I’ll never forgive whoever killed this Zardoz video game

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Zardoz is an incredible movie. It features Sean Connery in a sling-kini/banana-hammock and giant floating heads that love guns and hate penises. I’m not even making that up. The movie goes places — it’s a cult classic, and you should see it. But we apparently could have played through it, according to a pitch for the game from the late 2000s.

Twitter user (and one time Kotaku writer) Supererogatory posted a pitch deck for Zardoz from Patapon developer Pyramid. The idea consisted of playing as the aforementioned floating head, which is also the titular Zardoz. As the head, you can command forces of minions to collect grain and use your exterminators to subjugate the violent brutals. Basically, it’s like Pikmin, but with way more guns and half-naked former James Bond actors.

The idea is really solid. As you gather grain, you can exchange that for weapons. You see, Zardoz isn’t really a floating god who thinks that guns are good and the penis is bad. It’s actually a tool of an ancient race of people who give you the guns to control the excess population while also using that population to farm the land.

But the standout feature of the proposed Zardoz game is its vocal-commands feature. Pyramid was planning the game for late 2000s Xbox Live Arcade, so it expected most players to have the headset that came with all Xbox 360s. Using that, players could shout commands like:

  • “Gun is good” — This would exchange your grain for extra guns.
  • “Kill the brutals” — By holding down a specific button, you can shout this command to have your various units attack the enemies.
  • “Enslave” — You can also command your troops to capture and enslave the brutals and turn them into farmers.
  • “Grow grain” — Force the enslaved brutals to harvest your farmlands.

The game was also going to have a multiplayer mode where you could play against other Zardoz floating heads. It even had a global meta-game where players could grow their territory on a persistent world map.

We need to know who said no to this game. We need to hold them accountable. Video games are supposed to be the weird medium where we get the craziest ideas. It is a moral failing that we have not had a Zardoz game yet. And I don’t know if video games can survive the revelation that we almost had one and yet the people in charge didn’t have the guts to actually make it.

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