In the small, picturesque town of Aberford, Ohio, a zombie apocalypse begins. At first glance, it’s a pretty overdone plot for a game. There is a twist, however.
This game is about 1950s housewives who fight the zombies (previously their friends, husbands, and neighbors) and seek the cause of the outbreak that has decimated only Aberford’s male population.
This is NOT a standard shoot ‘em up/brawler zombie game. The creators have crafted fantastic and realistic backstories and motivations for the main characters, and over the course of the game, themes like sexism and racism will be explored.
The creators of the game are also striving to make the game as diverse as possible, within the realms of historical plausibility. With that said, these are the four main characters, playable in the main campaign:
Peggy Whitman, a former baseball player and now dissatisfied wife of the town police sergeant. She hates cooking.
Betty Smith, an ideal 1950s housewife and nurse (former Army nurse) at the local hospital. While she and her husband Phillip are economically middle class, as well as perfect friends and neighbors, they still experience the subtle and often overt discrimination common against black individuals in the pre-civil rights era.
Doris Baker, a first-rate riveter during the war, is now a hard-working waitress at a local diner. She is of Lebanese descent, but passes for white.
Sylvia Hornberger, previously a biochemical scientist alongside her husband, had to give up her job after the war ended. She’s now a stay at home mother who is bored out of her mind.
There will be diverse side characters with minor roles in the main story, who will be playable in the “Challenge” campaign:
Norma, a transgender woman (!) who has transitioned to the extent possible in the 1950s. She was a GI during the war, and now runs a no-nonsense boarding house in town. She takes black-market experimental anti-androgen which protects her from the outbreak’s effects. Learn more about Norma here on Sketchy Panda’s Tumblr.
Patricia is Peggy’s teenage daughter.
Mary is a third generation Asian American woman who works in the town’s industrial laboratory as a researcher. She struggles with acceptance.
Alejandra is a Latina woman who finds herself in Aberford right as the outbreak starts. She speaks little to no English and is new to the US.
Gameplay will focus on strategy, as you’re playing as a woman with no combat training, with only realistic weapons at your disposal (cast-iron skillets, rolling pins, baseball bats, etc). There will be no flaming chainsaws, nor will there be piles of ammo scattered all over town for firearms. Zombies will be the dangerous, fast-moving “infected” type that can kill you quickly if you don’t fight effectively.
Please note that the main trailer for the game on the Kickstarter page was made a while ago, and has pretty clunky graphics (very stiff and uncanny valley-looking character models, and slow rather than fast zombies. The color scheme is spot on for the 1950s, though). This more recent video, however, shows much improved graphics and motion (keep in mind it’s still pre-Alpha placeholder art).
This post is getting rather long, so please refer to sketchypandagames and their Kickstarter page for additional information about the game, how to pledge and what you’ll get in return, why they’re making this game, and why their funding goal seems so high.
Even if you can’t afford to pledge, PLEASE hit the reblog button if you want to see a video game with strong female leads and a diverse cast become a reality. The Kickstarter closes on October 19, 2015, at 1:59 AM EDT.
Artwork and video above are property of Sketchy Panda Games.