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Everyone Dies

The zombie apocalypse is coming. You want to know how everything works. How dangerous is it? How can you protect yourself? We have the answers, but how much can we really say?

Mystery and uncertainty are a big part of the zombie canon. You shouldn’t go in knowing all the ins and outs. You shouldn’t feel like everything is perfectly understood. The unknown is part of the drama, and the seeking answers is part of the challenge.

So today, we’ll share what we can. It’s not a catalogue of spoilers from the dev team. Instead, what follows are the thoughts and observations of a fellow survivor in McMillanville.

It starts with a single, stark fact of life: Everyone dies.

Day 17

Reckon I can’t think of a more bullshit situation. And that’s a fact. When one of us dies, we come back as one of them. Our loss is their gain. Randy thinks the bites do it. He figures it’s something in the saliva or bodily fluids or some such thing. It’s hard to say. These days, ain’t like it’s easy to find someone who hasn’t been scratched or bitten at some point.

Shay’s got another theory. Says maybe we were all infected already. I don’t know if that scares me or not. Maybe that means we can find a cure. Maybe it means we’re all fucked. I just know this: so far, every one of my friends who’s died has come back.

The first time we had to put down someone we knew, I almost couldn’t do it. But then it went after Shay, and I just reacted. Later, my buddy Chuck asked the question we were all thinking: When these people die and get back up, are they still themselves? Deep inside, can they still think or feel? Do they have any choice? And did we?

But experience has answered that one, time and time again. We’ve seen how they act, more instinct than thought. And we’ve all seen that look. We’ve seen it in their eyes. Just hatred and hunger. Not one ounce of humanity left. Better that way anyway. It’s not your friend. It’s just a shell. It’s just a shell.

Day 18

Put more of the bastards down today. It’s crazy to think about how much things have changed. I still remember the day we started calling them zombies. Sounded fake at first. Like something out of a fucking horror movie, but what else would you call them? You see a man die — stone cold dead — and then get up and walk. And there ain’t no way to put one down but remove its head or destroy its brains. Wasn’t too long before we got real comfortable with the term.

They say the first one’s always the worst, and I’m sure as hell not going to argue. I pumped ten bullets to the torso of that fucking waitress and she just kept coming. Took a bullet to the brain to finally drop her. Lucky for me, she was one of the slow ones. If she wasn’t, who knows? I’d probably be shambling around with the rest of them.

Day 19

Everybody knows Randy’s the best shot, but he’s getting cocky. Today, he used that big ole Remlinger 700 to shoot a leg and an arm off of one. I swear he was aiming for the extremities just outta sport. The thing goes down, of course, but keeps on crawling. Never seen one deterred by pain, and that’s a fact. Well, Randy walks right up to it and caves in its skull. Stomp, stomp with his boot heel.

Reckless son of a bitch if you ask me, but he’s a sure shot, and I know we’re lucky he joined us. Just need to find a way to put his sharpshooting abilities to more reliable use.

Day 20

Can’t take nothing for granted. Tried to build a kind of guard tower for Randy out of oil drums and two-by-fours. Damn thing tumbled and nearly cracked open my skull.

Soon as Chuck and I have our talk about why duct tape is not a substitute for a 3¼ inch nail — even if it is “abundantly quieter than all that hammering” — we’re gonna hit the veterinary clinic. Shay’s right that we lucked out this time, and our old collection of first aid kits is running a bit on the thin side these days. We need to secure a more comprehensive inventory of medications and medical supplies in case we’re not so lucky next time.

Day 21

Bad fucking day today. Bad fucking day.

Day 22

I don’t know if Chuck’s gonna make it. He’s starting to have that look. I do know I don’t want to be the one to do it…if it comes down to the mercy shot.

We try to look out for each other. Usually, when someone goes down, we’re able to drag ‘em to safety. Had some pretty impressive escapes a time or two, even when someone started off on their own, we got there in time. You might lose some of the stuff you were carrying and be outta commission for a bit, but it’s better than the alternative.

Hell, I’m pretty careful, but everyone screws up on occasion. A time or two, I’ve turned a corner while bringing home a duffel of soup cans or some such thing and found myself face-to-face with a whole horde of zombies. Next thing I knew, I was waking up in the infirmary or over with the Wilson boys…back when they were still among the living and breathing.

Can’t push your luck though. How many times can you count on getting rescued in a situation like that? Not many, I reckon.

Because of some of the scrapes we’ve survived, people sometimes look at me and Chuck like we’re invincible, but we know better. Fact of the matter is there’s nothing magical or special about either of us. Every day we stare down death, and every day we face the risk of extermination. There’s no Ctrl-Z or reload to save us.  And once you’re dead, you’re one of them. There’s nothing you can do to control it or fight it. It’s a done deal. The best you can hope for is that your friends carry on in your memory.

