You might be wondering why anyone in the world would call a game Yet Another Zombie Defense HD – and it’s a fair question. In 2009, the release of my first game, Duel: The Art of Combat, on Xbox Live Indie Games wasn’t very successful. I spent almost a year working on it in my spare time, and in the end it wasn’t very popular (something that’s so often the case for many developers’ games). So, I decided to put together a zombie game over the weekend using the assets from my first game. Because zombie games were popular at the time, I didn’t think much about the name and decided to call it Yet Another Zombie Defense – it was supposed to be a one-weekend project after all.
But the game started to grow (something that’s also often the case for many developers’ games). Initially it was supposed to be a simple endless top-down zombie shooter, but then I recalled one zombie game where you could set up turrets and barricades to help you defend against the zombie horde. Then I decided to add an economic aspect to it to make it more than just a reflex-based game, but also one where you have to think and try different strategies. The result was that you could take your time building your base during the day, but during the night you had to defend it hectically and pick up cash from the zombies you killed to improve your chances in the coming nights.
The game’s graphics were really simple, and the character animations looked stiff. When it was ready for release after two months of work, it didn’t look great, so I didn’t expect much – but at least I didn’t spend a year on it like the previous game. When it finally launched, though, it turned out it was really fun and addictive and people loved it! On top of that, it was selling like crazy, earning in the first month what I made in a year through my day job. That allowed me to go indie full time and start a small game development studio.
I’ve tried making a few more games for Xbox Live Indie Games in cooperation with other people, but none of them became as successful as Yet Another Zombie Defense. For some time I focused my efforts on other platforms, but when Xbox One was announced with its ID@Xbox program for indie developers, I knew I had to bring it there at some point.
I made the first attempts to launch it on Xbox One in 2016, but I soon realized the technology I’d originally used was outdated compared to modern game engines, so I made the decision to rebuild it in Unity. It was a painful process, because I basically had to re-do the same work, just using different tools, but in the end it was completely worth it. The game looked a lot better than the original, and I could easily add new content to it.
The new version was called HD, because it wasn’t exactly a sequel – after all, the core of the game was still the same. But it was also a huge improvement over the original version, with modern graphics and animation, improved physics, new gameplay mechanics, items and barricades, as well as the addition of local and online co-op. By the end of 2017, I decided to join forces with my brother Mariusz, who had some experience with development for Xbox One under his belt, and we finally brought the game to Xbox One through the ID@Xbox program.
So here it is, Yet Another Zombie Defense HD, now available on Xbox One – a game that started as a quick one-weekend project for Xbox Live Indie Games, now a fully developed Xbox One title nine years later. It’s been a long and exciting journey, and I believe today isn’t the end of the story! Zombie games are just like zombies: there’s always more to coming!