This is the third outstanding zombie Kickstarter of Greenbrier Games. Quite the achievement. It’s hard to get noticed between the many zombie and survival games out there. Yet, this production house seems to have found a way. A journey, really, starting with two successful zombie boardgames – leading to the currently running strategic 3D zombie. As Shawn Hayden, Digital Team Lead, tells us.

What makes your zombie game unique? A lot of them focus on one particular element. We want to differentiate ourselves in a number of ways by merging some genres together like survival, base building/defence, exploration, and rogue-like elements. Secondly, it’s not JUST about the zombies, but dealing with the people as well, both good and bad.

What is your game about? Zpocalypse: Survival is a game about exploration and survival in a gritty post-nuclear zombie apocalypse setting. The players job is to help a group of survivors attempt to eke out an existence and build a place for themselves in a brutal world. They will need to scavenge for supplies and food, find and fortify a shelter, recruit other survivors to their cause, defend their people, and attempt to grow and expand, facing challenges every step of the way.

Zpocalypse is part Sandbox, part Real Time Strategy, and part RPG. The game is not purely story-driven – but events trigger story elements to ensure each game is different. “Our AI Manager will also help to keep the world interesting and challenging.”

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How did a board game – no, two board games – develop into a digital game? It all started back in 2011 when Jeff Gracia and Zachary Parkes teamed up to make a zombie board game which would end up being called Zpocalypse (1402 % funded! Yes, that’s more then 10 times its goal). Finding that making a game was a lot more work than they thought it would be they ended up hiring creative writer Julie Ahern, freelance artist Ricky Casdorph and Jeff’s wife Theresa to assist with marketing and event planning. It was during this first campaign, when Greenbrier Games met Shawn Hayden, who at the time was just a lucrative backer of the Zmaster Pledge level. Shawn and Zach ended up discussing their love of RPG’s, and actually started playing some Pathfinder remotely via roll20.net for many months. Shawn expressed some interest in helping out with the company, and developed a Unity based squad board to go along with the Zpocalypse boardgame. After this Shawn helped out with numerous other projects, and ended up joining the Greenbrier Games team in 2013 when they converted from a partnership to an Incorporated Company. Fast forward to now, and Shawn is spearheading the digital adaptation of Zpocalypse with his previous connections with the modding community.

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Why did you decide to start a campaign on a crowd funding platform? We all have normal jobs during the day and work on development at night and weekends. We’ve invested a lot of time and money into the project so far but in order for us to continue and get the game to the state we want it to be we need some help! We chose Kickstarter because we have had great experiences with them in the past and we think the model of only getting the funds if you are successfully funded, brings more legitimacy to the project. Plus we have backed a large number of projects on Kickstarter ourselves, we believe in kicking it forward!

Can you tell us about the other Kickstarter projects?! This is actually our 5th Kickstarter campaign. We started our in 2012 with the Zpocalypse board game (which this digital game is based on). We had a lot of success with that campaign. We learned a lot from that and launched our second Kickstarter Zpocalypse: Aftermath (543% funded) which was an enhancement to the Zpocalypse board game. We have since started some new lines including Ninja Dice and we are actually running another Kickstarter right now for our newest board game Heavy Steam which is currently almost 50% funded. Each project we have gotten much better at setting goals realistically while still offering enough extra options to over-fund and get some neat extra features.

What would be your advice regarding creating a project on Kickstarter? The biggest advice I have is make sure you have everything you need to get started and a lot of content and information about the product. Lots of people have ideas but unless you have previous experience releasing something so people know you can follow through on what you are offering, people will be hesitant to back your idea unless you can truly show them you can make good on your promises. The Kickstarter video is definitely important and should showcase the basic information about the project. We have found that the majority of people don’t finish watching the video so make sure the most important parts are in the beginning! Secondly, you really need to start marketing your project months before it goes live, so as to create an initial following once you hit publish. It could be the greatest product nobody has ever heard of, and without that following to get through the initial hurdles of funding your project, it can make it a daunting experience.

Have a look at the campaign video below.

The Zpocalypse: Survival – Post nuclear zombie apocalypse Kickstarter campaign has 288 backers pledging $12,030 of the $50,000 goal – at the time of writing. Deadline: May 20, 2014.