The old world is long gone. Billions have died and risen again, joining the legion of dead wandering the Earth. You have survived the first phase of the zomb-pocalypse. Now comes the tricky part: Rebuilding the World.
Rebuild hit the world by storm years back, giving players a different point of view for the zombie war than ever before. This wasn't an action-packed FPS, nor was it a by-the-books strategy. This was 4X, requiring resource management and city building. In version 2, light RPG elements began to appear. Each iteration wasn't exactly a sequel, more of an evolution, and the game took on more detail and weight. By the third installment, Gangs of Deadville, the story had finally been given its due time to cook and set. Now, with all cylinders firing, the game arrived on Steam to once again shake up the genre.
What's clear right out the gate is that Rebuild is not your typical game. It combines elements of tower defense with more traditional strategy. You have to manage many different resources, including food and construction materials, in order to grow your new society and retake the various cities of the country. Your most precious resource is people, followed closely by time. People allow you to build faster, defend harder, and scavenge for precious food and weaponry. Some of your survivors come with baggage, such as a mistrust of a certain gang or the inability to not blow themselves up. They make friends and enemies within your walls, which can affect their performance on missions.
Then there are the titular gangs of deadville. Whether they are religious fanatic bikers or a hippie commune, your survival will depend on how you react to the various wants, needs, and demands of the other factions. They will attack your citizens, raid your farms, and make war with everyone in the city. You can be a diplomat or a warlord, but the choice has to be made quickly. There are only so many square blocks of land to grab, and your survivors need food and shelter too.
The gangs aspect helps keep a relatively simple game from becoming repetitive, and invites replay by opening up all manner of choices. Will you side with the nearby gang to keep the peace, despite their cannibalistic ways? Will you trade with someone who just attacked you, or return the favor ten-fold?
With quirky graphics and a sharp wit, Rebuild 3: Gangs of Deadville is a surprising and engaging 4X game. If you're a fan of the zombie genre, we strongly recommend you pick up your copy from Steam.
We had the chance to sit down (digitally) with the game's creator Sarah Northway to discuss the decisions behind Rebuild.
Adam: "Rebuild 3: Gangs of Deadville" is the 3rd iteration of your Rebuild series. What brings you back to this franchise time and time again?
Sarah: I had to cut a lot of features I'd originally wanted for Rebuild 2 in order to get it done quickly on a minimal budget. But it was popular, which meant I had a much bigger budget for my next games. I wanted to go back to Rebuild to finally make the fully-featured game I'd imagined from the start.
A: The zombie game has played across every possible genre of the medium. Why did you decide on a 4x strategy style?
S: I play a lot of strategy games and I like the variability of 4x games, where every time you play you can take a different approach.
A: What do you think separates "Rebuild" from the rest of the zombie game horde?
S: Rebuild isn't so much about the zombies as it is about the survivors, and about human society.
A: What are your influences in developing the story for "Rebuild?"
S: I was inspired by stories like Lord of the Flies and Day of the Triffids which talk about the fragility of civilization, and how our true natures are revealed during disasters (like a zombie attack).
A: What are some features you were unable to get into this game?
S: I toyed with the idea of multiplayer, but would have had to make fundamental changes to the game's design. I also considered a tactical mini-game for zombie attacks but decided it would take too long to implement well.
A: How has the modding community influenced your development of the game? Have they surprised you in any way?
S: I'm shocked and delighted at the perseverance shown by the translation teams using the mod system to localize Rebuild 3 into Korean, Portuguese and other languages. It's a LOT of work - 200k words is longer than a novel, and written dynamically to work with both genders and other variables.
A: Are you planning a Rebuild 4?
S: Not currently. I've taken a break from the zombies (honestly they CAN be a little depressing) to work on room-scale VR games for the HTC Vive.
Pick up Rebuild 3 now, and follow @Sarah_Northway to learn more about her incredible developments.