Project Zomboid development devastated by theft

Monday, 17 October 2011 02:21 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Critically acclaimed indie survival RPG Project Zomboid has suffered a major blow with the loss of months of work.

The Indie Stone’s Chris Simpson broke the news on Twitter; a burglary at the flat he shares with colleague Andy Hodgetts saw several laptops hosting the game’s code stolen.

With just one off-site back up dating back to before the last numbered release, the team has lost a significant investment of time and money, perhaps irretrievably.

“This will clearly severely delay the next update, which was very near completion. I personally only just finished my work on it yesterday (one of the final things on the ‘to-do’ list) and had it ready for input today,” Will Porter wrote on IndieDB.

“Project Zomboid, however, will come back stronger. I just wanted to let everyone know that this is a set-back and not a death-knell. If anything we will come back stronger, and with a better game. During this time we will clearly be asking for the understanding and patience of our community. We are gutted, we are despondent and – most of all – we are sorry that this has thrown yet another bump into the road towards PZ completion.”

The unfortunate occurrence has drawn a venomous response from those who had donated to the game’s development, and felt a lack of off-site back ups represents a betrayal of their investment.

“Oh no wait, but we’re selling you a game therefore we must be professional. Who says? Why? If we wanted to be professionals we’d never have left our jobs in the first place,” Hodgetts replied in a blog post.

“What we actually want to do is make a game which we’re proud of and not be pre-occupied by maintaining a decorum on the internet. Don’t want to read our actual personal thoughts on shit? Don’t read our personal thoughts on shit using Twitter. Don’t feel comfortable throwing money at an indie dev who replies to insults with insults back? Don’t throw money at that sort of indie dev. It’s really terribly simple.”

Comments in this vein drew even more anger, and the backlash has been hot enough to see at least two team members delete their Twitter account to escape the poisonous and occasionally even threatening comments.

Project Zomboid is an unusual isometric zombie game with an emphasis on the realities of survival in an outbreak rather than combat. The sandbox gameplay, which features no victory condition and a number of interesting mechanics like psychological effects, has drawn praise from early adopters. The cross-platform title also sports co-op multiplayer.

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