Dead Matter, originally conceived as a mod for Crysis 2, is a sandbox open-world survival title set in a zombie apocalypse that, according to the game’s Kickstarter page, aims to “quench the community’s thirst for a title that properly balances survival mechanics with fulfilling gameplay.”
At face value, it can be difficult to tell why this project has gained such a following. That’s not an insult to the title or campaign, but the title lacks that flagship feature or unique trait that many titles tout as their “signature” to stand out against the crowd. Such a trait like this is especially expected in the rouge-lite and sandbox survival genres, as those are already quite crowded with indie developers trying to make a name for themselves.
Rather than having a crazy new mechanic or setting, Dead Matter’s developers, Quantum Integrity Software, are focusing on creating a polished, feature-rich experience that fully realizes the genre they attempt to capture rather than blending it with other elements. Combine that with the friendly, down-to-earth tones from developer updates, and Dead Matter seems to have found a market niche that fans are eager to see filled.
“We actually appreciate what people like you have to say about Dead Matter! If something is shit or looks like shit, feel free to let us know that it’s shit and we’ll work on getting it unfucked.”
– Quantum INTEGRITY Software
Again, Dead Matter’s focus is on a polished core experience rather than a diverse set of options. The game will allow players to set out into the apocalyptic landscape with friends or by themselves. It will support players who wish to stay in one location and farm crops and establish a base, as well as encouraging those who wish to explore new areas. It will automatically balance the world and undead depending on the number of players present.
A big part of what you’ll be doing among the apocalyptic wastes of Dead Matter is engaging in the game’s rich customization engine. Rather than designing full vehicles and then breaking them down into various parts, the Dead Matter devs designed the parts first and worked upwards to see how they can fit into vehicles. This means that every vehicle players find can be stripped for parts that can be used to make move advanced rigs.
And unlike the lonely, deserted plains of survival title DayZ, where zombie encounters are sparse and infrequent, Dead Matter’s streets are packed with undead. Combine this with the threat posed by a single zombie and the time needed to scavenge resources, and plowing through that zed-filled street becomes a serious investment sure to put the feat into any player.
Time and time again, Dead Matter mentions its focus on the “core” gameplay of a rouge-lite survival title. But what does that mean? What aspects of running around in a dead wasteland are really getting that much attention? Here are a few examples of systems and segments that Quantum Software have put the most work into:
Health packs aren’t the fix-all they once were. Dead Matter features a complex and in-depth Medical System that keeps track of bites, scratches, broken bones, blood loss, and even emotional trauma. You’ll have to take some time to work through your pain in order to operate and full efficiency.
Environmental Consistency has been a big focus during the development of this title. The weather systems and day / night systems have been given special attention: Although rainstorms may be a great source of noise cover and free water, that bonus also works in reverse, and difficulty seeing and hearing the environment could lead to a dangerous surprise attack.
Surviving can take many forms in Dead Matter. From hunting wildlife to farming fertile lands to scavenging any container that can be opened, Quantum Software wanted to be sure to create a core gameplay loop that allowed players to change things up if they began to get bored. Everything you see can be looted, and the in-depth electricity and crafting systems mean every structure you see can also be filled up with power, barricaded with barbed wire fences, and customized to your heart’s content.
Featured Image Via Official Dead Matter Kickstarter Page