The general overview of the game is as follows: set in a familiar Liberty City, players control Peter Krupp (whose first name is a reference to Dawn of the Dead), a young veteran with dreams to see the world that weren't completely dashed by his military career. He is returning to Liberty City to settle down and start saving some money so that he can retire early and travel the globe. However, his younger days before the military life saw a delinquent Peter getting into all sorts of trouble, and some of the less-than-legal skills he learned were put to good use as a mercenary in the years following his discharge. Back on the mean streets of the city he grew up in, Peter finds himself returning to old habits with new talents. His patriotism, and his regard for authority, have dwindled, and for a man like Peter that means there are plenty of ways to make big money.
Typical of the GTA series, players will guide Peter through various missions with various contacts. These missions run the gamut and see Peter meeting more of the seedy underside of Liberty City's denizens than he knew before joining the military. The main plot point is that a greedy and corrupt pharmaceutical company has taken hold of the city in his absence, and its hands are in every dark avenue Liberty has got to offer. Peter will work for gangs and factions and individuals who may be enemies to one another, but what they all have in common is that this shady company, called Parasol (a play at Resident Evil's Umbrella Corporation), is bad for business.
Approximately two-thirds of the way through the mission tree, Peter is tasked with stealing one of Parasol's trucks for one of his more trusted associates, George Foster (the first name homage to George Romero), the boss of a very high-end and successful drug ring. The drugs and medical supplies loaded onboard will be very valuable in his operations, not to mention in letting the company know that its presence and activities have not gone unnoticed.
After an exciting nighttime chase sequence, the truck's driver loses control on a rainslick street and tips the vehicle on its side. Peter kills the driver and calls his handler to report that most of the shipment has been ruined in the crash. He's instructed to get what he can and in a cutscene we watch Peter unloading the cargo while the contents of a broken biohazard crate leak out and drain into the sewer.
After a few more missions and approximately a week of in-game time, our protagonist is instructed to kill a weasel who works for Parasol. George had hired the snitch to report on Parasol's secret dealings so that he might leverage an advantage, but suddenly the man loses Foster's trust and becomes a liability. Peter tracks the target down to the harbor, where the man is apparently waiting on a boat to flee the city, and kills him. As he is leaving, Peter notices a figure stumbling out of the darkness. The figure is a disheveled, bloodied hobo, and it attacks Peter. Try as he might, Peter's melee attacks prove ineffective. The hobo gets back up no matter how many times the player knocks him down. Even if the player tries shooting the bum, he still rises once more to attack. It is only when the player finally decides to shoot the man in the head that he stays dead. Very disturbed by this, Peter rushes back to his safehouse. On the way, a gaggle of shapes afflicted similarly to the homeless man lurch out of the back door of a building, and Peter knows instantly that the hobo was not an isolated case. He locks himself in his apartment.
The game skips ahead one week as its second act begins. We see Peter's television, and as he cycles through channels various news reports relay that crazed, rabid people have been attacking citizens all over the city. Police and emergency forces are stretched thin dealing with the threats that seem to be growing every day, and frightened denizens are urged to stay indoors for their safety. Peter has taken heed and remained locked in his apartment for the week, despite his growing paranoia and the sounds emanating from his neighbors' rooms. Suddenly, his phone rings and Peter talks to the first person he's been able to reach the whole time: his old friend, Stephen Mills (DotD again). Stephen needs Peter's help.
The two reunite elsewhere in the city, and with this mission there begins an invisible timer. This timer stretches for approximately two in-game weeks, at which point the final mission leading into the third act will trigger. This timer simulates the infection that is spreading across the city, and as the epidemic takes hold the face of Liberty City will begin to change. The police will gradually respond with less force to Peter's criminal activities until eventually they offer no response at all, so busied are they combating the growing menace. His missions will grow more hurried and more dangerous as the locations to which he travels become overrun, and even the mission objectives will change as his allies' lives fall into danger.
