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Undead To Rights: Project Zomboid Update

Better News From Indie Stone

The Indie Stone have announced that the first update for Project Zomboid is now available for download. And that’s not all! They’ve also answered some questions regarding Steam availability and the frequency and girth of future updates. If you’ve already pre-purchased the game and have access to the in development version, the update is available now. The free demo, however, will not be updated so if you want to see the changes in action, it’s time to hand over the clams. Fortunately, that just got easier because the game is now available through Desura. Not Steam though. Not yet.

The developers clearly understand that people want to buy the game on Steam, or at least to access it through Steam. That’s probably because they receive an email asking when the game will be on Steam once every six seconds. Wisely then, they have posted the full details of their current standing and thinking regarding Steam. Now those emails will only come in once every seven seconds.

Essentially, if you buy through Desura you should (I’ll stress and italicise that) be able to transfer across to Steam. At present, the plan is to have the game work through the Steam library sooner rather than later but if you want to purchase the game on Steam “you could be looking at a year, perhaps more”. Perhaps never. As I understand it, that’s simply because of the early stage the game’s at. If you want to know more, you can click through and read the whole post here.

As for the update itself, I haven’t had a chance to give it a proper look unfortunately. I understand it’s less substantial than many people had hoped but it does add modding tools, which is a wonderful thing, as well as the beginnings of more complex NPCs and character customisation. There is a long way to go before this game is everything we and the developers want it to be, sure, but they know that too. I like the idea of smaller, faster updates. It uses the community that’s already there in a (hopefully) helpful way. And I cannot be disenchanted by the ideas and the concept on show here.

The only real stopper

Given all that is not yet in place, the game’s strongest and most unexpected feature continues to be its commitment to the sheer bleakness of this particular end of everything. Most people see the cartoony, simplistic graphics and expect rotting tongues to be poking through the holes in decayed cheeks. The title doesn’t really support the tone either. But it’s there in the one question the game asks of you: “How will you die?” It’s there when you skip the tutorial and John was shocked by it when he first posted his impressions of the game. But that was three months ago and John also said: “If you’re reading this in three months I imagine the game will be unrecognisable.” It’s not. But it is still in active development, with growing support, and the developers continue to communicate their triumphs and their concerns.

Project Zomboid shambled its way into my heart the moment I found out it existed. It’s one of those games that seemed a real no-brai…it was inconceivable that it didn’t already exist. Everyone who has enjoyed The Walking Dead on page or screen wants an everyman zombie apocalypse RPG simulation, right? Everyone who has read the Zombie Survival Guide craves a survival experience that goes beyond have gun, will shoot, with characters and emotions and barricades. That one isn’t even a rhetorical question. It’s a fact. If you ask a thousand PC gamers what their dream game would be, 997 say “an RPG that attempts to explore the horrific imagined reality of a world overrun by the walking dead”. Those exact words. 993 want it to be isometric. Project Zomboid is our best hope at the moment. And it’s playable.

Fires > zombies

The best alternatives? Paw at your screen while reading about Dead State. Or, if you’re lucky enough to get the damn thing running, indulge in some Survival Crisis Z.

A quick word on Desura. Anyone who has followed the development of Project Zomboid to date will know that it has been troubled, to say the least. The team are hoping that the milestone of a first update will now lead to more regular, small updates. The good news is that the hard times, in terms of not knowing if this was a possibility, are hopefully behind them. That doesn’t mean the hard times are over though. Now they face the ultra-hard times of actually making a kickass, complex and highly anticipated game. Desura, from what The Indie Stone themselves say, have been supportive of them and other indie titles struggling for funding in their nascent days. And if you've already bought the game you can, if you choose, activate it on Desura like so. Truly commendable. Consider my cockles warmed.

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Project Zomboid

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About the Author

Adam Smith

Former Deputy Editor

Adam wrote for Rock Paper Shotgun between 2011-2018, rising through the ranks to become its Deputy Editor. He now works at Larian Studios on Baldur's Gate 3.