Creating DEADCRAFT

Now you’ve had a chance to play DEADCRAFT (if you haven’t yet, take advantage of the current STEAM sale and grab it with a 20% discount!) the team behind the game came together to offer insights into the game’s creation and design including why Reid is a half human-half zombie, how zombiecraft came to be and where the inspiration came from for the Junkyard!

To start off, Hisashi Fujii, the producer of DEADCRAFT at Marvelous talks about its inception: “The idea for this game came from Kenichiro Tsukuda, the head of Marvelous Global Games Studio, who asked me if I would be interested in doing a life simulation game set in a post-apocalyptic world.

I asked, “Do you mean post-apocalyptic farming?” and he replied, “Doesn’t that sound fun?” I was quite interested in the subject, so I immediately agreed and created a proposal that combined Tsukuda’s vision with my own.

We started development in March 2020, and soon after we were forced to work from home due to COVID… Working remotely made getting together to set the design specifications more difficult and introduced other challenges we were not used to. I am happy that we will be able to successfully launch the game under such circumstances, and I’m sincerely grateful to the entire team for their hard work.”

“During the planning stages, the main character Reid was originally a normal human, not a half-zombie” Akira Kurochi, DEADCRAFT Director reveals.

“Since the game is set in a post-apocalyptic world, I thought about what life would be like. I imagined a world where resources are scarce, food and water are difficult to come by, and even just surviving is a daily challenge. But we also felt making the world too realistic would hinder gameplay and storytelling, and our team decided to make the game more outrageous and unique. By forgoing realism, we were able to come up with various zombie-related gameplay ideas and decided to make zombies a main feature of the game. This is what led us to make even the main character a zombie.

Because half-zombies are also half-human, Reid can use his human intelligence to craft and interact with people. On the other hand, he can tap into his half-zombie side to gain superhuman powers and create frankies (loyal zombie allies) to follow him into battle.”

Hisashi Fujii, DEADCRAFT Producer also adds: When we were discussing making the main character a half-zombie, I was thinking how to make a crafting feature that incorporated zombies. That is how zombiecrafting, a process in which items are made from corpses and other undead materials, was born.

The first zombiecrafting item I thought up was the zombie car (a.k.a. The Sleigh).

The Sleigh was easy to understand conceptually and had great visual impact. Normal tools have engines, motors, and other kinds of power sources, but items made from zombiecrafting have none of the above—they are able to operate simply because they are zombies repurposed as tools. With this new perspective on crafting, I had my unique hook for this game.

That’s also when we decided “DEADCRAFT” would be the title.

Akira Kurochi reflects on the design of DEADCRAFT’s world: For the environment design, we strived to make the “Ark,” the last bastion of humanity inhabited by the villainous Nebron and his lackeys, exude the lively energy of the people residing there. At the same time, we wanted to convey an eeriness reflecting Nebron’s treatment of his subjects as little more than living resources. By featuring steel and fire heavily in the design, we were able to create a rich environment that feels unrestricted by conventional post-apocalyptic worldbuilding.

In contrast, Reid’s home—a partially destroyed house in the shadow of a crumbling cliff—serves as his base of operations and symbolizes starting from the very bottom. It would be too dangerous to live there in real life. You can utilize crafting to make wonderful improvements to the area around your house, so we hope you enjoy this fixer-upper.

In terms of character design, the game presents a unique spin on the genre by featuring half-zombies, frankies (home-grown zombie allies), and zombie crafting, so we knew we wanted character designs with a strong pop of color that eschewed the typical dark, violent designs of post-apocalyptic worlds.

For example, Brandon, an enemy who appears early in the game, is violent and brutal, but because he is sort of dimwitted, we tried giving him a slightly more likeable design. Since Brandon uses a flamethrower as his weapon, his hairstyle is also inspired by flames. Other characters also have fun designs that make them stand out in a post-apocalyptic world, and we hope you enjoy them.

In this game, you can create various items through crafting, and we wanted to differentiate the designs between normal crafting and zombie crafting as much as possible. Designs for normal craftable items are realistic, while designs for items made through zombie crafting are playful and fantastical. There are a variety of craftable items such as weapons, facilities, and food that you can see for yourself.

 

Akira Kurochi then discusses striking the right balance between action and survival: DEADCRAFT focuses on the story of its main character, Reid, but the lives of NPCs are also woven into the game’s overall narrative. When creating the story, we took care not to make Reid and other characters virtuous heroes. After all, a sense of morality would limit gameplay options in the lawless lands of the apocalypse.

In DEADCRAFT, you can live a self-sufficient life, growing vegetables in your fields and killings rats to cook their meat. However, we wanted to make a survival game that provides players with multiple pathways to their next meal says Hisashi Fujii, DEADCRAFT producer. Some methods to get resources you need to survive include threatening or even killing townspeople for their possessions. Of course, there are risks in committing crimes, so it is up to the player to choose if they wish to engage in these activities. 

Akira Kurochi adds: But crafting is the foundation of the game, so much so that we included it in the title. You can craft all the food and drink you need to survive, and beyond meeting your basic needs there are even food items that grant powerful buffs. But you’ll also need a powerful arsenal to take on your enemies, and you can craft a wide variety of weapons from scratch, as well as upgrade everything in your collection. There are all kinds of weapons, from melee to long-range, so not only does crafting make you stronger, but it can also let you change up your playstyle. 

We hope you enjoy playing the game your way.

Talking specifically about ‘It Came From the Junkyard’, DEADCRAFT’s first DLC, Hisashi Fujii, says: We started with the general idea of an additional story like you often find in manga, where after beating the game an even stronger enemy appears, and you must team up with your friends to defeat the new foe. What I wanted to do was simple—I wanted to create the supreme ruler of DEADCRAFT’s post-apocalyptic zombie wasteland. Although this area appears in the main story, it may be difficult for players to fully explore it because of the sheer number of powerful zombies that roam the area. In the DLC, Reid and his friends will take on the Junkyard together, and I hope you reach the very end of it.

Regarding the second DLC, “Jessie’s Wasteland Wares” he comments: I decided to make Jessie the main character of the DLC because I wanted to create a fresh experience that was different from the main story.

However, I was worried that the combat would be monotonous and players might get bored quickly since Jessie only has one weapon and can’t use special zombie abilities. We were instead able to create a combat experience that is about managing a fight with a limited skillset, and it turned out to be pretty fun in the end. In the main version of the game, guns can only hold a limited number of bullets at a time, but giving Jessie’s shotgun infinite ammo was key to this new gameplay experience.

I also want to highlight a special feature separate from the core gameplay. There is an item called “Instant Camp” that allows you to camp out in the wilderness, but we changed it into something different in the DLC. I had a lot of other priorities, so when I first saw the new Instant Camp, I wondered, “Is this really something we should be spending time on?” Now I feel everything worked out wonderfully, and I hope you check out the new Instant Camp. Trust me, it’s worth it!

We hope you enjoyed reading insights from the team and if you want even more DEADCRAFT, don’t forget to watch the series of walkthroughs on our YouTube channel here.