“Dad, why didn’t we help her?” Elisa asked.
Her father, Michael kept his eyes on the road, only averting his eyes to check his speedometer. He was focused on keeping his car rolling at a solid forty miles an hour until he hit exit 12.
After exit 12, he could navigate some quieter side streets until he got to Ray’s gas station. Ray’s would still have everything they need. Michael had the keys to the place and knew how to work the pumps from inside the store. He could fill his tank and take a couple of gallons for the road.
“What?” Michael shouted back at her.
“That girl needed help, why didn’t we stop? She wasn’t… sick or anything, she just looked-”
“Because I fucking said so!”
Michael hated cursing at his little girl and he hated yelling at her even more. But that didn’t matter now. How was he supposed to explain to his 13 year old girl that they couldn’t risk it? How was he supposed to tell her that everything he taught her about helping people who needed help didn’t apply any more? After September 4th, it was every man for himself and if you weren’t looking out for you and yours, then you were as dead as the corpses walking the streets.
The sun had set and thankfully there were no cars around the dingy gas station. Michael sighed involuntarily.
“Are you going to rob John’s store?”
Michael slammed his fist on the steering wheel. “Yes I am, Elisa. We’re going to have to do things we don’t want to now. It doesn’t matter anymore.”
Michael slammed the door and started to the store in a blind anger but slowed his pace, seeing that the glass door had been shattered and left wide open. Michael stepped carefully into the building, one hand on his pistol, scanning the store for any signs of life. The store was silent except for the popping of broken glass beneath his heavy boots.
Ray’s Gas and Snacks had been destroyed by looters. John Carver had never done a good job of keeping his father’s business looking clean and tidy, but seeing it in this condition gave Michael an aura of guilt. He remembered the couple of days he worked at John’s store, thinking of ways John could improve his business if he wasn’t such a hopelessly depressed man.
‘Fuck it,’ Michael thought. ‘If John really cared about his business, he would’ve boarded this place up and take his product with him to wherever he fucked off to’.
There was nothing of use still on the shelves, so Michael made his way to the pump controls and almost immediately vomited. On the floor was the corpse of the man he had known his entire life, John Carver, lying in a shallow pool of dark red. Michael could see what happened to the poor man almost immediately. Whoever had come to loot the place before him left a bullet in John’s neck and let the man bleed to death… alone…
Michael took a deep breath and studied it like a man. There were sure to be more horrors like this along the way. He looked at the man and scanned him, getting used to the idea… Michael thought he was sufficiently prepared until he saw what the dead man was holding onto.
The corpse now in rigor mortis, clutched onto a small 4 by 6 wooden frame. It was the photo John kept of his father. The father John was never able to please. As much of a loser John Carver was, Michael couldn’t turn off his emotions to sadness of pathetic death. He knew John deserved better than to die alone, clutching a photo of a father he knew hated him.
Michael grabbed a pink cleaning rag off of the counter and tossed it over John’s face before turning his gas pump on. That was the most he could afford to do, he was going to make sure him and his daughter survived no matter what.
Hey, it’s your friendly neighborhood writerman Infr4mer, also known as Jeremy Ferretti in some circles. Today we’ll be talking about the tone and inspiration for the coming sequel and what this ultimately means for the game.
The first No More Room in Hell had a bit of mixed messages to it, with characters like Jive running around with Wally in what seemed to be a serious zombie apocalypse. This kind of mixed direction was in part due to the super massive number of people who contributed to the first game. When you have a small army working on a project, sometimes it’s hard to get everybody on the same page.
All things considered, NMRiH1 eventually seems to have settled on a kind of classic 60s Romero vibe to it that really works for it. It’s got a bit of camp to it, but can still manage to get the blood flowing. Not only does it visually match the tonality of the earlier Romero movies, but the take-no-shit survival style gameplay is very reminiscent as to how characters in Romero movies can die on a whim.
Asking the team leader Maxx for a list of inspirations was one of the first things I did upon accepting my position. Luckily, Maxx already had a clear cut vision for NMRiH2 and knew exactly what he wanted the team to look at in case we were ever struggling to fit the tone. The picture below was what Maxx showed me. I’m gonna focus on the ones that really stood out to me during the creation process and had the most influence to me.
World War Z was an obvious choice to learn from. You might be able to tell that our character art was heavily inspired by the zombie behavior in this movie. The book provided self-contained stories from all across the world from all different social and economic places while the movie depicted a city in the Northeastern US during a zombie invasion. I was a little bit worried that because of our similarities, my world’s story/timeline might end up derivative of WWZ, but with a few minor adjustments, I believe it stands on its own quite well.
Contagion was a film that stood out to me and really helped me craft a realistic timeline for our outbreak. At this point in 2017 we haven’t truly battled a virus that’s affected the entire world, so while I did gain some good knowledge following the real-life Ebola outbreaks in 1976 and 2014, it was hard to imagine how world governments would respond to an even larger outbreak. 2011’s Contagion painted a serious outlook on how human beings in all walks of life would respond to a lethal, world-wide epidemic.
Next I want to talk about the importance of Godzilla and Cloverfield, two choices that might have you scratching your head. They weren’t too much of an influence on my side of the NMRiH2 work, but I think the reasons they were included are quite telling of what we’re going for. Both of these movies are about regular, normal people trying to react and survive in a situation that is far beyond their comprehension. NMRiH1 did a great job of making you feel like a survivor, not a zombie grinder. That’s something we really wish emulate in the second one. In addition, these movies also look spectacular, being something the team is actively looking towards for inspiration on environment art and post fx.
Resident Evil is one of my favorite game series’, but NMRiH2 is not the type of game that’s going to have different zombie types or boulder punching mini-games. The Left 4 Dead series has you play a character with a very fleshed out personality while in NMRiH2 you are going to create and customize your own character. Day Z has evolved to have little emphasis on zombies and instead become the kind of game where you kidnap people and force feed them detergent. We want NMRiH to be about zombies. While we definitely plan to incorporate elements of a world gone mad, we’re making zombies the main focus of this world gone mad. The zombies are the danger, they are the reason this world has gone mad and we don’t plan to stray far from that.
If I had to make a comparison, NMRiH1 is to Dawn of the Dead as NMRiH2 is to World War Z. Understanding the material we’re looking at and taking inspiration from will help you understand what to expect from this game. But, just for clarification, these inspirations will not affect the gameplay. We want our gameplay to be a smoother version of NMRiH1. So, until next time, peace out dudes.
Jeremy “infr4mer” Ferretti also publishes his web comic Exits – A Paranormal Comedy (among others) at his website aberrantink.com