Ghoul Britannia: Land of Hope and Gorey

PAX East 2019: Brexit Brings the Undead Back in ‘Ghoul Britannia’

With Britain’s exit from the European Union receiving delay after delay, there might be something else that’s getting postponed along with it. That event? The Zombie Apocalypse. That’s the idea behind Ghoul Britannia, an upcoming retro-inspired adventure game by Binary Space.

Shown off at PAX East in Boston this past weekend, the game focuses on two people, one living, one undead. In the near (or eventual) future, Britain’s exit from the EU causes a labor shortage, which politicians decide to remedy with Extended Labor Units, or ELUs. And what are these ELUs? Well, the undead of course! But don’t worry, they’re harmless. That is, until the day when they suddenly decided to start eating people. After this unfortunate development in affairs, Britain is plunged into chaos. You first play as Hope Andrews, a young woman who is trying to make her way back to London. Along the way you meet Dave Gorey, a zombie who still retains some semblance of humanity and wants to help. Switching between the two characters, you make your way across Britain while hoping to find out what caused these zombies to go haywire in the first place, or if they were always intended to do so. 

While writer and designer Jonathan Howard gave me the option of playing as either Hope or Gorey for my playthrough, I decided to go with Hope in order to get more of the beginning of the story, while my friend played as Gorey because he wanted to be a zombie. Something for everyone. Ultimately you play as both throughout the ten chapter campaign, switching off when puzzles require it. Hope can interact with people, while Gorey sticks to his fellow zombies, and each has to be wary of the other faction. In the demo, I didn’t come across too many zombies, as I was tasked with finding and bargaining for supplies in order to fix the generator that would keep them out. 

As I was playing, I noticed some concept art featuring zombie kangaroos, and asked if they would be in the game. Since developer Binary Space is based in Australia, director Saxon Druce informed me that the zoo level will in fact feature the undead animals of the outback, including zombie koalas as well. 

Ghoul Britannia: Land of Hope and Gorey will release around the middle of 2019 on Steam, possibly followed by Nintendo Switch. If you didn’t realize that the subtitle is in fact a pun on the characters names and the famous British patriotic song, then you’re not alone.