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Project Zomboid has big plans for 2022 and beyond, with NPCs on the way

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After a great many years in Early Access, Project Zomboid has finally hit the big time with it regularly seeing multiple tens of thousands of players and they have some big plans. The latest release (Build 41) took a long time, as it reworked so much of the game but it's done and they're moving onto the next big chunk of features and it all sounds rather exciting.

One big addition that has been talked about for years is the addition of NPCs, and they're finally coming - for reals this time. They've split into different teams to work on different things, one team being focused on getting NPCs all hooked up and working.

NPCs being the most requested feature of the game, they decided to do them before pets and hunting because "a big reason for not being comfortable with hunting and pets being first, is they are still NPCs and would necessarily leverage all the technology we’ve being working on for years at this point". To get there, another team will be working alongside them on normal content patches for Build 42 but they're trying to get NPCs actually release as soon as they can.

Until NPCs arrive, Build 42 sounds like it's going to be pretty impressive too, greatly expanding the "tech tree" for crafting as they say: "our ultimate goal is to provide significantly extra crafting potential to allow players to effectively create a post-apocalypse nu medieval community, to provide plausable alternatives to any of the lootable items in the game that would logically be plausable with the correct skills and resources so players don’t feel pressured to restart the early game repeatedly to get long term fun out of the game".

Sounds fancy. We're going to need to take a properly look at the modern Project Zomboid soon.

Project Zomboid is available on GOG and Steam.

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4 comments

TrainDoc 11 Jan
I am astounded that this game has persisted this long and I'm feeling obligated to give it a try at this point. Good luck to the devs, they certainly have made something very unique and appreciated.
torham 11 Jan
I hope adding NPC's doesn't ruin the experience like it did in 7days2die. Over there NPC's (traders really) broke the economy and scarcity of items and are a total immersion breaker. It's still mostly fine if you just avoid them, though some items are harder to obtain than before if you do so. NPC's have lots of potential but I fear it will be very hard to do good.
I'm really looking forward to this. It had NPCs in the far earlier versions about ten years ago - though I think they were a bit primitive (I can't quite remember, it's a really long time ago). I can't remember if they removed them for bug reasons, or because they were changing from sprite-based to 3D based, and wanted to basically remake half of the engine.

Anyway, I feel reasonably confident they're going to "do them right" and not ruin anything, though. They've kept delaying them over the years because they were determined to put them back in "properly", and not half-broken, and wanted all these different systems in place first. They're also probably a bit scared of doing it wrong, as people have been asking "When are you putting the NPCs back in?" every day for a decade :)
wbarnes1989 13 Jan
Lmao my dude, NPC have "been coming" for a decade now. Community is toxic, developer isn't much better. I've heard NPCs are coming soon since the were removed on the Desire/ModDB/IndieDB build 8+ years ago. They could add them tomorrow and I still wouldn't reinstall this garbage.
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