An Open Letter: Zombies

An Open Letter: Zombies
To sign up for our daily newsletter covering the latest news, features and reviews, head HERE. For a running feed of all our stories, follow us on Twitter HERE. Or you can bookmark the Kotaku Australia homepage to visit whenever you need a news fix.

An Open Letter is a new feature where we communicate directly, mano e mano, straight to the heart of someone/something/anything in gaming. This month we appeal to the Zombie hivemind for mercy and perhaps a change in tactics?

Dear Zombies (all of you),

You know what Zombies? You’ve been good to me, I can’t deny that. Whenever I’ve had a modified shotgun (read: ‘boomstick’) and a barrowload of ammo to spare, you’ve given me something vaguely fun to shoot at. You even had the forethought to explode into a congealed pool of blood, and a vaguely green gooey substance. I’ve always appreciated that – your predictability, your consistency. You’ve always been there for me Zombies, through thick and thin, and I’ll never forget that…

But Zombies – I think we need some time apart.

I know, I know! I’m sorry. We’ve had some weird sort of contract you and I, and it was a beautiful connection. You shambled aimlessly towards me, in search of some brains to chomp on and I, in turn, sent shrapnel reeling into your soft, soggy flesh. That’s the way it’s always been.

Yet our relationship, it’s changed. Things have changed. Remember when we first started trying to murder and maim one other? We used to just fight, you know, until the sun came up. Those were magical times. You would vaguely grunt and shuffle, I would shoot stuff at you, or throw kitchen implements at your face. Haha! Yeah, those were some good times…

But things are just different now. The magic is gone. There’s no spark left. It’s not you – it’s me! I just feel like… like I need to explore new avenues, you know? Find myself. Maybe we should see other people? I want to date other generic video game antagonists – maybe some random alien invaders, genetically modified mutants, possibly some Nazis. Remember Nazis? What happened to those guys? Oh, that’s right, they became Zombies.

I’m sorry, things just got too stale – the same thing, night after night. I need stimulation; I need, at the very least, a slight change in tactics. I want to try new things.

Shhh… Zombies. Hush. I know this is hard. I know how tough this is. We’ve been through so much, we shared some laughs, possibly some bodily fluids – we’ve exploded and died together in one another’s arms more times than I can remember – but I need a break. We need a break.

Maybe someday, someday soon, we’ll find one another again, and things will be different – you never know.

Yours truly,
Mark Serrels

P.S. Can we have one last fling in Red Dead Redemption?

Thanks to Maurice Branscombe for the ‘Open Letter’ concept!


  • Pet hate here, but traditional zombies do not eat brains. Ever. This all comes from the film Return of the Living Dead (an hilarious take on the at-the-time extremely cult zombie flick phenomenon) by Dan O’Bannon (who, as writer, had already given us Alien and would go on to lob Total Recall our way).
    Anyhoo, this is where the concept of zombies both eating and vocalising their intention to eat brains came from.
    It actually makes no sense at all – if zombies can only be killed by destroying the brain and if zombies eat the brains of their victims then it’s not going to be much of an apocalypse is it? A handful of zombie running around ensuring that no one else comes back as a zombie. Crazy.
    Anyway. Human flesh. Zombies hunger for human flesh and never, ever, never speak.
    (Or run).

    • Since you were being pedantic to begin with, the ‘brain-eating’ zombies of ROTLD, (and i’m deliberately ignoring all the awful sequels), were fast, clever and indestructible: headshots and dismemberment didn’t kill them. Which is why the two characters discussing ‘Night’ get annoyed: “You mean the movie *lied*?”

      Basically, against those things, you’re boned. Which is why the movie, at the time, was one of the best movies for capturing the ‘No Future’ nihilism of 70’s / 80’s Punk.

      I feel old.

      • It really was an awesome movie. Scared me as a kid and entertained the frack out of me when rewatched recently. I, too, avoided the sequels. Plus, a friend of mine had a band called “Send More Paramedics”. Gotta love that.

  • Dear Zombies,

    You used to be cool man!



    Dear Messrs Serrels and Branscombe,

    I like this idea.


  • When the ‘Nazi Zombies’ mode was added into CoD5, I assumed the concept was about to hit rock bottom. When developers were making their games, they simply ticked an obligatory ‘has zombies’ check. Borderlands, COD and now Red Dead Redemption, all settings that don’t really need zombies, yet all games that added them for seemingly little reason.

