I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Andy Hodgetts, a talented developer from The Indie Stone – the team behind the brilliant indie RPG Project Zomboid. The game is set during a zombie apocalypse and allows players to make multiple decisions throughout in order of surviving for as long as possible. However, the game asks about your survival in a different way – “How will you die?” You are even provided with the length of time you managed to keep your characters alive whilst avoiding the slow-moving zombies, inspired by classic zombie films and literature from George A. Romero and Max Brooks. On Steam the blurb for the game reads as follows:
Project Zomboid is an open-ended zombie-infested sandbox. It asks one simple question – how will you die? In the towns of Muldraugh and West Point, survivors must loot houses, build defences and do their utmost to delay their inevitable death day by day. No help is coming – your continued survival relies on your own cunning, luck and ability to evade a relentless horde.
The Indie Stone are a relatively small team and therefore Project Zomboid continues to undergo regular developments as part of its Early Access model. The game does, however, offer a variety of significant gameplay features in its current state and the forthcoming planned features are detailed as follows:
- Sandbox zombie survival game.
- Full line of sight system and real-time lighting, sound and visibility mechanics. Hide in the shadows, keep quiet and keep the lights off at night, or at least hang sheets over the windows.
- Vast and growing map (loosely based on a real world location) for you to explore, loot and set up your fortress. Check out Blindcoder’s map project: http://pzmap.crash-override.net/
- Use tools and items to craft weapons, barricade and cook. You can even build zombie proof forts by chopping trees, sawing wood and scavenging supplies.
- Deal with depression, boredom, hunger, thirst and illness while trying to survive.
- Day turns to night. The electricity falters. Hordes migrate. Winter draws in. Society is in freefall.
- Farming, trapping, fishing, carpentry, character customization, skills and perks that develop based on what you do in-game.
- Hundreds of zombies with swarm mechanics and in-depth visual and hearing systems.
- Proper zombies that don’t run. (Unless you tell them to in the sandbox menu).
- A ton of amazing atmospheric music tracks by the prodigy that is Zach Beever.
- Instant action ‘Last Stand’ mode, on top of our Sandbox and Survival.
- Full, open and powerful Lua modding support.
- Online multiplayer survival with persistent player run servers.
- The return of our PZ Stories mode that also serves as first ever tutorial actively trying to kill you at every turn. Kate and Baldspot return!
- In-depth and varied NPC encounters driven in a persistent world, powered by a metagame system that turns each play-through into your very own zombie survival movie with emergent narrative gameplay.
- Engine upgrade to make the most of your graphics card as well as your processor.
- Constant expansion of the countryside and cities around Muldraugh and West Point.
- Full wilderness survival systems, animals and hunting for food.
- More items, crafting recipes, weapons and gameplay systems.
- Steam Workshop and Achievements support.
- Game pad support.
- Local 4 player split-screen co-op.
It was a joy interviewing and talking to Andy about the team’s development process as well as his history and personal preferences in video games. His enthusiasm and attention to detail are reflected in the hard work that is going into the development of Project Zomboid. His high praise of the work and support from Dean Hall (current lead developer on DayZ) is inspiring and displays genuine comradery and respect between mutual zombie enthusiasts and video game developers.
You can visit the official Project Zomboid website here.
Project Zomboid is currently available via Early Access on Steam. You can download the demo and purchase the game here.
(Minecraft gameplay footage used from free stock footage. Project Zomboid footage used with permission from The Indie Stone’s YouTube page. DayZ footage used with permission from user Avaris’ Youtube page.)