Trapped Dead

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Action
Publisher: Iceberg Interactive (EU), Meridian 4 (US)
Developer: Headup Games
Release Date: January 2011 (US), Feb. 25, 2011 (EU)

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'Trapped Dead' Developer Interview With Carsten Widera-Trombach

by Rainier on Jan. 6, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m. PST

Trapped Dead is a tactical real time strategy game where you and your friends control your characters in a 3rd person isometric view through a mature Zombie survival scenario inspired by the successful Horror movies of the early 80s.

The story takes place in the early 80s in a small town names Hedge Hill near Kansas City, Missouri. The sowing of a new genetically modified type of corn caused the exis-tence of a new virus which mutated through the natural food chain. A dog bite of an infected animal caused a local outbreak of the virus which rapidly infected the inhabi-tants of the idyl¬lic provincial town. Mike and Gerald, two college boys, are thrown into the middle of a terrifying horror scenario. Having pulled over to a gas station near Hedge Hill during what was meant to be an enjoyable road trip, they are unaware of the virus which has already reached the gas station and its staff…

Trapped Dead is a tactical real time strategy game in the tradition of classics such as “Commandos” and “Desperados”. You and your friends control your characters in a 3rd person isometric view through a mature Zombie survival scenario inspired by the successful Horror movies of the early 80s. A co-op mode for up to 4 players is included as well.

Q: In "Trapped Dead" you are combining real time strategy with horror and gore elements. An unusual combination. How does this work?

CWT: That’s something we asked ourselves too when we started this project. In the first prototype we  looked at components of RTS games and exchanged soldiers for zombies. That worked out really weird, having to fight zombies that walk from checkpoint to checkpoint and that have a cone of vision in front of them. So we programmed an AI that gives the zombie a life of their own, with their masterplan being to destroy all the living. They have sensors such as seeing, hearing and smelling (blood). The sensor data are being weighed all the time and will decide, depending on the situation, what the zombie will do. That’s why the gamer will be fighting an agile mass of zombies, that one can and must trick. Because weapons and ammo are scarce in this game.

Q: What will be the core elements in Trapped Dead that will make the player enthusiastic and grip them by the throat?

CWT: Miscellaneous environments, tactical gameplay and a lot of action. The characters are quite cliched and the story doesn’t take itself too seriously. The gameplay allows the gamer to experiment a lot. For example when starting a map, the player could decide to fire a distant shot. However, a zombie in a bordering building could pick up on the sound and decide to go take a look. Now, the zombie is finding his own way through the environment, looking for the source. Depending on your speed, you will meet this wandering zombie sooner or later, for example, when you in trouble and in the worst possible situation.

Q: Why is the game based on the 80s style and not on more recent zombie-horror elements, such as those introduced by the Resident Evil series?

CWT: Because we often work with large zombie masses, the 80s style classic zombie fits our concept better. On top of this, we are big fans of 80’s zombie flicks and this enables us to imprint the ideal image of our favorite zombie.

Q: The story and characters can easily be addressed as over-used. What were the most important influences on the gaming world and the in-game characters that you created?

CWT: The comic series  „The Walking Dead“ inspired us to create the story and the theme of fighting zombies, as well as the tensions that arise when a handful of survivors are being forced to work together.

Q: What size will "Trapped Dead" be;  will it have main- and side-missions and is the game linear or not?

CWT: Depending on your playing style it will take circa 10 hours before the outro appears on your screen. Experimental enthusiasts will enjoy the game longer. The levels and missions are linear, but each player will have a different view on how to progress in the game. The player will be able to decide in what order he solves the problems that he faces, and each decision has it advantages and disadvantages.

Q: How important is the Multiplayer-Mode and how was this integrated in the game (Online, Splitscreen, Lan etc.)?

CWT: The multiplayer part is very important in Trapped Dead. Players can play with 4 players simultaneously on a LAN or Online.

Q: Will there be any opportunities for modding?  Will there be any modding tools or will you offer any DLC?

CWT: We will not include a Level editor. However, all relevant parameters were put in an XML file. This usually leads to experimentation…

Q: If it would ever come to it, what will players have to do in a real life zombie apocalypse? What tips can you give them as experts in zombie combat?

CWT: First I would call the doctor’s office and ask whether I could get an immunisation jab. If not, I would think very carefully what I would use my last bullet for. ;-)
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