Jeff Strain, the co-creator of Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, is working on a brand new zombie-themed "online world game" exclusively for Xbox 360.
Called Class3, it is being developed by Strain’s Undead Labs and will be published by Microsoft. As might be expected for a zombie title, players are cast as one of the few survivors of a zombie outbreak.
It will launch as a largely-offline third person open-world title but the plan is to evolve it into a persistent online world over time. But Strain is making a point of avoiding the word MMO – which the game evidently is – when describing it.
"You’ll notice we didn’t use that word anywhere in the press release," he told Eurogamer. "If I say the word MMO you immediately think of World of Warcraft, and we’re really looking at doing something very different from that.
"We wanted to distill it down to its very essence – we now call it an ‘online world game’. The mission of the studio from the very beginning was to take the very best aspects of what we call ‘online world games’ – and of course that includes MMOs on the PC side of the fence – and really bring that home on console platforms in a way that was very much designed from the ground up, by console gamers for console gamers."
And despite the problems MMOs have faced getting rooted on Microsoft’s closed off Xbox Live environment, Strain says Microsoft was chosen as partner because of their enthusiasm for the project.
"We talked to everybody," Strain added. "This was not a religious decision for us. We love the PlayStation 3, we love the Wii, we love the PC. What it came down to was that we found that Microsoft, as a publisher and custodians of the Xbox, are very excited and aggressive about the online future of the platform.
"They embraced our vision of where we wanted to go with this and just got in there and said ‘Hey guys, let’s get in there and make this happen.’ That gave us a lot of confidence."