Z’Isle: A Kickstarter Zombie RPG You’ve Got to See

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Guest Post by Miscellaneum Studios. Click here to visit the Kickstarter, which is currently at $20,699 of a $37,663 goal with just a few hours to go.

Miscellaneum Studios’ comic book series Z’Isle (pronounced ‘zile’) is getting the prequel treatment in the form of an upcoming indie video game adaptation. The zombie-filled, cyclepunk homage to Montreal will be a turn-based RPG (role playing game) gaming experience where players trust the stragglers they meet in order to not only fight zombies (feeders), but reclaim the city and build a new future.

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As fans of zombie lore, co-writers Isabelle Duguay and Lateef Martin sought to explore themes and ideas that their favorite stories of infectious hunger for flesh hadn’t. What sets Z’Isle apart from other zombie-themed properties is its participatory nature. Miscellaneum Studios ran a crowdfunding campaign through Indiegogo November 2013 to help produce Volume 1 of the series (9 issues).

A major part of the campaign’s success was that it offered contributors the opportunity to design characters based on their own backstories, skills, weapons, and descriptions. The pages of Z’Isle are thus populated by characters created by Montrealers, (and a few Outlanders). Z’Isle also features local musicians such as Grammy-nominated MC Jonathan Emile  and Alissa White-Gluz of Arch Enemy and actors Tamara Brown,  Alison Louder, Tristan D. Lalla and more.

The inspiration for the game comes from the plan of sharing Z’Isle’s story through a rich transmedia experience. Z’Isle is a human tale incorporating themes of survival, societal equity and sustainability. Neighbourhoods have been reconstructed into fortresses against the onslaught of zombies  (known as feeders), communities have formed alliances, Old World assets have become repurposed and upcycled, farming is ultra-local, and industry is fledgling at best. Those who can make things are kings and those who get too comfortable… die. Z’Isle takes direct inspiration from Montreal and its unique places, people and subcultures. Many characteristics that make Montreal unique will see new life in the world of Z’Isle, for better… or worse. As a survivor of the outbreak, the player will be able to build their own character, recruit their own people, find resources and allies and venture on quests to fight feeders and other terrifying enemies, conquer more boroughs and reclaim their city. Survival is hard enough with the undead and rival groups, but could there be something even worse closing in?

It is a top down ¾ view 3D turned-based narrative RPG. It shares elements from X-Com, Darkest Dungeon and This War of Mine.  Your 5-person crew must collect resources, claim territory, trade with other groups and brain every feeder in your way. Each mission helps expand your Community. The diversity of your crew (gender, sexual preference, age, ethnicity, disabilities and neurological variances) can bring you closer together or drive you further apart. The choices you make through dialogue and combat affect your crewmates’ chemistry and the crew’s overall morale.

You can expand and upgrade your community by adding new facilities, defenses, guilds and recruit to grow your population.  Your community will also serve to upgrade the skills and equipment of your crew members, heal them or switch members up.  Your community has a reputation that is determined by how you recruit or reject prospective citizens. The higher your rep, the better-skilled and generally good people you attract and vice versa. Your community’s reputation can affect the types of allies or enemies you can make. It also affects your crew’s morale whenever they return from a mission.

The events that take place during your crew’s missions are recounted in the game’s Chronicle, a journal that summarizes the highlighted events of a mission, such as dangerous encounters, near-death experiences and bountiful loot finds, in the form of procedurally-generated text and comic illustrations-The player is the ‘Chronicler’ and the game is their unique story in the world of Z’Isle.

So far, we’ve developed the gameplay and features and begun prototyping the game. The Z’Isle story is already mapped out across the many volumes of comics, this RPG game, and some future surprises. To build a playable alpha,  Miscellaneum Studios has gone to Kickstarter as a way not only to get funding but to involve the community in the development and production of the game itself.

Like for the comic series, turning to the community for input will be an inherent part of the process, helping to shape and craft the world that is Z’Isle and ultimately, produce the best gaming experience possible.

In the last days of the Kickstarter campaign we have 400 backers and over 27K raised but need to reach 50k! This 50K goes to programming, art and sound design, kickstarter fees and taxes. We need YOU to make this a reality!

(Fund the Kickstarter here! Currently at $20,699 of a $37,663 goal!) 


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