Developer Saber Interactive, who was recently acquired
by the Embracer Group for an industry-rattling $525 million, has announced World War Z
. World War Z: Game of the Year Edition. The new package for the co-op third-person shooter will include new content such as weapon packs, character packs, and most notably a new three-mission PvE episode set in the French city of Marseille (see gameplay from Marseille in the video below). It also packs in all of the previously released DLC. A Nintendo Switch version is also in development, though no release date has been confirmed.Saber Interactive also has NBA 2K Playgrounds, Halo Anniversary, and the Nintendo Switch port of The Witcher 3 on its resume. Studio CEO Matt Karch told IGN, “World War Z has had a huge impact on our studio in all respects. It feels fantastic to hit goals that perhaps a few years ago seemed unimaginable. We have over 10 million registered players that have played the game and our concurrent player counts are regularly in the tens of thousands. During our free week on the Epic Games Store 9.9 million people claimed the game and we peaked at 250k simultaneous users across platforms. The Epic team told me WWZ was the most successful free game on EGS yet – we even topped Left 4 Dead 2 in terms of downloads and number of players.”
Getting this to run on the Switch is the hardest thing that we have had to do. – Saber CEO Matt Karch
As to whether or not NBA 2K Playgrounds will continue following the studio’s purchase by the Embracer Group, Karch said, “Absolutely. We have a fantastic relationship with 2K and we plan on continuing the partnership.” He added, “Our acquisition by Embracer won’t change Saber’s DNA, in fact I would say that one of the reasons we were so keen to join them is because I believe their culture will amplify what has made us successful. Embracer allows its studios to become the best versions of ourselves, I think you see that with the other companies under their umbrella.”
Finally, Karch spoke to the technical challenges of getting The Witcher 3 to run on the Switch: “The biggest challenge was finding which compromises could be made to the game which wouldn’t have a significant impact on the visuals. We needed to make sure the game looked great, fit into the Switch’s memory and ran at a solid frame rate. There was really no single factor which made this a reality. We experimented constantly for the first few months until we found that balance.” He added that the upcoming World War Z port could be even more challenging, telling IGN that “Keep in mind that we are rendering scenes with hundreds of enemies and four players online. Getting this to run on the Switch is the hardest thing that we have had to do – this is true even though we are porting our own [Swarm] engine over to the platform.”World War Z: GOTY Edition will be released on May 5 for Xbox One and PS4 for $49.99, while the PC version will launch the same day on the Epic Games Store for $44.99. Details of the Nintendo Switch release are unknown at this time.
Ryan McCaffrey is IGN’s Executive Editor of Previews. Follow him on Twitter at @DMC_Ryan, catch him on Unlocked, and drop-ship him Taylor Ham sandwiches from New Jersey whenever possible.