Developers can’t copyright a game’s mechanics, as the team behind the phenomenally successful PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds have learned to their cost
Part of the elemental appeal of zombie fiction is the permission it provides to imagine which household item, when pressed, you might use to stove in the face of a lunging, undead version of Mrs Brown from No 37. In the glare of such an apocalypse, familiar domestic items such as tea towels, cafetieres and loo brushes must be reappraised, their value now dependent on their ability to cause brain damage rather than efficiently dry a plate, deliver coffee, or clean the glum residue from a toilet bowl. Do you reach for the bread knife (rasping, noble), or the biro (intimate, cruel)?
The 17-year-old film Battle Royale further elevated the premise. In the film a busload of high school students are gassed and delivered to a remote island. There, they’re provided with a map, a pocketful of rations and a single weapon each, which range in efficiency from crossbows to paper fans. The class teacher, played by Takeshi Kitano, informs the class that they must, during the next three days, fight to the death till only one student remains. The structure is similar to that of a zombie film except your friends and colleagues are no longer the lumbering, insentient undead, but scheming, very much mortal enemies.