Here is the source of the italicized and bolded sentences in this post courtesy of IGN’s Andrew Goldfarb. I do not take credit for any of his work.
I just wanted to talk about the discussion on ZombiU’s story. In the podcast, Austin, Rob and Patrick joked about the devs making this game and then Ubisoft coming in and asking for a narrative backing for the game, which resulted in this conspiracy-laden B-movie zombie story. In reality, there could be a slight truth to this.
Since it was not brought up, I’ll assume they none of them know or remember this but ZombiU was not originally the game that was played for this podcast. At E3 2011, Ubisoft showcased a new Wii U exclusive title named “Killer Freaks from Outer Space”. At the time, Ubisoft described the game by saying “The dangerous and degenerate creatures from outer space we call FREAKS seek to eradicate the human species with single-minded fury”. During E3 2012, host Aisha Tyler noted that “as the game was developed, the tone shifted a bit” and the killer freaks “slowly evolved” into zombies.
On the matter, story design director Gabrielle Shrager said, “We were having a blast with Killer Freaks. The more we got into developing specifically for the GamePad, the more we realized how absolutely ideal it is for survival horror. The fact that you have to keep your eyes on two screens at once, it’s incredibly scary, [i]t’s a perfect fit."
So, the idea of the ZombiU story being added much later in development isn’t very farfetched at all. And as a little bonus, there is a little Killer Freak toy that you can find in some parts of the game, which I only know because I posted a screenshot of one of them to the Miiverse (RIP Miiverse). If anyone is interested in seeing “Killer Freaks from Outer Space”, then here is some gameplay, which mostly consists of very early and awkward gunplay as well as you character yelling “Oi, back off!” in a cockney accent. Turns out the British setting is one of the things that remained unchanged during the evolution of the game.