Remember The War Z? Yeah, that one, the zombie survival game that later became Infestation: Survivor Stories? We didn’t cover it much here on MMOBomb since it required a purchase to play, but chances are you’ve probably heard quite a bit about the game itself and even more about its developer/publisher OP Productions LLC and Hammerpoint Interactive. If you don’t know those names then you’ve probably heard of Sergey Titov even if it was for less than flattering reasons in the past.
Fast forward a bit and a new game in the same genre appeared called Romero’s Aftermath. We covered it quite a bit in an interview a while ago and were amused to find out that once again Sergey Titov was involved in the project. This version of the game was free-to-play and built on the engine that powered Infestation: Survivor Stories. Aftermath had the input of George C. Romero (son of the better known George A. Romero of Night of the Living Dead fame) lending it some horror cred, but even that wasn’t enough as Aftermath announced that it will be closing up shop on Dec. 24, 2016. Free Reign Entertainment (yet another company affiliated with Sergey Titov) has since moved on to Shattered Skies, but if you want to play that you’ll need to buy it. One infestation down.
Anyway, back to Infestation: Survivor Stories. Check out the game’s Steam page and click on the link for the official site and you might end up a bit confused, since the link takes you to a page for a game called Infestation World. What gives? Well, Thai publisher Electronics Extreme partnered up with OP Productions earlier this year to bring a free-to-play version of Infestation to the gaming universe. So, you could buy Infestation: Survivor Stories (then dubbed Infestation: Survivor Stories Classic) or you could play Infestation World for free. While the two games did have differences it appears neither mattered, since ISS Classic is shutting down on Dec. 15 and Infestation World will close its doors on Dec. 31. Infestations 2 and 3 (although technically the same strain) cured.
Fear not, though, for just as a zombie is never truly dead, Infestation keeps getting up, getting re-branded, and shambling back for more. Infestation: The New Z has just recently launched on Steam and while it is still published by OP Productions, the game is now developed by Fredaikis AB. Claiming that the game is “a massive rework of Infestation: Survivor Stories,” the team at Fredaikis claims they want to work from the ground up and create the “best Infestation experience yet” and has added a number of anti-cheat measures. The game is free-to-play on Steam.
Frankly, I wouldn’t touch this with a stick. Yes, it admittedly isn’t my type of game to begin with, but even if it were I just cannot get behind multiple rebrandings of the same subpar title all with various ways of milking money out of players and having what can only be described as less than stellar customer service. I feel for actual fans of the game who saw potential along the way for all of these years and wanted the game to become something better, only to go largely unheard by the development team. I hope for those dedicated players Fredaikis makes good on their claims of creating the best possible experience, but the early Steam reviews aren’t very flattering. Given that Sergey Titov is involved with OP Productions (and Arktos, Hammerpoint, and Free Reign), I sent an email to the team at Fredaikis to inquire as to his role in this “new” infestation and have been advised that he has no role in development.
All I’ll leave this at for now is, “Let the buyer beware” and here’s to hoping that long-time fans of the game get the improvements and game they were able to see in the mess that many of us simply didn’t stick around long enough to realize was there.