Thursday, January 05, 2023
The Zombie Apocalypse
As a scientist I can think of a long list of possible scenarios on how humanity might undergo an apocalyptic downfall, or even extinction. The scientific probability of the actual apocalypse involving any zombies is exactly 0%. Unlike nuclear explosions, pandemics, or exploding suns, there is no known or even hypothetically possible scientific pathway which turns people into the sort of zombie frequently depicted in literature, movies, or games. You can turn a person into a near-comatose entity that you might call a "zombie", or you can turn him into a bundle of uncontrolled aggression, but you can't possibly create a shuffling zombie army hunting down everybody else. While the chance of an alien invasion is very slim, it is infinitely higher than the chance of a zombie apocalypse.
As I don't find the scenario very believable, I don't like movies or games featuring a zombie apocalypse very much. And I had hoped that the trend would sooner or later lead to an oversaturation of the market, and then disappear. Unfortunately it seems that in 2023 we will still get a lot of zombie apocalypse content. HBO will air a The Last of Us TV series. The long list of upcoming 2023 video games contains quite a lot of games involving zombies, from The Day Before to Dead Space, to a number of sequels of zombie games. Even the previews I saw of upcoming board games had zombie games, as if the million different versions of Zombicide weren't enough.
In the end it is all part of a greater trend: Lack of creativity and imagination leads to reheating of old ideas. While you certainly could come up with an enemy for a game which fulfills a similar role, being dangerous mostly in large groups and thus satisfying to kill in large numbers, nobody is bothering to come up with a better story. It is just easier to reuse the existing zombie apocalypse trope.