No More Room in Hell is a free mod for Half-Life 2. It hit Steam last month and has since built up a sizable community of zombie slayers. The game is multiplayer only and emphasises co-operative play and horror elements. There are also zombie children – and you can kill them.
Killing in-game kids has always been a little controversial, with most developers choosing to make it off limits. Any child in Bethesda’s contemporary RPGs is immortal: Oblivion, Skyrim and Fallout 3 all featured indestructible ankle-biters. Some people in the modding community felt that that broke immersion, so there are dozens of mods for each of those games that remove in-game child immortality. No More Room in Hell, however, just lets you off them straight away, which is obviously a necessary thing considering, you know, they’re zombies.
There aren’t many contemporary zombie games that feature zombie children. Even Dead Island (a game that caught initial attention thanks to its stunning reveal trailer that featured a zombie girl being thrown from a building) only features adult zombies. No More Room in Hell, however, has received a lot of player criticism for its inclusion of killable kids.
The team behind the mod have since posted in the game’s official Steam forums to clarify their stance on the matter. They’re basically telling those offended to go and play something else.
To officially address the topic of children zombies:
We will not be removing them. They are a core component of our game design, our design philosophy, and our long-term vision for NMRiH. Part of our goal was to create a zombie game not based on killing and action, but on tension and fear and moral and ethical choice. We are attempting to simulate a real-world collapse of society as a result of a lethal epidemic. If you cannot handle it, do not play the game. We are sorry that some people seem to be offended for one reason or another but we are NOT going to censor our game and our vision.
Reading some posts by players off-put by the zombie children, being unable to shoot them on first encounter.. that is something that we set out to achieve. That reaction is actually intentional, that is what we wanted. This is a game about survival.
Our game is free, and we developed it solely out of passion and fun to make the zombie game we always wanted. If you do not like it, we are sorry and it’s unfortunate but this is a no-compromise situation.
We appreciate any and all feedback on the game, as always.
Good for them. Honestly, it’s refreshing to see a bunch of developers turn around and tell offended parties to piss off. It’s a free mod for crying out loud; nobody is forcing anyone to play it. I don’t recall there being any backlash towards Visceral Games when we were shooting Necromorphed babies in Dead Space. And then there were those Cherubs from Doom 3 – the part human baby, part fly things that made the most awful noises.
I kind of wish that more zombie games featured zombie children; it makes sense for the genre and would add to the tension, as it clearly has in No More Room in Hell’s case.