Awhile back, a Tumblr post pitched an idea for a game about 1950s housewives going up against the zombie apocalypse. Indie developers at Sketchy Panda Games decided to try and make it a reality.
Aberford’s story centers around four women living in post-WWII America, enjoying all that era had to provide (including all that fun sexism and racism) before a strange virus turns the men-folk of Aberford into raging zombies. It’s up to our leading ladies Peggy, Betty, Doris, and Sylvia to protect themselves and try to put a stop to the zombie menace.
According to the developers, there will be a focus on a “very involved, deeply human, socially relevant story for this game” rather than just another hack n’ slash zombie-fest. “We’re exploring the tragedies and injustices in the lives of these ’50s housewives, and zombies are merely the catalyst. We want you to have a lot of fun, but we also want you to leave this game feeling haunted.” they say in a response to a question regarding the need for yet another “sub-par comedy zombie game.” The game includes representation as well, and is set to feature POC characters (such as Betty), different body types among the women, and a few trans characters.
Combat in Aberford seems like it will be primarily melee-based, with characters swinging around frying pans, golf clubs, rolling pins, and other items you could easily find in your home. Sketchy Panda Games state that the combat will be challenging, as the characters aren’t trained for this sort of thing, even if one of them is a pro baseball player none-to-shy with a bat. Mashing buttons won’t help you against the undead here either, “You’ll have to earn each kill with cunning and agility.” Which means learning how to string together combos and counters. Sketchy Panda launched a Kickstarter for Aberford on September 15, 2015 that ended October 18, 2015.
The bad news is, Sketchy Panda couldn’t get the funding through Kickstarter in time, falling short of their $675,000 goal that was set for the sake of making development of the game a full time priority and hiring more staff. The game having no playable demo, as well as some very early renders as the trailer for the project, may have hurt its chances of getting funded in the small window of time it had. So what does this mean for Aberford? According to their Tumblr page they’re regrouping, focusing less on the art development, and working to get out of pre-alpha. They’re still working to make Aberford a reality, but it’s going to take a bit longer then they would have liked.
As it stands I’ll be keeping tabs on their progress and rooting for them to succeed.