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Project Zomboid devs on the pressures of alpha funding: “the toll it takes on you personally is a lot greater.”


Project Zomboid is out on Early Access; here’s our Project Zomboid review.

Project Zomboid is easily one of the most startling games in development: a 2D zombie open-ended strategy RPG. It’s a dream project: but a project that simply wouldn’t exist without the support of crowdfunding. That crowdfunding, says, Chris Simpson, is a mixed blessing: “It’s both the biggest blessing in the world and the biggest curse in the world depending on what day you ask.”

The team definitely understand that their game is entirely dependent on the cash that has been pledged. “Fundamentally, if you stack it all up, it’s brilliant,” says Chris. “This game would never be able to exist if it wasn’t for alpha funding. The vision of it for a few years down the line, there’s no way we could have ever funded it from start to finish, and there’s no way we would ever have started. It was the sort of project that someone would post that they’ve got this idea for a game, and people would laugh them down, saying it was too ambitious.”

The downside though is the stress and pressure it places on the team. “I see other devs tweeting that they’re just about to go on holiday for a week, and I wouldn’t dare tweet that. Our community is amazing, and they’ve been really understanding, especially considering everything that’s happened in the past year. But I’ve spoken to other indie devs that have done alpha funding, and they all seem to have this slight nervousness about letting on that they’re ever doing anything other than working on the update.”

The pressure, Chris says, isn’t from the community, but from the devs working to meet expectations on themselves. “The majority of the pressure isn’t coming from the community, it’s coming from yourself. It’s a fundamentally different way of working to what I’ve been used to in both commercial games and when I started out doing indie development. I do think it’s one of the best things to happen to indie games, but the toll it takes on you personally is a lot greater.”

With thanks to Lewie Procter