This fall’s Humans vs. Zombies (HvZ) game plot will focus on a civil war between teams led by President Elizabeth Stroble and Provost Julian Schuster.
“Initially it was just a joke I threw out,” said Chris Hawk, HvZ mission designer and Webster junior. “What if the science department was creating this new vaccine that turned out to accidentally make zombies?”
The 11 moderators of HvZ looked to incorporate the upcoming presidential election into the plot. They decided the HvZ storyline would include an election between Schuster and Stroble.
“Stroble is up for re-election at Webster and Provost Schuster doesn’t like the way she’s running things, so he’s going to try and run against her,” said junior Paige Andrews-Johnson, head of HvZ plot design. “But amongst all this, a zombie outbreak has begun.”
Hawk said the moderators wanted this game to be “Webster-driven.”
“Webster has a lot of school pride, but not too much school spirit,” Hawk said. “The best way to (increase school spirit) as Webster students, we can laugh at ourselves.”
Hawk said HvZ moderators, or mods, knew they wanted to include Stroble and Schuster in the plot, but wanted to get the administrators’ permission beforehand.
Hawk, Andrews-Johnson and three other HvZ mods met with Stroble and Schuster during the summer. Hawk said he was intimidated upon meeting with the president and provost.
The mods explained the concept HvZ and the possible plot to Stroble and Schuster. Andrews-Johnson said the two were both excited about the game.
“We were in the meeting room with (Stroble and Schuster), just those two. We presented the plot and they really loved it. They were very enthusiastic, especially Stroble. She loved the idea of being involved.” Andrews-Johnson said.
Neither Stroble nor Schuster will be directly involved in the game’s missions. One of them may make an appearance at HvZ’s final gathering, Andrews-Johnson said.
“When you really look at it in a whole world perspective, it just seems like a silly game of tag. But for the people who play it, it’s a lot more than that.” Hawk said.
“It takes a special type of person to be up at 3 a.m. sitting in front of the WVA surrounded by zombies, trying to figure out their best way to get out.”
Andrews-Johnson is the quest-giver for Stroble’s human team, which Andrews-Johnson said is the more peaceful of the two teams. Hawk is the quest-giver for Schuster’s human team, which Andrews-Johnson said is more militant.
Hawk compared the two competing human teams to the two tribes on the television show “Survivor.” He said he wasn’t aware of an HvZ plot with two human teams who compete against each other.
“This is not a human-centric game, this is not a zombie-centric game. This is a player-centric game,” Hawk said.
Hawk said as a moderator, he will make sure the humans are more focused on themselves than on the zombies.
“As moderators, our job is basically to make sure that players are having a fun and fair time …and acting like big children,” Hawk said.