The city itself will fall deeper and deeper into chaos. Pedestrians will be running for their lives until there are none left. Drivers will break laws in their hasty flight until abandoned vehicles litter the roadways. The police will set up blockades around more dangerous areas, quarantine zones, which will eventually fall to the pandemonium. The National Guard would play a role, providing the substantial authoritative force where the police no longer remain a threat. Many of Peter's missions will become available based upon this timer, and if Peter fails to reach his contacts on time the missions, and in some cases even his friends and employers, will no longer be there, having been victim to the walking plague. His ability to protect his friends will determine which of them will be alive in the final act. The time sensitive missions will stack up, building tension for the player as Liberty City crumbles. Some of the missions will even exclude others so that choosing to engage in one will ensure that the player will be unable to perform the other (such time-related activities are all an homage to Capcom's Dead Rising zombie game).
The city's autonomy, too, will slowly degrade. The web will shut down, and the radio stations will play distress beacons (some of these signals triggering optional missions for Peter) before shutting down entirely. Eventually the phones will go dead and communication will be relegated to walkie-talkies, the broadwaves filled with the screams of the damned. The police will stop responding entirely, and whole buildings will burn to the ground. The power will go out blocks at a time until eventually the entire city is in a blackout. Encounters with and the presence of the infected will grow until their legion fills the city streets, making travel nearly impossible.
Early on Peter discovers that the infected are zombies: undead and reanimated corpses intent on feeding on the flesh of the living whose bitten victims die and themselves reanimate and who can only be stopped by destroying the brain. Peter is smart and figures this out very quickly, and this introduces one of the most important and vital aspects of the zombies and of any zombie lore. One of the zombie's most terrifying aspects is that any single bite spells instant doom for the victim. Unfortunately, few zombie-themed games succeed in capturing this terror, relegating the living dead from legitimate threat to cannon fodder. However, condemning a single mistake (no matter how much it agrees with the concept of the zombie and no matter how unimaginably terrifying it will make them to the gamer) is not exactly fair for the average player. Its accuracy though is warranted in the eyes of the many zombie fans, so a simple choice will be introduced. Players will select whether they would like to continue the game in regular mode or hardcore mode. In regular mode bites do not prove fatal, so long as the player can find appropriate medical care in time (an antidote or cure to the infection provided by Parasol and distributed to hospitals and other vendors but which comes at a hefty price). In hardcore mode, any single bite will result in infection and death (saving the game will be instantly disabled, but players will be allowed to spend their remaining time, no more than three in-game days, as they wish, having to deal with the increasing symptoms of the oncoming sickness before being forced to revert to an earlier save). This will instantly ensure that players are terrified of the zombies and of encountering them.
When the city has reached its deepest and darkest state of decay, the timer that has been invisibly counting down during Act 2 will trigger a phone call from a very panicked George. He has a survival shelter, a panic room, in which he and several others are planning to hide while the city falls apart. However, he has found himself stuck on the wrong side of town, and he needs Peter to help. He is holed up, safe for the time being, but not for long.
If the player has not completed his other missions quickly enough, he may be in the middle of something. This might make it difficult to reach George in time, and if he does not, the player will arrive only to discover that the barricades have fallen and Foster's shredded corpse has now joined the ranks of the living dead. Whether Foster himself is giving directions or whether Peter has only an address plucked from the remains to guide him, the player will navigate the game's hero across the chaos that has befallen the city. Reminiscent of the riot modes from the last generation GTA games, the city is filled with random violence and destruction. Peter makes it to the vault, and the player's performance up to now will determine whether everybody who is supposed to be there actually is, whether some are missing and perhaps a few of them infected, or whether Peter is the only survivor to make it at all. Before closing the door, however, Peter receives one last call from Stephen. Stephen is trapped, surrounded, and needs Peter's help. Over the waves the player listens as Stephen shouts for help, and then as he is overrun. Peter closes the door.
The second act ends, and the third picks up twenty-eight days later (an homage to the movie of the same name). Peter narrates that they (or only he, as the case might be) have been isolated from the outside world the entire time. That the radios and the pounding fists upon the vault door have all fallen silent. How many people occupy the vault will determine the motivation for opening the door and setting foot outside, but regardless of why Peter will have to venture into Liberty City once more. He will step outside to a ruined wasteland (an homage to Fallout 3's Vault and subsequent emergence) and begin his journey anew.
