Robert Bowling is ready for his close up. The former Activision/Infinity Ward Creative Strategist – who resigned from that position in March, hesitant to spare harsh words – recently landed at the helm of his own studio, Robotoki, and expressed the desire to create a “people first” developer atmosphere around the premise of quality over content.
Little over a month later, the world is already getting its first glimpse at exactly what he meant, with the reveal of zombie-apocalypse exposé Human Element.
One of the many mysteries surrounding Robotoki when it first formed was how closely Bowling’s first game would resemble the stylings of Activsion’s Call of Duty series. Indeed, Human Element just so happens to be focused on one of CoD’s greatest assets in recent years – the flesh-eating undead – but gamers might struggle to draw any parallels beyond diets. In an interview in the next edition of Game Informer revealing the game (which was teased on the magazine’s website) Bowling intimated that Human Element runs deeper:
“Their greatest strength is the fear that [zombies] instill in us, the survivors, that unreasonable fear. Unreasonable fear that leads us to do unreasonable things to survive.”
Where games like The Last of Us are also predicated on portraying the inert danger of humanity, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, Human Element seems to draw – perhaps from Bowling’s time spent working with Call of Duty – on customization and class-based gameplay options. Players will start the game choosing between three distinct character classes – Action, Intelligence, and Stealth – and then proceed to modify their place in the game world with three different identities – Survive Alone, Survive with a Partner, and Survive with a Young Child. According to Bowling, these choices can impact the entire experience:
“How you choose to start in the world will determine how you can engage and impacts the scenarios you will be presented with on a physical and morality level.”
Typical of a newly-announced project, the game is still being painted in very broad strokes. Will it be a first person shooter, the style of play lived and breathed by the developers at Infinity Ward? A third-person RPG that stresses character appearance, customization, and intimate interaction with a detailed environment? Based on the first artwork release for Human Element, the latter seems like a better guess, but nothing was confirmed right off the bat.
Just as interestingly, though, Human Element is reportedly poised for a 2015 release on next-generation consoles, PC, mobile devices, and tablets. While there’s been no shortage of developers commissioning their next-gen workforces recently (Bowling’s former studio, Infinity Ward, was found to be hiring last week), each and every one has stopped short of divulging a specific title. It’s one more morsel of insight on the inevitable approach of Microsoft and Sony’s new systems – and on the longevity of the undead as pop culture darlings.
Ranters, what’s your take on the reveal of Human Element? With the zombie apocalypse narrative and survival-based gameplay, can it manage to break out as a profoundly unique experience? What possibilities are in store for it as a next-gen title?
Human Element is scheduled to release in 2015 for next-generation consoles, PC, and unspecified mobile and tablet devices.
Follow me on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.
Source: Game Informer