    But there’s still room for zombies in my life – as long as the game is dedicated to them, instead of just having a DLC fling. Dead Rising (and now Dead Rising 2) as well as Left 4 Dead and it’s DLC’s are still on my highly played list.

    There is something deeply enjoyable (and possible therapeutic) about cutting down wave after wave of undead with a chainsaw, or a shotgun, or a chainsaw taped to a shotgun.

    PS: Brian’s Braised Brains Bring Breakfast Briskly

  • I think our relationship soured when we first played L4D.

    Left 4 Dead showed me all the things our relationship should have… and by comparison everything after that showed that we weren’t as good together as we could have been.

    I know you tried your best to keep us going, you spent more of your time in other games… but in your effort to do that, you smothered me… and brought our failings into sharp relief.

    But, hey… we’ll still be friends right.

  • Dear Zombies,

    Never change, I still love you, and i will slay you for ever more, for as long you shamble, sprint, stagger or any other form of movement towards me i will continue to blow your brains out.

    Yours Truly,


    P.S. This is true until vampires are cool again, say like 5 years, when that whole twilight thing is over, remember that? when vampires were cool? yeah me too, and even Vampires having zombie minions, that was cool.

  • I completely agree. As much as I have been enjoying DR2 and am actually interested in RDR zombie DLC, I just can’t help but feel that it is just a ‘mee too!’ mentality when one game sells. I cmpare it to the WWII era where every second game was in some way connected to the second world war. There are other time periods that would also make for a good game and be interesting. I was actually so refreshed when RDR came out because this was a period in time that has not been done too often, then they throw freaking zombies into the mix????

    But thanks for the post Mike, i really enjoyed it.

  • Dear Zombies,

    Please shout more nonsensical phrases at me. I want to fight you with my keyboard.


    Deranged “WPM” Stoat.

  • I keep trying to Dump my L4D2 Zombie crush, but consistent DLC keeps me coming back (Sacrifice FTW). Stop getting a boob job! I must admit though, the hussey I am, I have started seeing another zombie. Dead Rising 2. (its friggin tang!)

  • Dear Zombies,

    It is sad to say but you are much like a STD. Initially I had a lot of fun. Free roaming unprotected filthy fun. Now you just leave me irratated and itchy.

    Signed Dean

    P.S Sorry Manda but I posted under your name because I can’t seem to log out your facebook from this damn site.

  • The problem is not too MANY zombie things, it’s that there aren’t enough GOOD zombie things… Rather than just tack on zombie modes or mods for games, someone needs to make some proper zombie games. An actual zombie survival RPG would probably be a huge seller.

    It’s like game developers forget that a story is a huge part of what makes zombies popular. Sure it’s fun to kill tons of zombies, but zombie fans want a chance to basically participate in a zombie apocalypse and try to survive. You know, with story and characters and stuff…

    Closest we’ve gotten so far is Dead Rising, and that’s not really what I personally had in mind.

  • All devs should stop doing Zombies for a bit and choose Pokemon instead…

    I would glading like to shoot, maim and destroy those bastards!

    • You should check out Pokemon: The Evil Inside 1, and 2. Both RPG Maker games, both done really well (especially the second one, which had systems like Street Fighter combat, and FPS action, both extremely hard to pull off in the maker).

  • Werewolves need more love, in fact an entire L4D-esqe game where you (and friends) hunt all the classic Hammer films monsters needs to be made.

  • I think the problem is that we’ve gone from resident evil (the first 2) and silent hill type undead zombie monsters that actually used to scare us.
    Remember when they were used for survival horror? The point is they’re meant to scare us. They just don’t anymore, especially when you fling them into a game that isn’t meant for them.
    Don’t get me wrong, I love L4D and others, but to me, they’re not the same. I want sweaty palms, I want to actually dread the approach of a zombie and I want there to be a decent story behind it…Obviously, game developers and publishers, I want too much.

  • Not sure if this is the place I saw it from (it’s a statement I agree very much with), but the reason zombies have flooded the market is due to that speech restricting political correctness bullshit that all the effeminate idiots spout out with.

    Zombies are the current politically correct enemy to shoot. Why did you think we had Nazi’s for the past ten years (and still do to a degree)?

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!