Jolt spin-off creates massive game universe based on real-world locations

15 Mar 2012

Ballardia Games, a new games company formed by former Jolt executives, has developed a new game called World of the Living Dead that makes innovative use of Google Maps and US Census data to create a massive game universe based on real-world locations.

Ballardia is a new independent Irish studio founded by former Jolt Online chief game designer Dave Barton (of Legends of Zork fame) and former Jolt Online CTO Kulpreet Singh.

Jolt was the games company formed by Demonware founder Dylan Collins, which went on to bring out online games franchises like Playboy Manager and Legends of Zork. Major online games retailer GameStop acquired a majority stake in the company.

Collins left Jolt Online last year and is now focusing on a number of start-ups as chairman, including Fight My Monster and TreeMetrics.

In the new game developed by Barton and Singh, which is aimed at hardcore gamers, zombie numbers in each city block react to player activity as they scavenge for supplies.

The new game is in open beta mode and a freshly re-animated Los Angeles County server is the start of a worldwide “zombocalypse” simulation.

Survival of the fittest

Realistic starvation and dehydration combine with the effects of fear and fatigue and make it tough to survive in a game where every city block teems with faceless hordes of the living dead.

World of the Living Dead is dark and unforgiving. It’s designed for gamers who want a real challenge,” said Barton.

“The zombie genre is about difficult moral decisions, about vicious competition for limited supplies after civilisation has collapsed. Do you feed everyone? Do you sacrifice a bitten survivor? Do you attack a squad of weaker survivors? WotLD forces players to make these choices every day.”

The game can be accessed online and a trailer can be seen here.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years