Robert Bowling used to work for Infinity Ward – that dev team that makes games for that little Call of Duty franchise. He left them a while ago to found his own development team, which has been dubbed Robotoki. They’ve announced their first game, Human Element, which is an open-world survival game set during a zombie apocalypse. It’s scheduled for a next-gen console and PC release sometime in 2015.
Now, before you start moaning about another zombie game, consider this: Bowling has a pretty amazing team and he has experience with the biggest franchise the gaming industry has ever seen. Human Element also sounds like it’s going to include some really clever gameplay mechanics, many of which we’ve never experienced in a zombie game before.
On top of some neat character classes and something called your “character identity” (more on both after the jump) the game will feature real-world integration on iPads and other tablets using Google Maps and FourSquare.
In a recent interview with Games Industry International, Bowling explained how his new game will feature real-world moments, and it sounds rather intriguing. He used the example of your character perhaps getting injured in the game, but you’re holed up and relatively safe. As such, you don’t necessarily want to venture out to find medical supplies. In the real-world, however, you know that there’s a chemist just down the road from your house, so using Google Maps, which will have the game overlaid through a separate App, you’ll be able to physically check in at the chemist in the real-world, and send medical supplies to your character in the game world. This was just one early example provided, but you can bet there’ll be more ideas.
Bowling said that this feature would work anywhere Google Maps does, but will require GPS map data for the shops in the real-world. Hopefully you don’t live on a sheep farm in the middle of the Karoo, because if so, making use of this clever feature might be a pain.
Bowling elaborated on the example and said that you might form an in-game alliance with somebody, but that somebody prefers the scavenging, real-world portion of the game instead. There would be nothing stopping that person from focusing entirely on Human Element App, and then sharing the scavenged item with your character in the game. So the next time your significant other says they’re going to the shops and asks whether you want anything, you might say no but your Human Element character needs medical supplies so could you check-in at the chemist as well?
Insofar as character classes are concerned, you’ll be able to pick between an action, stealth or intelligence oriented character. On top of that, you’ll need to choose your identity. You character’s identity is dictated by: whether you choose to be a loner; you choose to travel with another survivor; or you choose to travel with a child. The last identity, Bowling said, will be the hardest because you’ll need to keep this young child safe and provide enough supplies for the two of you.