Well, don’t count on it, Chuck. I’ll be damned if I’m ready to make any memorials for you. You got no choice. You have to pull through. You have to.

Day 23

Fever and chills for Chuck today. He has the glazed over look in his eyes that we’ve all seen before. Shay asked me what happened out there. Always treating everything like it’s a puzzle that can be solved, that girl.

I told her we took our precautions. We’ve been carrying food and medicine with us on our scavenging runs, like she insisted. Give yourself a burst of energy or heal up a wound and help you keep going. It can help you out of jam, but you have to think about weight. Sure, we could have taken more with us, but the weight is a killer. She knows that. The more you carry, the faster you wear out.

She wanted details, but what was there to say? We got tired, but those bastards never slow down, and they never get tired. Ain’t too hard to ward off a single swipe or attempted bite from a zombie, but when you’re exhausted, when you get surrounded, you can’t…you can’t keep your feet. They tug at you, drag you down.

What could I tell her?  Chuck got all tore up. I helped him to his feet, but there were so many… he was taken down again. We were lucky to get him back home in one piece.

I couldn’t really finish the story. We looked in on Chuck together. Saw the same thing. He might not make it. I didn’t say anything, but she leaned in and real quiet like said, “I’ll do it. If it needs to be done.” Don’t know where she gets the strength.

Day 25

Hell of a day yesterday. Randy says that karma is on our side. Wouldn’t have taken him for a buddhist or hindu or whatever that is.

A car wrecks half a block from our little stronghold — I can call it that now that the guard tower is stable — and the commotion brings a mess of zombies. The driver’s still alive, but Shay doesn’t think that trying to get to him is worth the risk. “He’ll be one of them by the time we get there,” she says.

Randy ignores her and looks to me to make the call. “I’ll go,” he offers, plain as that.

“Just cover me, asshole,” I answer and head out to get him. To her credit, Shay comes with.

The repeated report of Randy’s Remlinger behind us has the simultaneous effect of thinning the zombie numbers ahead of us and drawing some away from the car. The fuckers do have a spiteful attraction to loud noises.

The driver’s still alive when we get there, and we learn, once he’s safely back home with us, that he’s a doctor, an actual licensed MD. He’d been holed up at the church with a few others but when things turned to shit, he grabbed a car and tried to get the hell outta dodge.

Hope to God he’s a better doctor than he is a driver.

Day 26

The good doctor shows his gratitude by tending to Chuck. Popping a Tylenol is about as much as I know about medicine, so I can’t say exactly what the doc did. All I know is that whatever it was helped Chuck turn the corner. This morning, he was even up and moving around a little.

Doc says Chuck’ll be kind of low energy for the next day or so, but the talk of a mercy shot is behind us. The doctor’s still got a busted up leg from the wreck, so he won’t be able to join us on supply runs for a while. That’s okay by me. I think we might prefer to keep him safe and sound at home anyway. He can still treat people with a bad wheel, and that’s what matters.

Maybe Randy’s right. Karma’s on our side. Think I might head to the church tomorrow, see if anyone else made it and needs our help. We’ve been treading water too damn long. It’s time to start trying to build something.

This is the heart of Class3. It’s a game that’s not just about fighting zombies — it’s focused on the dangers and struggles of post-apocalyptic survival. To us, this means making your choices matter. It means giving you freedom with consequences, and sometimes those consequences are harsh: your community can be wiped out, and all characters (including yours) are at risk of permanent death.

This is a risky design choice and one that could easily lead to a game that’s only for the most hardcore players, but that’s not our goal. We are always guided by two words: fun first. That’s why getting overwhelmed in a single fight won’t instantly get you zombified. It’s also why you’ll get clear warning signs if a character is close to succumbing, and why there are ways to build on your legacy if someone doesn’t make it.

As development moves forward, we’ll continue to test, tweak, and balance a lot of these mechanics, but our guiding principles have never changed.

For a lot of you, I know this article will only whet your appetite for more information. (That’s good, right?) While I’m sticking to my guns about not giving everything away before the game is even out, I’m sure there are a lot of questions we can answer right now. If you’ve got one, hit reply, and fire away.

We’ll do a follow-up Q&A article next week.


  1. Researcher: Thomas

    OH my god that was an AWESOME read, I like how you incorparated concept art into the story.(PS. First)

  2. Researcher: geist

    if a player or NPC goes down wearing a kevlar helmet and body armor and gets back up as a zombie will the game be able to take the protective equipment into effect? could make for some exciting fights in the hideout

    • Researcher: Ragnaroktheevil

      Will there be a time delay from when they go down, to the time they get back? Perhaps there’s time to reclaim their equipment, before they start running amok?

