Publisher and developer The Indie Stone has unveiled a roadmap covering the planned updates that survival game Project Zomboid will receive in 2022 and beyond. After releasing Build 41 in late December 2021 – a major update that spent two years in development and overhauled many aspects of the game –, NPCs are planned as the title's next major feature.
The development team will be split in two, one part focusing exclusively on the development of NPCs, while the other works on different aspects of the game. Hunting and pets, a feature which was meant to launch prior to NPCs, has been pushed back, given how "human NPCs have long been the most requested feature that is still outstanding."
As the image above shows, Project Zomboid's 2022 and beyond roadmap plans to release NPCs in three different stages. Intermediate updates that expand existing systems will bridge the gaps between these releases, hopefully providing a better flow of content and changes for players.
Build 41 will continue receiving more polish before Build 42 expands the game's crafting and balance systems.
The latter aims to "balance a lot of the existing mechanics, particularly in relation to traits, professions, skills and other areas of the game that have been neglected or suffered some degradation during the years of development since they were introduced," as well as begin expanding the tech tree for a better endgame experience, according to the developer.
Its long-term goal is that of enabling players "to effectively create a post-apocalypse nu medieval community," letting them focus on stuff like crafting clothes and selling them to other settlements or building structures.
Build 43 will then be another major step on Project Zomboid's 2022 and beyond roadmap, introducing the first version of NPCs, although the developer is still deciding what features will go into it.
The team didn't commit to any specific dates just yet but, hopefully, the split will mean that players won't have to wait years for the game's next updates.
At the same time, the post linked above notes that "if a big new feature is not ready then it’s not in our DNA to push it out of the door uncooked." More details about Project Zomboid's 2022 roadmap and individual updates will likely be shared over the coming months.
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