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This new open-world survival game promises to 'completely redefine the genre'

Undawn
(Image credit: Tencent)

Tencent has unveiled a new survival game called Undawn that follows the adventures of a group of survivors in a zombie-filled post-apocalyptic world. But the walking dead aren't the only problem players will face as they struggle to stay alive—or even necessarily the worst. 

If you've played video games in the last 15 years, this should sound familiar. Undawn promises PvE and PvP, and along with the usual scavenging and crafting, players can group up to trade resources and build shelters that will help them more easily ride out the end of the world, but conflicts between the non-undead are apparently bound to erupt as well.

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"With Undawn, we wanted to create a new type of action game that combines open-world freedom with RPG elements that would completely redefine the genre, regardless of platform," said Rick Li, executive producer at developer Lightspeed & Quantum Studios. "The fact that we created such an amazing experience for mobile and PC platforms means that even more players around the globe will be able to survive the apocalypse together, creating the potential for a huge new type of open world experience."

If you follow mobile games, you may notice that Undawn looks (and sounds) an awful lot like Dawn Awakening, a zombie survival game Tencent announced last year. The game descriptions are virtually identical, Dawn Awakening is (or was) also being developed by Lightspeed & Quantum Studios, and character's from Undawn's Raven Squad are similar or identical to Dawn Awakening character art. 

(Image credit: Tencent)

Well, two out of three ain't bad. 

Anyway, they are in fact the same, as Tencent confirmed in an email that Undawn is the “official name” for the previously mobile-exclusive Dawn Awakening. It’s not yet decided whether the addition of PC means that crossplay and/or cross saves are also in the works: Tencent said that crossplay “is something the development team wants to include, but is still under development.”

It's also really not clear what sort of "amazing experience" Undawn actually is. A recently-posted Dawn Awakening gameplay video indicates that it's a straightforward third-person shooter that shifts into first-person when looking down the sights, but my lack of fluency prevents me from picking up further details. Descriptively, it sounds a bit like Fallout 76 meets Overkill’s The Walking Dead, which isn’t the worst idea for a videogame I’ve ever run across. After watching ten minutes of that video, though, I have very strong doubts that it's going to redefine much of anything.

Zombies are obviously the central peril, but the Undawn website hints at some deeper weirdness. Raven Squad, which includes the trio above, looks fairly straightforward as videogame heroes go, but the Factions are a different story altogether.

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Undawn Factions

(Image credit: Tencent)
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Undawn Factions

(Image credit: Tencent)
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Undawn Factions

(Image credit: Tencent)
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Undawn Factions

(Image credit: Tencent)

Like so much else about the game, it's not clear how the factions are going to fit into the big picture. They appear to be alive, but also give off a distinctly unfriendly look. Why anyone would decide that a zombie apocalypse is the right time to dress up as a Painkiller villain, I do not know, but I'm pretty sure that none of these folks are going to be lining up to help rebuild society as we know it.

Storefronts haven’t yet been announced, but the website says Undawn is “coming soon.”

Andy covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming—the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.