Original Zombies were discontinued as an element of DigiPen Humans vs. Zombies after Season 3, due to several conceptual design flaws.
Original Zombie Discontinuation
After Season 3, Original Zombies became a discontinued feature in DigiPen Humans vs. Zombies games, due to several reasons proposed by Season 3 Lead Designer Kevin Sheehan during a Season 3 Postmortem. The arguments included:
- Original Zombies discourage group play and team trust - both of which are enormous elements of a successful HvZ game.
- Original Zombies have too much influence on the success of Zombies during any given season; Whereas an OZ with only one kill on Day 1 will make the game tough for Zombies to win, an OZ with 15 recorded kills may cause the game to end by the third day.
- Original Zombies results in "OZ Checks", a paintstaking process in which Human players would shoot one another upon leaving safe zones (this would stun any Original Zombies). This was an unengaging element of gameplay, yet was an obvious and necessary strategy for Human survival.
The alternative (and current replacement) for Original Zombies is the "Starter Zombie", a player who begins the game as a Zombie, but does not possess the camouflage of an Original Zombie. To account for the reduced effectiveness, there are typically multiple Starter Zombies. This approach returns the game's focus to teamwork and group play, reduces the chance of early-game influence by applying bell-curve probability earlier in the week, and eliminates the need for "OZ Checks", effectively solving all three arguments against the design of the Original Zombie.
Multiple Original Zombies
Season 3 was the first Season to feature more than one Original Zombie at the beginning of the week. Seasons that feature two or more Original Zombies can expect much quicker Horde growth (this is often to counterbalance any rule or gameplay changes that may facilitate Human survival).
Previous Original Zombies
Scott Reed (Season 1)
Scott Reed made his first kill late in the day on Monday, when he lured Frank Aliberti outside to take a smoke break with him. This proved to be a very fortunate endeavor, as Aliberti proceeded to single-handedly tag six more Humans that evening.
Katie Pfeilschiefter (Season 2)
Katie was given the difficult task of not only having to get the game going as the Original Zombie, but to protect a mission object as well. This made it so that she had to be especially cunning; making tags and converting people while not giving her identity away. That being said, she was still able to make four tags throughout the day, getting Season 2 off to a great start.
Devin Kaas and Blake Richardson (Season 3)
Season 3 was the first season to feature two Original Zombies, as well as players starting as Zombies. This made it possible for the Original Zombies to fabricate outdoor firefights, and subsequently lure Humans to assist the OZ and get tagged in the process. This process, along with many other clever tricks, was utilized by Devin Kaas, who totalled approximately 10 kills on Day 1 alone. Blake Richardson also contributed to the OZ kill count with approximately 3 kills of his own, in addition to various assisted kills with Kaas and other Zombies.