I almost don't want to say this, because it feels like it might jinx it, but it kinda, sorta, maybe looks like, with a bit of luck, we could, possibly, be considering that we might, nearly, be about to get out of lockdown*.
The COVID-19 crisis has been pretty awful for the world and we are going to be wrestling with its long-term impacts for decades, if not longer. And that's assuming that we don't either see a resurgence, a return of a mutated strain, or just yet another global pandemic in five years' time. After all, we had Bird Flu and Swine Flu and SARS and MERS. The fact that this is the first one to reach Europe and US could just be the start of a cycle of pandemic infections that makes our lockdown experience a feature of life in the future.
However! Assuming that it doesn't, I should first acknowledge that the lockdown has been good for Zero Dark. It turned out to be a really good time to be launching a game with an integral solo mode and hundreds of people have been enjoying it if the Facebook group is anything to go by. But it also presents me with a post-COVID challenge: Versus mode.
COVID has lumped Zero Dark in with solo and co-op games like Rangers of Shadowdeep and Core Space (which are both excellent and I'm proud to be mentioned in the same breath). But Zero Dark is also a great player-versus-player game, akin to Infinity, WarCry or Rogue Stars. And as we approach the end of lockdown and clubs and stores gradually re-open, I have to work out how to make sure that those who enjoyed Zero Dark as a solo game take it back with them to share with others for the Versus experience.
My Big Plan™ for doing this is Zero Dark Vs The World!**
I always wanted to do a Zero Dark roadshow, but this challenge has given it purpose. My plan is a three-week circuit of the UK, visiting independent retailers, clubs and any events that fall in the same period, running demos. It'll be a chance to meet the community more widely, to catch up with friends, to give away a lot of swag, to hopefully make a bunch of sales but, primarily, to leave a lasting impression of Precinct Omega, Zero Dark and all that it involves. However...
We're not out of the COVID woods, yet, and I have no desire to become a super-spreader at this point in affairs. So ZDvTW1 won't happen until, at the earliest, Spring 2021. Meanwhile, then, I'm going to try to do some videos to promote the Versus game, talk about it some more online and - of course - release some more missions to support the Versus game.
Let me know if you've got any ideas of other ways I could be promoting Zero Dark and its Versus mode in particular!
*In Europe, anyway. I recognize that the R-rate in the US seems to still be >1 and in South America and South Africa in particular still seems to be climbing. I wish anyone in areas still badly affected the very best of health.
**Part One - the UK. If it goes well, I'm hoping to do Part Two - Europe, and Part Three - USA over the next few years.