We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Once Human release date, gameplay, trailers, and more

As the Once Human release date slowly approaches, we get closer to experiencing the post-apocalyptic survival MMO we’ve been looking for.

A MEta-Human with a TV screen for a head smiles widely in Once Human.

When is the Once Human release date? Starry Studio’s open-world online multiplayer game drops us into a strange and wonderful – but terrifying – post-apocalyptic version of reality, filled with gruesome horrors, adorable companions, walking houses, building, crafting, shooting, and more.

Since the almost unbelievable story of The Day Before, a zombie survival MMO game, it’s been clear that what we’re all missing is a post-apocalyptic, open-world, online multiplayer game. We want to team up with others is a more realistic example of how we might survive the end of the world. Once Human is just that: you were once human, and now you’re a Meta-Human. Imbued with the powers of Stardust, you and other survivors must learn how to live in this new world. If that interests you as it does us, read on for more about the story and gameplay ahead of the Once Human release date.

YouTube Thumbnail

Once Human release date

The Once Human release date is July 9, 2024, as announced during Summer Games Fest this year. The game is available on Steam and Epic Games for PC, as well as Android and iOS.

The survival game was first announced in 2022, with its first beta taking place in November 2022. Since then, multiple Once Human betas have taken place to hone the gameplay and mechanics, and over 17 million players have pre-registered for the game since April 2024.

Once Human is developed by Starry Studio, a subsidiary NetEase games. While Once Human is the first game from Starry Studio itself, NetEase has both developed and published the likes of Naraka: Bladepoint, NeverAfter, and Dead by Daylight mobile. With the latter both mobile games, it makes sense that Once Human is also being developed for mobile, and is an encouraging sign that even such a large game will work on a handheld platform.

A player stands atop a basic base holding a gun and wearing a military vest, surrounded by a modest collection of scavenged items in Once Human.

Once Human gameplay

You wake in a post-apocalyptic world with nothing but the clothes on your back. It’s up to you to work your way back to some semblance of normality while surviving the harsh environment, enemy factions, and eldritch terrors around you. The world itself and the living creatures within, yourself included, have been infested by Stardust. To top it off, an alien parasite that has left you and others with otherworldly gifts and mutations.


Survival is the first key aspect of Once Human, as you learn that both hunger and thirst needs are quick to drain you, but that satisfying your needs isn’t always the best option either. Stardust has polluted the earth and water, and resorting to consuming the seemingly natural resources around you could impact your health for the worse. If you’re going to drink the water, you’d better hope you have some way of restoring your HP soon after.

The harsh environment isn’t just restricted to water and food, as ever-changing seasons, varying biomes, and weather conditions also pose a threat, especially in the early days. Gather resources and team up with other players (if you wish) to start building a safe base of operations and your first tools of defense.

A plush interior of a player-made building in Once Human, complete with multiple cookers and a shiny polished floor.


There are no restrictions when it comes to building your base in Once Human. The building mechanics are truly spectacular, allowing you to build anything from a modest box to an entire manor for you and your comrades. You can even relocate whenever you want, something which is often a considerable downside to other survival crafting games. This crucial bit of knowledge allows even the most picky of us to start building anywhere quickly – there’s no need to risk your life while you search for the perfect location.

A powerful crafted weapon in Once Human.

Combat and weapons

Survival requires weaponry, especially when going head-to-head with the monstrous entities around you. There are seven weapon categories, and collecting resources and blueprints allows you to craft weapons around your needs and combat style. From your base weapons, you can then add attachments and perks as your arsenal gets more powerful as you do.

Standard combat is going to take place as you explore the world around you and face off against normal enemies, both monsters and enemy factions alike. However, there is also a story here, and trying to uncover the secrets of Stardust will lead you to the most horrifying enemies of all, The Great Ones.

Finally, there’s the Stronghold Conquest, an area of the map that leads to even more combat possibilities. This is where PvP comes in, and if you want to set up base here, you’re going to need to chase other teams out to take control of the Beacon Area.

A horrifying skeletal spider, an Arachsiam, one of the Once Human monsters.


Deviants are the result of the Stardust infection but apply to both enemies and companions. For example, some Deviants you might face include skeletal spiders the Arachsiams, or the Wanderer, a bus with legs. On the other hand, some Deviants, as demonstrated by the Deviant trailer below, are a more adorable creation you can team up with, and who are there to aid you in your survival.

My Wish, an AAlpaaca toy wearing a tiny top hat and sunglasses fires a small minigun in Once Human.

Once Human trailers

The Summer Games Fest release date trailer, found at the top of the page, gives a bit more context as to how the end of the world came about. Human-made monoliths somehow resulted in the arrival of Stardust in an ill-fated bid for progress. Here, we’re given a glimpse of some eldritch horrors waiting for us in the new world. The short trailer also teases some weapons and companions we’ll find along the way.

YouTube Thumbnail

Speaking of which, the Deviants Trailer shows a few of the companion creatures you can choose and create to accompany you on your journey. A teddy bear, a nutcracker, and a toy llama are three of the species that seem to be on offer, and each can wield guns, defend your base, and attack on your behalf, or simply help you gather resources.

YouTube Thumbnail

The gameplay trailer, meanwhile, shows what Once Human has in store once you’ve survived your first few nights and have weapons and tools at your disposal. As part of one of the story quests, a team of Metas heads into a hospital to try to control the spread of infections, in other words, kill the Deviants within. Zombie-like humanoids attack from all angles as a more powerful, teleporting Deviant makes its way toward the squad, demonstrating how chaotic and tense combat will be.

That’s everything you need to know about Once Human before the release date arrives any day now. With the launch very close, check out all the information we have on Once Human codes to bag some freebies, Once Human crossplay so you can rope your friends into the adventure, and of course, Once Human release times so you can jump into the action as soon as humanely possible.