    • Researcher: Billypoo96

      I was wondering a similar thing, if an NPC or player dies with a buttload of stuff will other players be able to kill this zombie and take the treasure for themselves?

    • Researcher: TYTEX
      Date Recorded: March 17, 2012 at 5:12 pm

      I think we there needs to be a choose race system like in Skyrim. For example if you choose Farmer you can farm materials easier when you find a base. But if you choose another class you can still be able to farm and level up that skill and so on with other skills. I think there also needs to be a clan/group system. And if there is this you’ll also need a friendly fire system which would be nice.

  3. Researcher: Shawn of the Dead

    That was a great read Mr. Phinney! And an even better answer to our questions about perma-death/respawn. I’m so pleased we can put this debate to rest for the most part haha!

    You guys are sticking your neck out on this one, and it’s about damn time a development company did. This is a huge step in the right direction for MMO’s I think. UL has BALLS!

    • Researcher: Shawn of the Dead

      I would also like to ask a question for the Q&A. I just noticed near the end of the article Phinney mentioning this being the heart of Class 3. Can we expect the same idea in Class 4?

    • Researcher: Shawn of the Dead

      I have another potential question for the Q&A next week.

      At the end of the article you said:
      “there are ways to build on your legacy if someone doesn’t make it.”

      Any way you could elaborate on this bit?

    • Researcher: Apocolyptic Warrior

      I was thinking the same thing. If there is a time delay between death and reanimation then the possibility of looting the protective gear and possible ammo or weapons from the body would be great, if of course there are not any other Zombies around to hamper the scavenging.

    • Researcher: Jakesawesome

      Why is it that in dead island i can pump a 12 gauge shotgun shell through a zed’s head and it will continue shambling toward you (this is later in the game, of course). I really hate this and im sure many others do too. In a real zombie apocalypse there is no health bars, damage meters or levels. Please for the love of god don’t let this happen to your game. This unrealism is the
      cancer which killed dead island and some other zombie games.

    • Researcher: Nicholas

      I agree , and its the cancer for EVERY zombie game, at least to me. This is one of the biggest hopes i have for this game; that it truly is life or death, no inbetween health bars or damage points

    • Researcher: Derek

      @jakesawesome: I totally agree with you on most of this. The health bar thing was a problem. However, I believe that the levels weren’t what killed the game. I personally would love leveling up, especially since this is supposed to be an MMO, and my character remaining completely static would just be boring IMO. What it all comes down to is implementation. And you dont need to worry about the whole super-zombie thing because these guys have avidly pointed out that they love the headshot formula. We shouldnt need to worry too much.

    • Researcher: Jakesawesome

      Sorry you have misunderstood me Derek. I meant that the fact that somehow the more zombies you kill the more “health” you get. Now although i’m sure killing zombies is a good work out i don’t think it actually increases your capacity of pain or capability to survive against being swarmed by a bunch of infected.

    • Researcher: Oleo23

      True but i’m thinking that some form of health bar or damage indicator will be in the game also probably a level up system but here’s an idea for the guys at the lab to think about how about a hardcore mode for the players who care more about the realism over survival that could remove things like health regeneration (unless medication is used) aim assists indicators health bars and a few other things but it would be perfect to equal out what the main population wants and what the hard core zed fans want

    • Researcher: zach G

      ya but a skill system whould be good something like skyrim where if you use your weapon you get better with same for other skills i mean when whould killing a zombie make you a better lockpicker or medic

    • Researcher: Michael

      As much as I love RPGs, and the concept of MMOs, I’m not a fan of character-leveling systems in MMOs. I’m much more of a fan of the idea of using items to tailor-stats. Sure that can lead to some kinds of abuse, but that can be mitigated by having items being destroyable and of limited-durability (much like in Eve).

      I’m also not against leveling systems that rely more on increasing a character’s versatility rather than increasing a character’s power.

  4. Researcher: Sean13

    Great read, reminds me of the walking dead comics.

  5. Researcher: Garrett

    I liked the story. I think if the game had random events all over the game world(like the doctor appearing) it would make the game feel more living and breathing. I also am hoping that you are hinting at some sort of build-able structure, because I think that would be a very useful in creating “strongholds.”

  6. Researcher: kmomo

    this is easily the most interesting game thats coming out. any idea on how much it will cost or anything like that yet?

    • Researcher: Gunner

      Class 3 is an xbox live arcade game which means it will probably cost around 1200 MS points (about 15 dollars) as for class 4, it will be a full game and should cost the same as any new release, 59.99

    • Researcher: Shawn of the Dead

      Potentially a monthly subscription fee as well. Too early to really speculate on this yet.

