayStation Network this coming Thursday. We caught up with its developer, doublesix, and fired over some monstrous questions to its Designer – Ollie Barder, who fills us in on the game.

So grab a pint of flesh and a bucket of brains, lets begin…

First of all, how are you? How is life at doublesix?
Life is good at doublesix, everyone is very cheerful and passionate about making games.

Awesome! For those people that have not heard about the game, tell us briefly what gamers can expect in Burn Zombie Burn?
‘Burn Zombie Burn!’ is an infinite play arcade arena shooter, where you play as Bruce taking on the undead horde with a selection of weapons whilst setting them on fire.

On Fire! As if killing them isn’t enough! So, zombies seem to be a latest trend in games recently, what made you decide to burn zombies instead of, say, bunnies?
When we started on the game, there weren’t many zombie games around but the reason behind choosing zombies is down to the fact the team love horror movies. They also felt they could inject a good sense of humour into a classically themed arcade game if it featured brain munching undead!

Mmm brains! How diverse are the themed levels? Can we expect different types of gameplay in each of these levels?
There are a total of six levels in the game, all of which feature a varied layout. This alone makes the levels play very differently. In addition each level has a unique event triggered by the Big Red Button (this is activated by attaining three consecutive weapon combos). Some of these are quite subtle, like the rain in the first level or quite overt like the air strike in the military base. The zombie and weapon spawning patterns are also catered for in each level as well, so you’ll see different things appearing across the levels.

Has there been any past game or movies that have influenced the development of BZB?
Well, the Woods is based on the cabin in the woods from Evil Dead 1 and 2. The second level, Graveyard, is a reference to Night of the Living Dead. Suburbia is based around Amityville and the Military Base is from Day of the Dead. The final level in the game, the Secret Lab, started out as being a reference to the zombie pods from the Resident Evil 2 film but ended up being more science-fiction themed. All the levels tried to infer a geographical narrative as well, with the player making their way from the woods into the heart of the research facility that supposedly birthed the zombies themselves (though there is also a possibility of extraterrestrial involvement as well, but I can’t go into details on that yet).

Most of the weapons were also inspired by films as well, with obvious examples being the cricket bat from Shaun of the Dead, the lawnmower from Brain Dead and the shotgun and chainsaw from the Evil Dead films.

That is a stellar line up of classic flicks there Ollie. So what innovations will there be in Burn Zombie Burn and what will ensure it stands out amongst other titles on the PlayStation Network?
The core mechanic of setting zombies on fire has interesting functional ramifications not seen in other shooters. Specifically, setting zombies on fire makes them faster and more dangerous to the player, but the number of zombies on fire is your score multiplier. So in order to score high and unlock the rest of the game you have to manage large groups of flaming undead without them killing you. It sounds simple but requires a lot of skill to maintain.

Were there any particular features that didn’t make it into the final game?
Being able to play as zombies in versus, this was something that ultimately didn’t work very well so it made sense to cut it.

For the average gamer, roughly how long does the Story/Campaign take to complete?
To get all the bronze medals for each of the 6 levels across the three modes (Freeplay, Timed and Defense) takes about 5-6 hours for a new player. Once you’ve done that and gained a decent understanding of the game’s nuances, it takes about another 6 hours to reach the silver medals (which unlock even more content). Getting Gold and Dev Medals takes much longer still.

So lots of gameplay, good. How about once the game is complete – Is there much replayability in the game to keep us coming back for more?
Well, it’s an infinite play arena shooter. So there’s a lot of replayability that is directly tied to how long you can last on each level. In addition, there’s a lot of replayability in unlocking the extra features such as the game’s vision modes.

Vision modes? Sounds interesting. Can we expect any multiplayer? Online and offiline modes? Any Co-op?
The game features offline co-op and versus splitscreen multiplayer for two players.

There is quite a range of weapons in the game; do you have a particular favorite?
Personally, I love the chainsaw. It’s very potent but has to be wielded with precision, like a turbo-charged scalpel. I like the fact that it needs skill and an understanding of how the game works to use effectively.

We’re also quite partial to a chainsaw. We love trophies too, could you tell us what kind of challenges us gamers will face in the game?
All the medals you unlock are tied to the Trophy system, so attaining all the Dev Medals (real scores that were set by people on the team, including me) is the game’s only Gold Trophy. Covering a level in zombie blood is another trophy.

Are you a GamerScore/Trophy junkie yourself?
Not really but I see why people enjoy chasing them.

Will there be an Xbox LIVE version of BZB? If no, is there any reason for this? If yes, do you have any idea when we can expect its release?
I’m not really allowed to talk about this, sorry. ☺

Awww ok. So from a developers point of view – Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3?
Both have their merits and we like working on both platforms.

…and from a personal point of view, which is your favorite console at the moment out of the two?
Personally, I’m a hardware agnostic. So I own all the consoles and don’t have any hardware preferences, I just see them as a means to play great games.

Besides Burn Zombie Burn, what else are you playing at the moment?
Super Robot Wars Z and Ketsui Death Label. I also recently played through Killzone 2, which was a lot better than I was expecting (as I wasn’t very fond of the first game). I’ve also been playing Resident Evil 5 over at a friend’s place.

Are you looking forward to playing any other particular games in the coming months?
Well, the digital download version of Virtual On Oratorio Tangram 5.66 is something I’m interested in nabbing when it comes out (though I’m worried how it will play without the twinsticks, as the version they’re releasing was balanced against that control method not a pad). Bar that, the new Chronicles of Riddick is something I have on pre-order.

Thank you very much for your time Ollie, we wish you all the best when the game releases to the gaming masses on March 26th on PlayStation 3.
No problem. Thanks for your interest in Burn Zombie Burn!

Look out for our review of Burn Zombie Burn! in the coming weeks, until then, let us know in the comments if our Q&A has given you a greater urge to taste some brains!

Anthony Barker

Anthony is the designer, developer and owner of Console Monster. In his spare time, Anthony is a keen gamer who enjoys playing mostly First-Person Shooters and Racing games. When he is not developing games or tweaking this site, Anthony likes to be on the slopes snowboarding or hurtling down off-road tracks on his mountain bike.

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