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So I am writing the lore for a video game. It takes place on an island, near the Western Coast. It has been 20 years since the zombie apocalypse and 10 years since the government started reclaiming key cities and spots in postapocalyptic America. The game takes place when the government is nearing the gates of said island. What would hinder them from taking this chaotic island with a unified army?

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    $\begingroup$ Offtopic: Every time i hear about zombies "x years later" i have to think about conservation of energy - HOW are they moving after all these years? Where is that energy coming from? (and how can we make electricity from them? :) ) $\endgroup$ Jun 18 at 13:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Jan'splite'K. the obvious answer is the zombie hamster-wheel, with a real live human or two stood, sat or wandering around in front of them to encourage them to shamble in the desired direction .. a ubiquitous feature of all eco friendly post apocalypse offices and shopping malls 😁 $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Jun 18 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ Islands have gates? $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Jun 21 at 1:22

2 Answers 2

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Cost-Benefit Analysis

When assaulting an enemy position, there's a simple calculation that the attackers must make based on two quesions:

  1. What are we likely to gain from this battle?
  2. What are we likely to lose from this battle?

Now, every army has different standards for where the cost benefit ends, but the answer here could be quite simple - it would cost the government too much in the way of lives and resources to take the location in question and the prospective gain in land and resources wouldn't make it worth the trade off.

If you're attempting to reclaim a land from zombies, but the enemy doesn't have anything in the way of resources and controls no vital logistic routes, you might as well ignore them if they aren't making any attempt to fight you. And, even if they are, containment is far, far easier than assault. An island, for instance, hold little in the way of strategic value for either logistics or resources.

Simply put, it's not that they cannot reclaim it, it's that they don't want to. It's just not worth it when there are more important things to go after in a zombie apocalypse and resources are usually assumed to be limited.

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  • $\begingroup$ Battles are fought by generals; wars are fought by presidents. The decision to prosecute the war is made by the top leader and that leader's beliefs are critical. A leader may believe that control of the land is most important and will pursue the war even if it leaves the land uninhabited and a wasteland (see Mariupol) while other leaders might have made the decision this answer suggests. Other leaders have sought evidence to justify a war (Gulf of Tonkin, Iraq weapons of mass destruction) when others could not see any such evidence. $\endgroup$
    – David R
    Jun 18 at 14:08
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Something worse

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/06/04/monstro

No one knowing what the fuck was going on in the darkness. No one but us.

Initially, no one believed the hysterical evacuees. Forty-foot-tall cannibal motherfuckers running loose on the Island? Negro, please.

Until a set of soon-to-be-iconic Polaroids made it out on one clipper showing what later came to be called a Class 2 in the process of putting a slender broken girl in its mouth.

Beneath the photo someone had scrawled: Numbers 11:18. Who shall give us flesh to eat?

Most places in the US, it was just zombies. Zombies, and rumors, but when the sun came up just zombies. You can clear out zombies with steady, unified, disciplined people.

But there were still rumors. Maybe things worse than zombies. Maybe things smarter than zombies, that knew when those disciplined people were showing up. Maybe these things were older than the zombies, or had started the zombie epidemic. Maybe they fed on zombies. Maybe they were amalgams of zombies. Maybe these things could make you a zombie if one looked at you, or thought about you. Rumors, even as the country was gradually cleared.

There are rumors about this island.

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