Review Fix Exclusive: Inside ‘Outbreak: The New Nightmare’

Review Fix chats with Evan Wolbach (Founder, Dead Drop Studios), who discusses the game and how it’s grown into something special on the PlayStation 4 and more.

About the Game:

Paying homage to the classic Resident Evil Outbreak games, Outbreak: The New Nightmare is the first fully 3D title in Dead Drop Studios’ Outbreak series – and the sequel to Outbreak (released in 2017). Prepare yourself for an unforgiving survival horror experience that’s seldom seen today as you scavenge for supplies, explore environments with multiple characters (each with their own attributes), and struggle to survive against the undead – now more horrifying than ever.

Review Fix: How was Outbreak: The New Nightmare born?

Evan Wolbach: Outbreak: The New Nightmare is the result of a deep desire to relive experiences like Resident Evil: Outbreak. Multiplayer co-op fixed camera survival horror simply isn’t a genre that sees many new entries – and there are many fans who want to return to that world of survival horror. As a solo indie developer, I knew I would be limited in the experience I could design and implement – but I felt that it was important to try and bring a similar experience to life. Fortunately, the game found a strong audience early on when it was released on Steam – which allowed me to build out the series and bring it to many new platforms, including most recently the PS4!

Review Fix: What is your role in the game?

Wolbach: My role is essentially everything. As a solo indie developer, I’m responsible for programming, art, marketing, business relations, funding, and everything else that goes into building and selling a multiplatform game. If there’s anything I can’t make myself, I source it from contractors and other creators – and it’s been a joy to be able to support other artists and developers as I’ve sought to build these survival horror experiences.

Review Fix: How did you get involved in the industry?

Wolbach: I’m a professional software engineer turned game creator. I started this series because of my love for classic survival horror and gaming. It seemed like an adventure to make my own games. I’m pleased with the results and how I’ve been allowed to grow my series over the last few years.

Review Fix: What has development been like?

Wolbach: To be blunt: stressful, risky, and time-intensive. The Outbreak series has been built through working nights and weekends over many years – but the response from players has helped give me the drive to continue. It has been wonderful to see all the positive responses and feedback from folks just like myself who miss these types of classic survival horror experiences.

Review Fix: What makes this version of the game special?

Wolbach: The PS4 version of Outbreak: The New Nightmare has the best graphics, resolution, and framerate of all console ports of the title. It even includes PS4 Pro improvements that drive these enhancements even further. It also retains local split-screen co-op – a recent addition to the series that provides a huge amount of depth to the experience.

Review Fix: What games influenced Outbreak: The New Nightmare the most?

Wolbach: Easily the classic Resident Evil and Silent Hill titles. As you play Outbreak: The New Nightmare and all of the other titles in my series, you’ll find loving nods to the roots of survival horror – from fixed camera angles and crushing inventory management to puzzles, janky combat, and even co-op!

Review Fix: Any fun stories or wild moments during development?

Wolbach: Outbreak: The New Nightmare was the first 3D title I ever made. During early development, I was learning how to control 3D models and provide them with basic AI. While wiring up an initial demo with enemies that spawned automatically, a small bug caused hundreds of them to spawn over the span of just a few minutes. The result was my character running through the test level chased by a literal horde until the game eventually ran out of memory!

Review Fix: What were the major lessons learned?

Wolbach: The largest lesson I learned creating this series is that classic gameplay mechanics aren’t always fun (or appreciated) by the larger audience. Originally, my titles only featured tank controls, which I thought people would love – but I quickly learned it was important to also implement modern control schemes and give folks options on how they approach these titles.

Review Fix: Do you think preserving older gameplay mechanics in new games is important?

Wolbach: I really do. It’s important to remember the roots of the great experiences we love today – but also provide folks with some options so they can ultimately enjoy the experience. I’d love to see horror titles include more classic mechanics but also allow people to play the way they want to play!

Review Fix: What’s your favorite memory as a gamer?

Wolbach: The B scenario for the original Resident Evil 2. I loved the concept of mixing up an expected experience by suddenly having a super monster busting through walls and forcing you to rethink everything you thought you knew about a game. Resident Evil 2 is a masterpiece – and if you haven’t experienced the original, I can’t recommend it enough!

Review Fix: How do you want Outbreak: The New Nightmare to ultimately be remembered?

Wolbach: My hope is that the game is remembered as a genuine love letter to classic survival horror – and as a step to bigger and better experiences. I want to continue making more games and evolve them – including better production values and new gameplay experiences. Outbreak: The New Nightmare is not the end of the journey: it’s the beginning. By supporting this title, players will give me the opportunity to keep improving and making new games!

Review Fix: What’s next?

Wolbach: Bringing the Outbreak series (which are all coming to the PS4 in the coming weeks!) to new platforms – and pursuing new survival horror experiences. I’ve learned a lot over the last few years, and I’m very excited to continue to iterate on this formula and address the feedback received so far. Stay tuned: There are many awesome Outbreak announcements coming in the months (and years) ahead!

Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?

Wolbach: Thanks to all of the fans of my series! It has been absolutely wonderful seeing all the positive comments and constructive feedback over the last few years. Hopefully, folks have seen the constant updates and patches incorporating their feedback as this series continues to be supported. Thank you for purchasing and playing this series. And thank you for supporting survival horror: The best days of this genre are yet to come!

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About Patrick Hickey Jr. 10195 Articles
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Master Jedi and Grand Pooh-bah of ReviewFix.com and is the author of the book, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers," from leading academic and non-fiction publisher McFarland and Company. He is currently the Assistant Director of the Journalism Program at Kingsborough Community College and is a former News Editor at NBC Local Integrated Media and a National Video Games Writer at the late Examiner.com. He has also had articles and photos published in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Complex and The Syracuse Post-Standard. Love him. Read him.

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