Techland’s Tymon Smektala Asks Daily Reaction: Do You Prefer Fast Zombies, or Slow Ones?

Tymon Techland

To end our week of l AskDR specials, and celebrate waking up after Halloween, Tymon Smektala, Producer at Techland asked Daily Reaction’s Seb and Dan about zombies.

Tymon Smektala, Producer at Techland working on Dying Light:

Within the zombie genre, there are two camps. The first camp wants fast zombies and the other wants slow, which camp are you in?

Seb: Ooo, thanks for the question Tymon! Zombies are a huge part of our culture, and there are countless examples of them in literature, films and, of course, games. While there are numerous examples of different types of zombies, Tymon is right that they’re pretty much spread into the two groups of fast and slow.

I’ve generally been quite the traditionalist, preferring the slow shufflers from the classic movies and Romero films. In my view, that’s what makes zombies unique. Most enemies can run at you. Zombies are meant to be slow, but great in number, blocking off your escape with hordes of undead bodies. The point is that there’s an ever-present threat, always growing and closing in.

And then there’s the realism factor. Ok… we’re talking about zombies, so it’s silly to draw a line somewhere, but I just think that if a putrefied corpse could move, it wouldn’t do it very fast.

At the moment the biggest zombie property is The Walking Dead, which is a perfect example of how awesome slow zombies are. But I’ll be honest, fast zombies can be pretty damn cool. Parts of the World War Z film were incredible, and the Left 4 Dead series is the best zombie franchise in gaming.

So Tymon, I’m a slow walker fan, but sometimes I’m happy to dabble with fast ones.

Dan: Seb, I think you mean, uggghhhhhhhh, not Ooo, but yes, thanks for the interesting question question Tymon. There has been a recent shift over to the quicker paced zombies, that are now simply being called things like infected, so they can move away from the traditional standards of what makes a zombie a zombie. But, I genuinely think the determination between fast and slow comes down to how ‘alive’ the person inside is, as zombies are reanimated flesh, and infected are more symbiotic or viral in nature.

This means, that zombies (those reanimated) shouldn’t be able to run, as requirements to actually get a body that is already dealing with rotting flesh and loss of muscle tissue to work in rhythm enough to get a stride is ridiculous. I know this is serious business, zombies are a genuine threat and if we spread false information, lives could be put at risk. This is why I think we need to focus on the facts, which also leads to the cognitive abilities of a zombie. If a zombie was for some reason physically able to run, would it be able to muster up the mental prowess to manage the balancing and coordination required to do so? Don’t be ludicrous, of course not!

Now, looking at the infected, which I think become falsely associated with the zombie threat, we see a completely different style of monster, one that should be associated with viral outbreaks like rabies and mental disorders like Folie a Deux. Fast ‘zombies’ are little more than a rabid human, set down to a basic animalistic state, which is close to the de facto zombie, but not the same.

Seb: My biggest problem is not whether I like walking or running dead more, but rather if I always like zombies. They’re everywhere, in so many games, so many movies, TV shows, comics and books. It’s easy to sometimes get sick of them.

There are too many zombie games, and too many of them are nearly identical. While classic franchises like Resident Evil and Silent Hill seem to have taken a turn for the worse, new titles like Day Z, The Walking Dead and zombieish The Last of Us show that there’s a lot of room for quality titles in the zombie genre.

With the next generation coming, developers will be able to create even greater experiences due to the extra power and increased connectivity the consoles bring. For example, Techland’s upcoming Dying Light will be open world and features a hopefully unique day/night dynamic. It could always end up awful/buggy, but at least there’s a chance at something new.

I’m excited to see what the future holds for the zombie games genre, even if there are a few too many zombie releases every year.

Dan: I think you are missing the point of zombies Seb, they are supposed to be everywhere, that is what they do. The reason we are seeing them in countless movies, comics, games and television shows is exactly that, zombies are supposed to come at you till you are just overwhelmed – it is a perfect real world example.

Moving onto Dying Light, having actually gotten to get some hands-on time with Techland’s upcoming next-gen zombie title, I can say that I am looking forward to seeing the full game, as even in its early state, it ran perfectly fine. Being a huge fan of the zombie genre, I can say that I am not sick of the saturation we have seen, as I think only a small handful of developers have been able to understand what makes zombies such a great foe. Dead Island did a great job of making the combat more intimate, early Resident Evil titles understood the fear of what was behind the door and The Walking Dead understands that it is about decisions and loss.

It is all of these factors together that make the zombie monster the most interesting foe, as every time you see one, you know that even if you fight it off this time, it will only be a matter of time till you become one yourself.

Are you a zombie fan? Do you like it fast or slow? Let us know your undead thoughts in the comments below, jump the gun by emailing us at [email protected] and get your brain working by following us at Seb and Dan.