The World War Z Game That Could Have Been

Max Brooks' World War Z is one of the best books about zombies ever written, using the subject of a zombie apocalypse not as a chance to stage a few cheap scares, but to rewrite the history of the world.

Being such a big fan of the book, then, it's with both interest and a little sadness that I looked over these pieces of concept art for a World War Z game that, sadly, never saw the light of day.

In late 2008, the team at Midway's Newcastle studio in the UK was looking at new projects following the completion of driving/action game Wheelman. They decided to pitch two ideas: one based on entirely new IP, the other based on an existing piece of IP.

The "existing" one was World War Z, which is a favourite of former Midway Newcastle art lead Cumron Ashtiani, and ripe for a game adaptation because of its "fantastic descriptions of terror and survival". So he and his team - nearly all of whom now work at concept house Atomhawk Design (whose Mortal Kombat work we featured last week) - sat down and got a game pitch together.

The following pieces of concept art were drawn up by Pete Thompson and Corlen Kruger, while Ashtiani and Simon Woodroffe worked on the presentation for Midway. In the end, it was decided that police drama game Necessary Force (which in the end was cancelled when Midway Newcastle went out of business) would be the studio's next game, leaving World War Z on the shelf. Bummer!

While some of the art here is just ideas on zombies, other pieces paint vivid pictures of the dark world the survivors of Brooks' book have to endure. In the lead image, we see the crashed female pilot who stars in a chapter of the book, and in others the ruins of Chicago, a dead city well beyond the "safety" of the Rocky Mountains.

Atomhawk, based in the UK, have worked with companies like Ninja Theory (Enslaved), Ubisoft and Warner Bros. They've even got an art book out if you dig their stuff!


    World War Z is personally my favorite book ever, so unhappy I didn't get to see this game in action. :<

    Wtf is with the claw zombie? No zombies in WWZ did that??? Kinda glad this didn't get made if they were going to take liberties like that...

    Surviving the Battle of Yonkers could have made L4D look like a picnic...

    I am quite saddened that an excellent but underrated book like World War Z was lust 'shunned' as a game. It would have been one of, if not, the best, zombie games out.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now