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Zombie Cow wants you to take hold of its Privates

By on May 11, 2010
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Perhaps only in Britain could a publicly-funded broadcaster make a game about sexually-transmitted diseases.

Channel 4 has funded Zombie Cow, the makers of Time Gentlemen, Please! and Gibbage to make Privates, “a funky little game about tiny little condom-hatted marines going right up peoples’ rude areas and shooting all the nasty chompy things that tend to live there if you’ve been carelessly putting bits of yourself in silly places.”

Channel 4 has been pretty innovative with its education budget, taking half of the money earmarked for television programmes and spending it on games. It argues (and I entirely agree) that games are a powerful way of getting messages across to a young audience who are difficult to reach by traditional means.

They’ve had success with Smokescreen (about online privacy and safety) and 1066 (if you’re British, you’ll know what this is about; if you’re not, you probably won’t care) and have just launched Trafalgar Origins by developer Preloaded.

Privates is pretty risqué. The press release opens with the phrase: “Britain. Land of Hope and Gloryholes” and proclaims proudly “Privates contains the word ‘merkin’”.

But it aims to talk about sexual health in an open, funny and, hopefully, informative way. If it succeeds in getting the message across to young adults about the stuff that we usually find too embarrassing to talk about, that will be a huge win.

I do wonder what the Daily Mail is going to say, though.

* * *

Dan Marshall of Zombie Cow has contributed his “Lessons learned” from self-publishing to my forthcoming book “How to Publish a Game”. You can find him on Twitter at @zombiecow.

 

I was encouraged to post the full press release. Here it is:

London, 11th of May 2010

 

A BIT CLOSE TO THE BONE: Zombie Cow Studios and Channel 4 offer FIRST LOOK at new game ‘Privates’, which aims to poke a little light where the sun doesn’t shine.

BRITAIN. Land of Hope and Glory-holes. Where pregnant, waddling teenagers take up the full width of the pavement with their oversized triplet pushchairs, unaware that their rampant, perpetual humping has filled them to the brim with all manner of grotty infections.

Privates is a platform twin-stick shooter in which you lead a teeny-tiny gang of condom-hatted marines as they delve into peoples’ vaginas and bottoms and blast away at all manner of oozy, shouty monsters. It’s rude, funny, bitingly satirical and technically pretty accurate if you don’t count the tiny people or the germs with teeth.

“Privates is a totally crazy concept. It’s very exciting to finally be able to reveal what we’re up to,” said Dan Marshall, founder of Zombie Cow Studios. “We’re exploring some pretty unique gaming environments and themes… I can honestly say I can’t imagine you’ve ever played anything quite like it. These first five screenshots should give you a pretty good idea of what we’re up to, but there’s a hell of a lot more to come soon.”

“Channel 4 have been awesome in giving us a load of money and then keeping pretty quiet no matter how filthy and objectionable the content became. It’s gone really well.”

Privates boasts five whole levels of bug-busting action across a variety of gorgeous 3D locations, with a fully-voiced comedy script and a nutso soundtrack. You never know, you might even learn something handy about your downstairs-department.

Privates contains the word ‘merkin’ and is a PC and Xbox360 download developed by Zombie Cow Studios, creators of the critically-acclaimed indie title Time Gentlemen, Please!

The PC version will be available to download for free from Channel 4 and E4 websites this summer. The Xbox one will probably cost a little bit of money, we’ll see.

Screenshots are available now at zombie-cow.com/privates. If you need to know anything, pester [email protected], or keep up-to-date at zombie-cow.com or on twitter.com/thezombiecow.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: thecurveonline.com
  • “A bit close to the bone”

    Ha! These guys are fantastic.

  • Thanks for the clarification, Alice. Lazy of me not to make that clear distinction.

    But I wonder if the BBC would have been brave enough to fund it…

  • You are so right. I've added it

  • BTW, C4 isn't publicly funded, it's commercially funded. But it is govt-owned. A small detail, but important: this is not paid for by tax-payers' money, which is often the misunderstanding.

    Great writeup though, appreciate it!

  • You absolutely need to post the press release too. It's hilarious – very refreshing to see someone actually trying to stand out with a pressrelease. Worked as well, as far as I could tell!