    • Researcher: Jim P.

      They said they’re trying not to have a monthly subscription fee, so really it’s fifty-fifty.

    • Researcher: Emily

      We haven’t nailed down those details yet. That info will come closer to release. :)

  7. Researcher: Danny

    Man, that is awesome. That’s what it is going to be like in the game. Just living and surviving. It is probably the most interesting and riveting aspect of a game that I can think of. I am so excited for this game!

  8. Researcher: Kaizer

    Excellent blog, love the story and how its done via diary-like insights.

    So if reading in between the lines has done me any good is there some sort of fatigue/stamina system in conjunction with inventory weight and possibilities of becoming encumbered?

    Also is there any self healing features implemented (in forms of a possible mini-game like feature or even better)?

    Last question, I know I’m probably quite bothersome at the moment – the construction of towers and strongholds will it be a matter of needed materials only or will the player have to achieve a certain milestone or requirement to initially build and “level up” so to say to build anything better?

    • Researcher: Wilaysee51

      Yeah, i was just wondering this myself the whole construction idea sounds really cool but i hope you dont have to level up, i think most ppl know how to hammer a nail so im not so sure if having a level system for that would be the greatest of ideas

    • Researcher: Jakesawesome

      perhaps there will be a dead frontier aspect to it, where in the character customization you can choose a profession e.g a fireman (starts with fire axe) or policeman (starts with glock 22). you get the idea but i think it would be neat. perhaps your profession will also effect where you spawn or what skills you have e.g thief (can pick locks). I think you get the idea.

    • Researcher: Oleo23

      lol well maybe it will be like minecraft where you have to take the materials in your inventory and make it in the shape of the object you are trying to make for the realism aspect of the game i hope not but odds are it will be something like building mode in the sims where you move around the objects in some kind of overlord way but again for the realism aspect i’m hoping they can think of something better than i have

    • Researcher: Oleo23

      lol sry this comment goes to the question below

  9. Researcher: GhostMARINE

    Are you hinting at being able to use different materials in creating structures? And if so, it sounds like we have the option to use substandard material at the benefit of less noise in the construction, but at the cost of functionality/durability? I am hoping this is true!!! Freedom of customization is one thing I love in games and for it to have potentially huge impacts on whether you and your team/colony survives would make it SO much more fun!!!

    • Researcher: Ragnaroktheevil

      I have to say, this is possibly the most exciting part of this game. The actual chance to build a survivor settlement, instead of just crossing some finish line. I hope this part gets much attention in development. THIS is something I would devote my time to, to ensure the safety of my survivor group.

  10. Researcher: Sean

    I noticed you mentioned “The more you carry, the faster you wear out” in on of the journal entries. Does this weight fatigue also apply to different types of weapons? If so, does it matter enough to the point where you might think twice before bringing an M249 SAW with you on a scavenging trip rather than a much smaller 9mm handgun.

    • Researcher: Ragnaroktheevil

      That would be fun to have to decide what your equipment will be for the whole raiding party. Will there be melee options? Perhaps leave the heavier weapons for defending the stronghold? I’m already thinking up the combinations, and I’m loving it. xD

    • Researcher: Sean

      Here’s another one for the Q&A: One of the journal entries said “Think I might head to the church tomorrow, see if anyone else made it and needs our help… It’s time to start trying to build something.” Is this implying that very large-scale settlements can be created? Not just 5 to 10 person shelters, but 20 to 50 person communities? If I’ve missed the mark entirely, could you perhaps elaborate more on what was meant in the journal entry by “…trying to build something.”

    • Researcher: Sean

      Okay, another for the Q&A (last one, I promise lol): At one point, the journal said “…found myself face-to-face with a whole horde of zombies. Next thing I knew, I was waking up in the infirmary…”. Is this alluding to some sort of respawn system where when you are “overwhelmed” by zombies you will wake up (respawn) back at your shelter?

    • Researcher: Jakesawesome

      mmmmmh good eye Sean

    • Researcher: Sean

      Thanks, Jake :)

    • Researcher: Jakesawesome

      am i the only one who thinks that these ( :) ) smileys look a little bit evil?

    • Researcher: James Murphy

      i wish i had never heard of this game… nearly every day i check this website like some info-zombie shambling for more to feast on. and like any zombie, the feast in front of you is good…. but once you devour that bit, you’re hungry for more… my days drag, my nights are sleepless. i need this game now… i wish i’d have never been infected with the knowledge of it, instead just been a normal survivor pleasantly surprised by it’s arrival. but it’s too late for me… all i can do now is wait for the cure: the game’s arrival.

    • Researcher: Sean

      yeah, I guess they do look a bit evil… :)