Brainstorming a Battle Royale Game with Zombies

by | Sep 11, 2019 | Feature

With the announcement of Back 4 Blood, my love of zombie co-op games have spawned yet another game idea.

I used to co-host a podcast called Gamify with a buddy, Justin Jordan. On it we thought up viable video game ideas based on general topics. Some were based on movies, others books. It was a fun time for us. I periodically go through the same creative process when working with clients or with friends. It’s the act of exploring every viable possibility based on competition, history and emerging tech and strategy. A lot of the times it’s used to think up cool video game ideas.

I never know what to do with these ideas since we don’t make video games, or have a connection to someone who does. This is as good a place as any for such ideas. Maybe someone will run across it and want to make it. I think we have a gem here.

Would you play a Left 4 Dead battle royale? Image via Steam

So a fellow gamer, designer and friend Adam Hawkins pitched an offhand idea for a new battle royale game containing zombies. The premise was simple.

“Battle Royal with zombies needs to happen. There will be an element of teamwork involved…. until one of you decides to kill the other. “

That was all I needed to rev my creative engine. Think Left 4 Dead meets Battle Royale (meets Dying Light). Take a look at what we came up with.

Battle Royale Mechanic on procedural map(s)

We drop 5 teams of 3 on an ever-changing map. Each team must survive long enough to be evacuated from the map. You are more than welcome to all team up and survive as one big cabal, stick to your teams and try to eliminate each other while fighting the horde, or betray your team and go solo (though that would be silly).

No two runs will be the same as routes, blockades, gear drops and hazards are procedurally placed each time you load any level. In need of guns? You need to head to the gun store. One run may see the gun store owner has survived and is total lockdown. He may give you a quest to allow you in or hunker down and turn you away. In another run he perished on his way home and you need to find his reanimated corpse and get the keys. Interested in heading across the city underground? You will need a crowbar to open up the manhole, but where would you find something like that?

Infection Mechanic

Dead allies have a chance to reanimate and become a vengeful corpse, on the hunt to kill their former allies. The controls become finicky but you are able to blend in with the masses and strike when appropriate. This way death doesn’t mean you are done, you can get back in the game and mess with your friends or help them by stalking the other team.


There is an evacuation point that spawns once a team triggers its quest. Each team is alerted that a way out is available and the race is on to both enable and reach the evacuation point. For example, a team reaches the sole helicopter on the map but the keys are missing and it has no gas. Find the keys, fill it up and take off, but beware of teams looking to steal your supplies. There are three seats in each evacuation port that can be filled by anyone. Will you sacrifice yourself for a teammate or bum rush everyone for your ticket to salvation?

Scavenger and surviver

You start off with nothing and have to make do with what you find. Guns and armor are a luxury you need to work for. You will need to rely on physical weapons, your fists, your perks (see below) and your ability to run like hell. Find or craft weapons to aid in survival. Pick up short quests to findSalvation weapons like guns, sturdy knives and more.

Perk system and “Create-A-Survivor” Perma-death mechanic

You create your own survivor and literally help them survive as long as possible. Once they are dead, wave goodbye and start over with a new avatar. Add perks to each character you create allowing them a chance to make it. They could be good at puzzles to aid in questing, native to the town so they know key points on the map, or they have a junior pilots license. Survive enough maps to gain extra perks that carry over and build a survivor legend. Visit your Survivor Memorial to check the stats on your fallen heroes.

Seasonal maps for championships

Do you have a survivor who made it 5 maps without dying? You can take that character to a seasonal championship bracket. Special maps you haven’t seen before are generated for the tournament. Teams compete against others in a massive survival Battle Royale. Scratch and claw your way to victory and retire your survivor as a champion. Or opt to keep fighting with them to the next seasonal event. Special perks, Badges, achievements and customization options are awarded to winners. Will you survive the season?

The name

We never came up with a name. How does Last 1 Out sound? Or Live On? What would you call this thing? Let me know on Twitter.

Let’s chat about game design concepts. Give me a shout or find me on Twitter.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This