Everything we know about Project Zomboid NPC update

Everything we know about Project Zomboid NPC update
Images via The Indie Stone

Written by 

Tarran Stockton


23rd Mar 2023 11:38

The Project Zomboid NPC update is perhaps the most anticipated update in the game's history, as it's set to add a whole new dimension of potential storytelling and experiences. 

Project Zomboid is a hardcore survival RPG that's been slowly making progress in early access for the past decade. Over time, updated versions of the game have introduced new features and even complete overhauls, as the devs get closer to their intended final version.

There's still a long way to go and with such a small team, progress can be slow, but if you want to learn about the Project Zomboid NPC update, we've got you covered.

Project Zomboid NPC update explained

Project Zomboid NPC update explained
Click to enlarge

The NPC update is set to be the last big feature that the developers want to add before they deem the game complete. That doesn't mean development will stop, but it will then fall in line with the vision they had for it from the start of development.

Firstly, NPCs are set to include humans and animals. The animals will be coming in Build 42, laying the groundwork for the rest, and giving us the first glance at NPCs that aren't zombies. However, the main draw of the NPC update is the other humans and the potential gameplay that can result from that.

The developers have only revealed some information so far on how exactly the NPC system will work, so if you want a much better explanation, check out this blog post, or this one from the official website.

NPCs will be permanent characters that you can encounter in the world. They can form in groups of survivors, or lone survivors, and when you aren't around them, they will still be out in the world having experiences. For example, you could meet a group of five survivors early in the game, and then meet the same group later after some members have died, or other survivors joined them.

NPCs can also be friendly or hostile, with some forming raiding parties to kill you or ransack your base if they think it's vulnerable. The idea of the NPC system is that it creates emergent stories and gameplay, with no two playthroughs being the same due to randomisation of NPCs, events, and more.

Project Zomboid NPC update: Release window
Click to enlarge

The Project Zomboid NPC update is set to kick off with Build 43 and be finalised with Build 47 according to the developer's roadmap. However, there is no concrete launch in place for either build, although Build 42 is still set to launch first sometime in 2023.

It's hard to predict when the first part of the NPC update will drop, but based on previous update timelines, we can assume it will launch sometime in 2024. Considering how slow the pace of development is for this game, don't take our prediction at face value, and The Indie Stone could potentially surprise us by releasing it earlier, or much later.

We'll make sure to update this once the devs have a firm idea of when Build 43 will launch.

That's all for our explainer of the Project Zomboid NPC update. You may also want to know all Project Zomboid platforms and whether the game is set to come to console.

Tarran is a Senior Guides Writer at GGRecon. He previously wrote reviews for his college newspaper before studying Media and Communication at university. His favourite genres include role-playing games, strategy games, and boomer shooters - along with anything indie. You can also find him in the pit at local hardcore shows.

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