The studio that made one of the first MMOs just announced a new one after 27 years

Persist Online | Announce Trailer - YouTube Persist Online | Announce Trailer - YouTube
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Fantasy MMO Tibia launched all the way back in 1997, and like contemporaries Ultima Online, EverQuest, and Runescape, the dang thing is still going. There was just something special about that era of MMORPGs; they don't die. 

Now, nearly 30 years later, Tibia developer CipSoft finally has a new MMO to announce: A zombie apocalypse RPG called Persist Online.

"Designed as a true, old-school MMORPG—but with zombies, guns, and baseball bats instead of orcs, mages, and spells—Persist Online will bring hundreds of players together on a persistent server with the greatest possible freedom," the developer said.

According to Persist lead product manager Benjamin Zuckerer, the game began as a hobby project by two CipSoft employees, and now has 14 dedicated staff members. For him, an MMO's charm "lies in the diverse interaction possibilities among players and the unpredictable stories that emerge from them." To make a good one, then, Zuckerer thinks you've got to build it with a community of players—hence Persist will release first in early access.

The zombie MMO will feature a persistent open world with a day and night cycle, and with no instancing, so you won't find yourself in a different pocket dimension from a friend. PvP is on, and CipSoft says you can team up with other players for extra safety, but cautions that friendly fire is on, too. The developer also mentions "mutated bosses."

Persist looks charmingly like exactly what you'd expect from a studio whose last game released in 1997: dated, but fun. From the way they talk about it—describing it as an MMORPG but with zombies instead of orcs, and "a tough old-school experience"—you might almost think that they arrived at the idea of an open world PvP zombie survival shooter with looting and crafting all on their own, and that if you asked them about DayZ, they'd scratch their heads and say, 'What's that?' I'm sure that's not the case, but it's fun to imagine that the genre is just so powerful that it could pop into existence a second time.

Persist doesn't have an early access release date yet, but it's "coming soon" on Steam

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.