To those who say that the motif of the zombie apocalypse has nothing new to offer, there is one stunning reply to prove them dead wrong. The role-playing game Unhallowed Metropolis, created by Hallows Eve Designs, envisions a world a hundred years in the future that has been ravaged by the horrors of an undead plague. But what makes Unhallowed Metropolis so remarkable is that the outbreak that spells the end to civilization as we know it occurs not in our time, but in the year 1905. Indeed, Unhallowed Metropolis is a stunning and skillful blending of the steampunk and zombie apocalypse genres, being the first and one of the best attempts at such a match up.
In Unhallowed Metropolis, post-outbreak society has restabilized sufficiently for science and technology to advance several paces. Humanity is no longer at risk of total annihilation from the zombie threat, but at the same time “animates,” as they are called, still prowl the wilderness outside of the world’s great fortress cities, and spontaneous outbreaks are a constant threat from within. The setting aesthetic is strongly Neo-Victorian and its steampunk technology is based on the scientific concepts of the age.
In addition to its magnificent setting and storyline, Unhallowed Metropolis enjoys a solid game system as well, which was purpose-built by the designers to be as streamlined as possible, allowing the players to focus on the richness of the world and its wide range of potential plots. The system even allows for the tracking of personal corruption, further blending Victorian literary themes into the game.
In all, Unhallowed Metropolis is a remarkable feat of creation and a solid example of steampunk worldbuilding. It established the steampunk-zombie match up and proved that there remains plenty of zombie material yet to be explored.
G. D. Falksen appreciates anything that blends 19th century science, zombies and grim noir-horror as seamlessly as Unhallowed Metropolis. More information about him and his cross-genre interests can be found on his Twitter and Facebook.