Slave Zero is Making a Comeback

Slave Zero X is a stylish hack’n slash that is being developed by Poppy Works and published by Ziggurat Interactive. A prequel to Slave Zero, released for the PC and Dreamcast in 1999, it aims to reimagine the cult classic while introducing the series to a new generation. With a solid cast and several major talents involved, it’s looking like a promising experience.

During the 2023 Game Developers Conference, I got the chance to learn more about Slave Zero X from Cole Law of Ziggurat Interactive. This was an opportunity to get a better look at the game and to have a hands-on preview of the overall experience. 

An Introduction to Slave Zero X

Set four years before the events of Slave Zero, Megacity S1-9 is a dystopian world ruled by the iron-fisted Sovereign Khan, with the only opposition coming from an ancient order of warriors known as The Guardians. In an attempt to strengthen his hold on power, Sovereign Khan has created a new line of cyborgs known as Slaves.

However, one member of The Guardians, named Shou, decides to take an unorthodox approach. He merges with a Slave prototype to become a powerful being known as the Red Devil. With this new power and weapon, players will battle the forces of Sovereign Khan to liberate the world from his tyrannical rule.

Playthrough of Slave Zero X

During the 2023 Game Developers Conference, I meet up with Cole Law at the Hyatt Regency SOMA. First, they gave me a background about the history of the game along with the needed details about Slave Zero X. I then proceeded to play the demo. 

Given that the game is written by Miles Luna (the co-creator of RWBY), I could already see the anime influence from the start. The design of the Red Devil is reminiscent of Eva-01 from Evangelion, while the Sovereign Khan forces are similar in design to the Kerberos from Kerberos Panzer Cop. The world itself has all the hallmarks of several classic dystopian anime series, with the most notable being the Bubblegum Crisis series, with H.R. Giger inspired designs. 

The demo featured two stages and a boss fight at the end, which allowed me to get a good idea of the gameplay, as well as some elements of the story and the world. The world made great use of its dystopian source material and artistic style to bring to life a brutally grim world. The gameplay consists of standard hack’n slash mechanics, which were easy to learn. Combat performed naturally as every strike I made could be done with ease. When it came to the more complex aspects, I was grateful for Law helping me out with them.

Final Thoughts on Slave Zero X

Right away I was impressed by its visual design along with the performance of the combat mechanics. The game was easy to learn from the start but players are expected to adapt to their situation. Overall, Slave Zero X marks all the boxes I like from a retro inspired game hack’n slash. 

While no launch date has been set, Slave Zero X is expected to launch sometime in 2023. The demo is currently available on Steam for those who are curious about the game. 

This preview is part of our coverage of the 2023 Game Developers Conference. If you attended the event, please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Disclaimer: FortySeven Communications provided 8Bit/Digi with press passes for GDC 2023.

8Bit/Digi is an independent media outlet that provides an insight into the gamer community of the San Francisco Bay Area.

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