Act 3 will see the game the furthest removed from its predecessors and most unlike typical GTA than any of the other acts. There will be no police, no pedestrians, no traffic, and the city itself will be in ruins. Entire buildings reduced to rubble, cars crashed or abandoned, roadblocks smashed through and overrun, trash and debris everywhere, and bloodstains painting the streets and sidewalks. Corpses in varying states of decay that haven't been reanimated for one reason or another will litter Liberty City. And the zombies. The city will be teeming with zombies, hundreds packing every street. From now on every random spawn will be a zombie, and large groups of them will rove seemingly at random so that some areas may be packed with hundreds and even thousands of bodies, and other areas will be unnervingly empty. Gunshots and other loud noises will always attract more, and the player will always be at risk. The longer the player remains in any given area, the spawn rate will increase to simulate the zombies being drawn to his location.
Much of Act 3 will take place on foot. Vehicles would have either been used to flee the city or destroyed in the chaos, and while many wrecks litter the street only a very random few will actually work. The ones that don't will make the streets difficult to navigate using the ones that do, not to mention other roadblocks. Liberty City will be an undead-filled maze for Peter.
Peter will at first be anchored to the vault. It is safe, secure, and supplied. From here he will venture out and explore the city. The player will be encouraged to revisit the old hideouts of Peter's allies and other potentially fortified locations where he will find a few survivors dotting the city. Some will be friendly, happy to see another living human. Some will be hostile, wanting to protect their stockpiles. Some of them will choose to rejoin Peter in the vault, and others will remain where they are, but either way it is from these characters that he will receive his next set of missions. Gathering supplies, finding and fixing vehicles, exploring the city, mapping routes, finding survivors, fixing fortifications, and more.
In Act 3 the player will be able to interact with the NPC's in a variety of ways. The first and most extreme interaction will come in the ability to kill any NPC in the game. This will completely remove that character from the story, as well as trigger the appropriate response from related characters, including turning on Peter (depending on whether they know that Peter was the one responsible for the given character's death). Furthermore, the player will be able to affect the fortifications and overall well-being of the NPC's he meets, intentionally and unintentionally, which can result in those characters' deaths or in hostility toward Peter. This will effectively ensure that no two playthroughs are exactly alike, and in no single run will a player be able to "do everything." This will stress the importance of choice and living with the consequences of one's actions, encouraging players to be responsible for themselves.
Peter's overall goal in the final act will be to simply escape the city. He will have to secure a route to the airport, prepare an aircraft, and figure out how to fly it out. Because of the freeform nature of Act 3, when the player accomplishes this and effectively "wins" the game can come before finding and interacting with all the NPC's. His interactions with the characters will also depend on whether he gets any help in accomplishing this goal and who is alive to help at all. Peter's interactions with the other survivors of the outbreak will be varied and take him across many different plot points, but these will all technically be optional. Perhaps Peter will decide to confront the head of a group of ruthless looters and raiders. Perhaps Peter will decide to find the Parasol employees responsible for the creation of the zombie menace and uncover their malevolent plot. Perhaps Peter will even have to confront a betrayed old friend when he finds that Stephen is still alive.
Eventually however, Peter will escape, and the game will end.
Microsoft still hasn't paid me the money I requested for babysitting peoples children over xbox live for the last 3 years.-Mooshabong81
*Slow Clap* Well I can see you've been thinking about this for some time now!
I think it is a great idea, but I think that this would definetly not be something that the current engine could handle. Too many zombies on screen, buildings burning down (the engine wasn't built to handle large-scale destruction like that), etc. However, as a completely stand alone game not related to the GTA series at all (with its own engine and all that), this could be pretty good.
wow that sounds so awsome!!! i would to play gta like that, too bad it wont happen soon,a boy can only dream...
Why the hell would R* put some stupid zombie crap in the game? I want more awesome modes.
GamerTag: Mr Floppay
Currently Playing: GTA IV (Add me for MP), The Orange Box, Left 4 Dead, Fallout 3
sounds more like something that would be in Saints Row
Grass grows, birds fly, sun shines, and brother... I hurt people
From: slowmojoe | #009
As stupid as this mode is. Volition would never got that in depth with something. They're all about cashing in on gimmicks.
GamerTag: Mr Floppay
Currently Playing: GTA IV (Add me for MP), The Orange Box, Left 4 Dead, Fallout 3