ZombiU was arguably the stand-out title at the Wii U launch, as it was original, exclusive and most of all innovative. It gave early-adopters the best example of what they could expect in the future, both from Nintendo’s own efforts to the very best third-party support from the likes of Ubisoft, Activision, Capcom, SEGA and more….
The one downside to being a launch title is that the game has a limited install base to sell to, until the inevitable sequel gets released and we may see a budget re-release. Menashe had heard about an indie film project by the name of “The Real ZombieU” and reached out to DeepFried35 the studio behind this film to find out more. Check out our interview below with Greg and Shaun…
Please introduce our readers to ‘The Real ZombieU’ and tell them what it’s about.
‘The Real ZombieU’ is our homage to ZombiU for the WiiU. The story follows our main character, Ron Dee, as he travels through a zombie-infested town in the pursuit of an essential mystery object. We’re hoping to combine some scares, humour and a ton of game & movie related Easter Eggs, to end up with a film that every time you watch it you find something new.
What is your background in film and how did DeepFried35 come about?
SPJ – I’ve been acting for around 14 years, working on adverts, TV, short films and more recently voice overs. I’ve collaborated with Greg on various projects and it was a natural evolution of our working relationship to set up a indie studio to work on things full time.
GM – After studying film at university I worked freelance on several corporate projects and a couple of short films before taking a year out to travel Australia. In the six months I’ve been back in Scotland I’ve set up my own video production business, Box307 and worked on a couple of projects with Shaun again before we decided to set up DeepFried35. The name DeepFried35, which we tore our hair out coming up with (mine never grew back), makes reference to the great and age old Scottish tradition of deep frying anything we can, and in our case, we’re frying some 35mm film!
What is your background with gaming? Tell us about your favourite game or gaming experience.
SPJ – I’ve been gaming for the last 27 years pretty much, with my first console being the Sega Master System which my Mum got my brother and myself for Christmas. I’ve mostly owned Sega consoles right up to the ill fated Dreamcast, probably my favourite machine. Since then I’ve had a GBA, DS Lite, GC, Wii and at Christmas I bought myself the WiiU. My brother, Kirk Douglas Johnston runs a small indie studio called, iNCEPTIONAL, you may have seen his game Light Hero on IOS, which recently also paid a lot of fan service to Nintendo games of past. So gaming is pretty much been a massive part of my life and something I’ve always had a passion for. About 10 years ago I used to run an UK video game import website called Games Importer UK, supplying imported Japanese & US games & consoles to UK gamers including the video game news site www.Gamestyle.com. My favourite game is Phantasy Star Online on the Dreamcast, I spent about 700+ hours playing that game, I miss those days and have my fingers and toes crossed for a WiiU version of PSO2.
GM – Some of my earliest and best memories are of playing Battletoads/Double Dragon on my NES. Since then I was a Nintendo fan although I didn’t get another console until one glorious Christmas when I was given my very favourite, the N64 and my all time favourite game, Rare’s glorious Banjo-Kazooie. I can still remember the feeling as I shunned the snow outside for the 64-bit beauty of Freezeezy Peak!
How did you go from playing ZombiU on your Wii U to deciding to make a short film about it?
Shaun got the ZombiU WiiU bundle at Christmas, after seeing the game a couple of E3′s ago. During that time we had both been meeting at regular intervals to discus film projects and develop new film ideas, naturally the enjoyment of the ZombiU and the Gamepad itself gradually influenced certain ideas. We had watched Nintendo’s 48-Hour Wii U Video Challenge where they had gamers making WiiU related shorts and we thought it’d be great to come up with our own. We both enjoy anything zombie related, who doesn’t these days, and it just went from there, eventually morphing into ‘The Real ZombieU’.
What did you think of ZombiU overall? What score would you give it out of ten?
The concept feels fresh with the perma-death setup and it was great to see such a decent effort from Ubisoft at the WiiU launch, it’s a pity more people haven’t picked the game up as its really atmospheric and most importantly, fun to play. Hopefully ‘The Real ZombieU’ can generate a little more interest in the game and the WiiU itself as both deserve some decent sales and it’d be nice to give something back since it gave us as film makers a lot of inspiration!
