Project Zomboid taken offline by pirates, free public demo now available

Project Zomboid

Developers of the survival RPG Project Zomboid were forced to take the game off their site over the weekend after pirates developed a version of the game that would use Indie Stone's servers to automatically update their illegal copy, a move that could potentially cost The Indie Stone enormous amounts of money.

In a blog post picked up by RPS , the devs say that "these 'auto updating' versions of the game could screw us completely."

"We have a cloud based distribution model, where the files are copied all over the world and are served to players on request, which means we are charged money for people downloading the game.

"Whether piracy actually amounts to lost sales we're not going to get into. The possibility that it raises awareness and promotes the game cannot be ignored, but the difference is offline versions on torrents, which we've been largely unconcerned about, do not cost us real money, only potential money, and even then we can't really guess at what the net effect is."

Up until now, The Indie Stone have been unconcerned about piracy. In the same blog post they say "we've always turned a blind eye to pirate copies, even on occasion recommending people who had problems with the legit version try a pirate version until the issues are resolved. We realise the potential viral benefits of pirate copies, and while obviously we'd prefer people to purchase our issue is not with those."

To make up for the downtime, The Indie Stone have released a free public demo that everyone can download for a taste of the game. Project Zomboid is a survival game in which you must dig in and survive in the face of an ever-worsening zombie apoclypse. Death is certain, but there's plenty of emergent action to enjoy before your character finally kicks the bucket. The game models factors such as insanity and paranoia in the characters around you, and every playthrough turns out differently. The Indie Stone even plan to put in a Left 4 Dead style AI director to keep throwing challenges your way. Find out more in our Project Zomboid preview .

Tom Senior

Part of the UK team, Tom was with PC Gamer at the very beginning of the website's launch—first as a news writer, and then as online editor until his departure in 2020. His specialties are strategy games, action RPGs, hack ‘n slash games, digital card games… basically anything that he can fit on a hard drive. His final boss form is Deckard Cain.