Not that many gaming trends manage to last as long as the ‘zombie game’ genre. Whether you want to chalk it up to an instinctual mortal obsession with killing the living dead or new technology that allows games to render a boatload more zombies at any given moment, these types of games are here to stay.
That’s not to say there hasn’t been a lot of innovation in zombie games in the past decades. While Left 4 Dead solidified gamers’ love for the co-op zombie shooter, the Plants VS Zombies series has always nailed its delivery on presenting a more lighthearted, comedic take on the undead with an array of titles ranging from card-strategy to tower defense to third-person shooters.
2019 looks to be another year filled with bullets, blood, and brains with a slew of new zombie games set to release. So we thought we’d highlight the ones that zombie fans can’t wait to get their lifeless hands on. Make sure to check back as we’ll be updating this list with more titles in the future.
Double Kick Heroes (Switch, PC) – Summer, 2019
Double Kick Heroes is a rhythm game set in an apocalyptic world that has you and your band taking a road trip through the wasteland, which has become overrun with all sorts of undead nightmares. Developed by Headbang Club, Double Kick Heroes features a soundtrack made up of licensed Metal tracks as well as original songs exclusive to the game.
Gameplay has you shooting zombies and other monsters by timing button pressing in tune with the music. There are a number of different weapons like shotguns, hand pistols, and cannons, which each have unique patterns and attacks. Double Kick Heroes features five difficulties and a diverse cast of rock stars you can get to know during your adventure.
The Black Masses (PC) – Summer, 2019
Advancements in game development technology have led to some pretty impressive feats that previously were impossible. Nowadays, developers can have a lot more characters and objects rendered on screen at any given moment, leading some like Brilliant Game Studios to ponder the age-old question: how many zombies are too many zombies? While we’d argue that one is more than enough, The Black Masses would beg to differ.
The game has you stranded on an island that’s been corrupted by a mysterious black substance that’s turned all of the island’s inhabitants into bloodthirsty creatures. Utilizing next-gen crowd-rendering technology, TBM has you taking down massive hordes of zombies with a variety of medieval-style weapons such as axes and swords while exploring a huge map via parkour-inspired traversal.
Zombie Rollerz (Switch, PC) – Nov 2019
Of all the zombie genre fusions we’d expect to see, tower defense and pinball simply wasn’t one of them. Developer Zing Games has their eye on the ball when it comes to Zombie Rollerz, a randomly-generated pinball action RPG.
The game features six different heroes with unique abilities that can be combined in a seemingly infinite number of ways. With each run different than the last, Zombie Rollerz is sure to deliver a thrilling experience with plenty of frenetic pinball combat maneuvers and challenging enemies.
Dysmantle (PC) – TBA, 2019
Developer 10tons looks to be throwing their hat in the zombie race with Dysmantle, a top-down sandbox survival game set in a post-apocalyptic world. Players emerge from an underground shelter on a secluded island only to find it’s been overrun by vile, mutant creatures.
In order to escape the island and uncover its many mysteries, players will have to craft weapons and gear, build outposts, and fight enemies. Where Dysmantle differs from a lot of other games in this genre is its lighthearted tone, which is evident by the game’s cartoonish visual style and a plethora of relaxing activities, such as fishing and farm cultivation.
Daymare 1998 (PC) – TBA, 2019
Invader Studios is planning to deliver an atmospheric zombie survival experience harkening back to the 90s with Daymare 1998. The game is played from a third-person perspective and features tough enemies and even tougher puzzles.
Players will experience the stories of three separate characters that each play a role in the spreading of a zombie plague. With resources scarce and the constant threat of the undead looming, you’ll have to act fast if you want to learn how to make it out alive.
Dying Light 2 (PS4, Xbox One, PC) – Spring, 2020
Dying Light 2 is a first-person action RPG developed and self-published by Techland, best known for their work on Dead Island, which also featured zombies. The sequel takes place after the events of the first game and has you playing as a new protagonist, Aiden Caldwell, an infected survivor whose extraordinary dexterity and combat abilities prove useful for gaining allies and influencing the world around him.