Scoring the game, it’s definitely a good 8 out of 10, anything less is a little insulting I’d say since its not the same old rehash and it is a launch title. If this is what we got at launch we can’t wait to see what Ubisoft give us down the line, ZombiU 2 anyone?
Did you manage to complete ZombiU? How about survival mode?
We’ve not competed the game yet as work on the film has eaten up a lot of our time lately, we’re planning to finish it off after the shoot wraps and we can take a well deserved game marathon. Who knows we may even do a live hangout on Google+ for that
How many characters will feature in ‘The Real ZombieU’? Will there be scripted segments or will the survivor be alone as in the game?
Like the game, our only protagonist is Ron Dee, however he interacts with our own slightly inept version of the Prepper and of course there’s our gruesome zombies, some of which will be a bit more prominent than others, all of them looking dead good though…you see what we did there.
How long will the film be? When and how will you release its various parts and promos?
The film will be roughly 7 minutes, however when coupled with our promo videos, extra footage and video blogs, there’ll be plenty for people to enjoy. We’re aiming for an end of June release with zombie themed promos released every day for a week running up to the film itself, just to build some extra momentum and excitement. Then of course we’ll have interviews like this one and some post-production cast and crew spots too!
You mentioned having some Easter Eggs in the film. Can you tell our readers what cameos they might expect to find in the film?
We’re not wanting to spoil the fun of searching them out when the ‘The Real ZombieU’ goes live, but just for a little hint or teaser, you can keep an eye out for nods to Nintendo Enthusiast’s own staff
Have you been in touch with Nintendo or Ubisoft at all? Do you plan to be?
Not yet, we’re looking to try get some dialogue with a Ubisoft representative we’ve been passed onto as we have an idea/promotion and it’d be great to get them involved if possible. We’d be chuffed if both Nintendo and Ubisoft liked what we create and wanted to use the video for something officially.
What’s next for DeepFried35?
Besides world domination we already have several projects in development, some game related, some movie parodies and some original content. All our projects are hopefully going to let people know what we are about as a studio as well as let us develop and refine various techniques and skills as we work towards a big project in the future. In fact it was the development of this project that really led us down the deep fried route!
What game are you looking forward to the most in the future?
Hopefully PSO2, c’mon Sega you know you want to, Pikmin 3, Watch Dogs, The 90′s Arcade Racer by Pelikan13/Nicalis (Shaun voiced the announcer VO’s for the game), of course Zelda HD, Mario Kart, New Mario, Retro’s game and much more.
On Nintendo Enthusiast we have a weekly feature called The Score where we ask our community a question and poll their responses. So, we’d like to pose that question to you: Miiverse – Do you like it? How often do you use it? What could Nintendo do to improve it further?
SPJ – I love Miiverse, I think it’s one of Nintendo’s defining features or Ace card this generation coming. It’d be good to see more people buying WiiU’s to experience it of course, but I’m positive it’ll happen after E3 and the run up to 1st party games like Zelda HD and Mario Kart. I think Miiverse gives gamers a platform to speak directly with developers and will hopefully, over time, mean better games all round. No more Aliens Colonial Marines nonsense, any lies will be quickly exposed and their games rejected for poor quality, it makes developers much more likely to make an effort and create games with real value. I’m also happy with how it’s moderated, there’s far too many sites where you can’t just chat and enjoy games, it’s all negative and you’ve also got the spammers ruining a lot of forums or chat boards. In the 5 months I’ve had my WiiU, there hasn’t been a single time I’ve felt unhappy being on there or getting frustrated at pointless debates. I understand it removes some freedom but I think it’s a good balance and it’s created a positive environment for enjoying games. It’s also a fantastic way to promote games. I‘ve bought a few as a direct response to positive feedback on Miiverse so it works and it’s also just good wholesome fun interacting with other gamers and viewing or creating pictures. If I were to give a suggestion on improving Miiverse it would be, increase the character limit to something like 150 characters per post and to create a General Chat community, currently its a bit frustrating having nowhere to just ramble about games or Nintendo in general.
Thanks to Greg & Shaun for taking the time to speak to us, and we wish them all the luck for a successful shoot!
Don’t forget to check out The Real ZombieU when it launches towards the end of June, hopefully just a week or so after ZombiU 2 is announced at E3!