I won’t go making any proclamations about whether or not Human Element will redefine the genre, because we won’t see it until 2015, but when it comes to ambitious titles, this game stands is trying its damnedest to stand above the rest. For the unfamiliar, Human Element is an upcoming zombie game that takes place nearly four decades after the apocalypse. It’s still very early in development, having only begun pre-production this April, but developer Robotoki already has big plans for the title, including a single player mode, co-op, and some sort of multiplayer component. Despite a project with a release date that’s set pretty far into the future, Robotoki is also hard at work on an episodic prequel to the game that will be released on the open-source, Android-powered Ouya console. More after the break.
The Ouya-exclusive prequel will be broken up into multiple episodes and will be a launch title for the platform, which is due out in March of next year. In case you missed it, the Ouya started off with a Kickstarter campaign that grossed over $8 million in donations, well over their goal of $950,000. It was a runaway success because it dubbed itself the gamer’s console, and for $99 it’s guaranteed to be cheaper than The Big Three’s next efforts. It’s also not nearly as limited as the other home consoles, you can hack it and since it’s an open-source platform the Ouya will undoutbedly become a haven for indie developers looking to get their games out there without having to jump through the hoops set by Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. As the platform’s campaign gained momentum, it attracted the attention of several major studios, including Square Enix, Epic Games, Namco Bandai, and Robert Bowling, formerly of Infinity Ward, and his new Robotoki studio.
The Human Element prequel will set the stage for the full game. In a recent interview with Raptr, Robert Bowling had much to say about his studio’s efforts on the Ouya, saying “The episodic prequels on OUYA will be much more focused on showing a very specific story from a pinnacle moment in the fall of society, such as a day after the event occurs and a week after. This will be a solo experience. Luckily, the design for Human Element is much different than that of Day Z or other zombie games, as we’re not a zombie game in the traditional sense, and simply use the zombie apocalypse as a catalyst to tell a story of survival and human behavior defined by moral choices and actions in addition to the cross platform play of how the prequels will lead to the main story and how you’ll have the option for mobile interaction such as looting real world locations via GPS data and feeding those supplies back to your character in-game.”
Bowling also hinted that the game will probably use the Unreal Engine, and because of its nebulous release window I’d say it’s a safe bet that means it’ll be using the gorgeous Unreal Engine 4.
When it comes to story, Human Element doesn’t sound like your typical zombie game. “For example, that moment when you realize you have one bullet and a roaming gang of 4 survivors who desperately need what you have in your pack. Alerting them means confrontation, and firing one shot may take out one of them, but alerts everyone else to your presence. It’s about making smart choices with the goal of surviving.” says Bowling.