Gameplay will be fairly similar to the original and has players scavenging for weapons and supplies while traversing the world through fluid, parkour-based movement. For the sequel, Techland is emphasizing a player-driven experience where decisions impact both the story and the physical in-game world.
The Last of Us 2 (PS4) – TBA
The original The Last of Us managed to capture the hearts and minds of many players and critics thanks in large part to its emotionally-gripping story that chronicled the relationship between Joel and Ellie. Developer Naughty Dog is back with a sequel and the world can’t wait to see what’s happened since we last saw these characters.
The Last of Us 2 takes place five years after the events of the first game and has players controlling an older version of Ellie as she encounters a dangerous cult in a now post-apocalyptic US. Neil Druckman, one of the game’s story co-writers, has stated that the sequel will focus on ‘hate’ instead of ‘love’. The game also plans to introduce several new characters who will play “essential roles” in Joel and Ellie’s next journey.
GTFO (PC) – TBA
Developer 10 Chambers Collective’s looks ready to take on the challenge of carving out space for itself in the pantheon of zombie shooters with GTFO. The game has a team of up to four players controlling characters being held prisoner by a sinister entity known as The Warden. In order to escape, you and your team will be forced to obey The Warden’s commands and explore underground complexes brimming with terrifying monsters.
GTFO features procedurally-generated environments set in dark mining caves and high-tech labs where players will have to communicate to solve puzzles, find supplies, and eliminate waves of enemies while dealing with environmental hazards like toxic gas and EMP waves that disrupt gadgets. The game features a fairly deep customization system that allows players to change up their weapon’s parts and a variety of tools and traps to take down mutated enemies.
Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 3 (PS4, Xbox One, PC) – TBA
A lot of rumors have been circulating about Garden Warfare 3 possibly releasing in 2019. This all started with an earnings call from publisher EA, which described an upcoming shooter in the Plants vs Zombies series. Next, an Amazon UK listing for an upcoming Plants vs Zombies comic book made a direct reference to Garden Warfare 3. And last, EA has begun sending out alpha invites for a game codenamed “Picnic”.
For a series that has seen success in all its iterations, including both Garden Warfare games, it seems likely for EA to be pushing PopCap Games to get a third entry out the door. With the rise in popularity of Battle Royale games, perhaps GW3 will include a similar mode that incorporates staple features from previous games, like customizable character classes and tower defense objectives.
Back 4 Blood (TBA) – TBA
With Valve basically killing the Left 4 Dead franchise, Back 4 Blood is the spiritual successor fans have been wanting for years. The game is being developed by Turtle Rock, the same studio that made the original L4D games. Back 4 Blood will retain the four-player co-op ‘zombie shooter’ gameplay that made the first games so popular while incorporating some new features.
For one, the game will feature PVP combat in addition to a PVE campaign mode. While it’s been a decade since the studio’s worked on the first games, Turtle Rock is returning to the genre with more experience than before, having learned a lot from the development of their last project, the asymmetrical multiplayer game Evolve. Right now the studio is keeping a lot of details secret, but we should hear more as the year progresses.
Dead Island 2 (TBA) – TBA
It’s been years since we’ve gotten an update regarding Dead Island 2 aside from a tweet here or there to confirm the game still exists. Since it was first revealed at E3 2014, the game has swapped developers multiple times and it’s theorized that Sumo Digital is still currently at the helm. Although the developers and publisher Deep Silver have gone radio silent, it hasn’t prevented the public from uncovering new info on Dead Island 2 over the last few years.
For one, we know it won’t take place on the fictional island of Banoi, but rather be set in a series of real-life locations across California. The game will have an expanded crafting system over the original and feature co-op for up to eight players. As of now, the game is still expected to release on PS4 and Xbox One.
Whether its PC or console, AAA or Indie, New-York born and raised Justin has a natural curiosity to seek out hidden gems and share them with other gamers. He also maintains his own YouTube channel in addition to writing and managing the social media profiles for GamingScan.