Project Zomboid, the long-running Early Access zombie survival game has recently seen a very interesting surge, repeatedly blowing away their previous records for players online.
As of yesterday, April 25 it managed a new peak player count of 7,191. For a game that's been in Early Access since 2013, it's actually pretty incredible to finally see it getting some player recognition. It's a great game too, one that has continued to evolve in some pretty huge ways.
While the "stable" build is generally quite behind, they also have a "IWBUMS" (I Will Back Up My Save) Beta on Steam you can opt into at any time, which I imagine most players are on. The upcoming build has masses of new content including new gameplay styles, new character creation, new zombie behaviour, improved combat and gunplay, a new blood system, visibly ripped and damaged clothing, new sound effects, improvements to the levelling system, new visuals for many parts of the game, an improved tutorial - and the list goes on forever.
Their current focus on build 41 which is in the IWBUMS Beta is online multiplayer, which is disabled in the current Beta builds as the overhaul is so huge they're working on bringing it back up. Sounds like from their blog posts, it's still a little while away.
Why the sudden surge in players? Once again, it seems Twitch livestreams are helping another game. At a few points during March, tens of thousands were watching people playing it. A similar story to what happened to Among Us, although obviously here the increase isn't as huge. Still, to go from 1-2K players to now regularly hitting over 7K, the developers must be happy with that.