Project Zomboid shows off exciting upgrades for long-awaited build 42

Project Zomboid is perhaps one of the most aptly named games I can think of. The beloved zombie survival sandbox game has been a labor of love for developer The Indie Stone since 2011, and celebrates ten years on Steam this month while still maintaining its early access status. Yet, it’s clearly found success; with an impressive 94% ‘very positive’ Steam rating across more than 190,000 reviews in that time, the ambitious game has certainly found a loving audience, and now we’ve just been given a big update on what Project Zomboid build 42 looks like.

Project Zomboid build 42 will be the first major build change since December 2021. The Indie Stone emphasizes, “It’ll still be a while until 42 is in public beta,” but shows us a wealth of new features on the way to the zombie survival game that are currently live on its tech upgrade branch. The first of these is a big door update, which might not sound that exciting at first glance but opens up huge potential.

Rather than simply flipping between open and closed, doors now animate fully between the two states. While that’s a simple change for now, The Indie Stone explains that it hopes this will lead to potential new mechanics such as “opening doors at different speeds, doors being left slightly open, peeking, bashing open, one-way fire doors, and such.” It notes that these additional features won’t be introduced for the initial release of build 42, however.

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Blacksmithing is another big focus. “We have the tiers, workstations, and materials worked out,” The Indie Stone says. “Most items that one could reasonably expect to be blacksmithed can be blacksmithed, and in most cases the resultant item is a more rugged, crafted version than the default version of the item that you may be used to.” Think spiked rings or a weighted top added to a baseball bat for additional heft, perhaps.

The team even goes to outline how the updated crafting should allow you to theoretically start on a map of just forest and still arrive at steel production, via the means of iron ore made in a charcoal furnace, a kiln to make coke and a smelting furnace for higher-quality iron tools, and then ultimately a blast furnace and metalworking bench to build your cast steel tools and weapons.

Project Zomboid build 42 crafting and blacksmithing - A player stands in the back yard of a house, where a furnace, sharpening stone, and workbench have been built.

As a player-led sandbox game, you have a lot of choice over how your Project Zomboid world is created. To enhance this in build 42, the Indie Stone is giving more control over gas stations – allowing you to determine whether gas pumps have infinite resources, what the potential amounts of stored gasoline can be, and even adjust the chance that you’ll come across stations that have already been completely drained.

Your outfits are about to get a big upgrade, too: clothing items have been given a hefty overhaul to try and minimize clipping issues, which should be especially welcome with the new gear available through blacksmithing. Items will now switch to different models in certain circumstances, such as arm guards adapting if you’re wearing a bulky jacket.

The full developer blog also includes a look at two new animals – raccoons and wild turkeys (the latter perfectly timed for Thanksgiving). There’s a demonstration of new voice sets for your characters, an improved interface to ensure better compatibility on 4K gaming monitors, and some additional decor, including a special Wild West tourist attraction reminiscent of the kind of towns you’d visit in Red Dead Redemption 2.

Project Zomboid build 42 Wild West town - A street lined with buildings in an Old Western style.

We’ll be sure to keep you up to date on when Project Zomboid build 42 arrives. In the meantime, if you’re curious to discover why it’s built up such a fan base over the years amid the likes of DayZ, The Day Before, and The Walking Dead, Project Zomboid is 33% off on Steam until Tuesday November 28, so expect to pay just £11.22 for your copy.

For those of you getting started, you’ll want to learn how Project Zomboid barricades work to seal up those windows and doors. We’ve also got all the details on how Project Zomboid multiplayer works.

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