Undead Labs' Jeff Strain has said the first of the studio's two zombie games will act as prequel and "platform" to the second.
Speaking to Massively, Strain explained that Class 3, the code name for a recently revealed Xbox Live Arcade open world survival horror game, is in some ways the same project as its planned massively multiplayer follow up, Class 4.
"Class 3 is designed to be a fun game in its own right," he said. "It's not a massively multiplayer game with six thousand hours' worth of playtime. What we hope to do with it is bring players into the game, and from there, let them have a voice in how we shape Class 4.
"By creating this contained experience, we're really going to flesh out our goals for the game and identify those areas where we need input from the community in terms of how we're going to turn it into a full-scale online world. Part of what we hope to accomplish is to make sure that those channels are in place so that people can guide and direct us as we move on to Class 4."
After commenting that Class 3 would "certainly" be a prequel to Class 4, Strain said the latter is being "developed simultaneously" with the former.
"You can think of Class 3 as the platform for Class 4," he added mysteriously, before explaining that Class 3's shape is determined by the end goal of Class 4.
"In terms of the scalability of our content, how robust the player engagement technology is, and our production pipeline -- all of that has has to be engineered towards the greater demands of a full-scale online world.
"Ultimately, as we develop the game (Class 3) we're also developing Class 4."
The simultaneous development time will cut down the gap between release windows.
"Part of the reason we're doing this is because we don't want to go four years without releasing anything. This is a very veteran team filled with people who have been in the industry for a long time, and a lot of us have worked on MMOs for a long time. As you can see with other MMOs, release windows are generally huge.
"For us, it's a combination of wanting to have an early and open dialogue with our community and wanting to do what we love to do -- create games. We don't live to work toward a goal that is five years down the road.
"The thrill of working in this industry is to put awesome things into players' hands and let them enjoy them. So really, a lot of the overall strategy is about letting us do those two things without having to go silent for years and years and years."