Game Modes

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Title Screen

There are a number of different games modes available in Project Zomboid. The list of game modes below is correct prior to the release of build 40. In all modes, death is final. There is no reloading from a saved game. Only creating a new survivor within the same game is possible.



This is a short introduction on a small map to introduce new players to the controls and user interface. This is a preset scenario with no settings or options to choose.
The tutorial covers the basics of:

It also teaches the player about yelling: A mechanic that allows you to draw zombies to your location, which is how the tutorial ends as the game tricks you into pressing Q in order to draw a horde of zombies to your location, which will proceed to kill you and end the tutorial.


Each scenario below offers their own, unique set of difficulties or obstacles to overcome when starting out in the world.



Starting Date: 9th July 1993
This is the recommended zomboid experience, the way the devs intended it to be played. Starting Conditions are locked on Hardcore. Doors are frequently locked and house alarms are common, forcing the player to keep on the move. Strong, tough and basic navigation make these zombies a serious threat, they're nothing like the previously encountered ones. Water and Electricity will shut off in under 30 days, requiring the player to quickly find some sustainability. This is the hardcore experience, survival is highly unlikely.

• Horde Size: Huge
• Zombie Speed: Fast Shamblers
• Zombie Senses: Normal
• Utility shut-off: 0-30 days
• Resources: Rare

One Week Later


Starting Date: 9th July 1993
This game mode is intended for casual player, starting from a week after the infection began. There is a moderate horde size, since the zombies have had some time to turn. They will quickly shamble towards anything that catches their attention, however with reduced senses. Water and Electricity will shut off after 2-6 in-game months. Houses are unlooted. The player will experience what it was like in Knox Country from the early stages of the plague.

• Horde Size: Moderate
• Zombie Speed: Fast Shamblers
• Zombie Senses: Poor
• Utility shut-off: 2-6 months
• Resources: Common

Six Months Later

Spiffo controlyourself.png

Starting Date: 9th December 1993
This game mode is not for the faint of heart - for experienced survivors only. After 6 months, very few survivors remain with a large horde of zombies scattered throughout the landscape - this is how it ends. They've had a lot of time to develop their senses and will hear, see or smell anything that gets too close. The Water and Electricity has been shut off for a while and the cities are all overgrown. All the houses have been picked clean, making it very difficult to find anything of any use. It'll be a real struggle to get any kind of foundation set up this late into the apocalypse.

• Horde Size: Large
• Zombie Speed: Fast Shamblers
• Zombie Senses: Normal
• Utility shut-off: Instant
• Resources: Rare

Starting Conditions

Choosing the starting conditions will set a predefined player setting, designed to raise or lower the difficulty. Each of these settings goes into more detail in the custom sandbox section.


XP Multiplier: x2
Character Survival Needs: Very Low
Inventory: Baseball bat, Saw, School Bag, Hammer, Water and Items/Food.


XP Multiplier: x1.5
Character Survival Needs: Low
Inventory: Baseball bat, School Bag, Hammer, Water and Items/Food.


XP Multiplier: x1.2
Character Survival Needs: Normal
Inventory: Water and Items/Food.


XP Multiplier: NONE
Character Survival Needs: Normal
Inventory: Nothing.

Custom Sandbox

Main article: Custom Sandbox
Spiffo rummage.png

Custom sandbox allows the player to adjust the game settings to the way they like. After choosing a starting location, the player can choose their own options, or choose a preset to customise. In the Saved Presets box at the bottom, each default option is the same settings used in the default game modes.

*NOTE: the Character options have a set default 'difficulty' for each preset*


There are currently 8 challenges, particularly hard encounters set in their own maps.

You Have One Day

1. You Have One Day
Main article: You Have One Day (Challenge)

You're back in Knox County. You're back on the map where the Project Zomboid infection first began.

You have one day of relative safety. Zombies will arrive in huge numbers, and they will find you. Where did you use to make your last stand again? Where did you make your last stand in the old days? Better find it quick.

[Our thanks to Community mapper BobHeckling for recreating the old 0.1.5 map with the current PZ toolset.]

Opening Hours

2. Opening Hours
Main article: Opening Hours (Challenge)

The Mall is surrounded. Once upon a time, it was an important place in their lives. Instinct has led them to its doors. A memory of what they used to do...

You are alone, but not for long. At 9AM the Mall will be ready for business: doors will open, and the hordes will enter.

Be ready for them.

Winter Is Coming

3. Winter Is Coming
Main article: Winter Is Coming (Challenge)

It's mid-July, but suddenly there's a chill on the breeze. In a mere three days' time a winter will set in like no other before it.

You awake in an isolated location. You have meagre supplies, and the undead hordes might be slowed by the intense cold - but they are no less deadly.

Wrap up warm, survivor...

House In The Woods - Last Stand

4. House In The Woods - Last Stand
Main article: House In The Woods (Challenge)

You can hear them approaching. Hordes of deadheads, encroaching on your isolated cabin from every angle. Death is inevitable, but a shotgun is close-at-hand.

Last Stand features endless waves of zombies in ever-increasing numbers. Survive for as long as possible against the overwhelming odds.

House In The Woods - Last Stand Accumulator

5. House In The Woods - Last Stand Accumulator
Main article: House In The Woods (Challenge)

Another day, another cabin ready to be bloodied. The hordes are upon you, and your death will be as painful as it is gruesome. So go out fighting... Last Stand – Accumulator features endless waves of zombies in ever-increasing numbers. Use money earned by killing zeds to buy equipment, level up and repair your blood-soaked weaponry.

A Really CD DA

6. A Really CD DA
Main article: A Really CD DA (Challenge)

You get out of the shower and fall badly. You're blind drunk, and have a nasty cold.

On top of all this, the house is on fire! Today is definitely not your day.

The name comes from a play on words referencing A Really Bad Day from the game Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead, and is read as A Really Seedy Day.

A Storm Is Coming

7. A Storm Is Coming
Main article: A Storm Is Coming (Challenge)

Clouds are gathering over Kentucky. The crackle of thunder can be heard in the distance.

As skies darken, the dead that stumble over the earth grow restless.

This is a storm that will grow and fall back in its ferocity, but it will never end.

The Descending Fog

8. The Descending Fog
Main article: The Descending Fog (Challenge)

People first saw it on the water. A faint white blanket over the Ohio river.

It began as a mist. Then it enveloped the town. The townsfolk died screaming in the gloom. Now they walk out there.

Unseen, unheard and relentless in the pursuit of the living.

Build 41

This article/section is about an item or mechanic that is currently in testing and not part of the stable version of the game.
This feature can be accessed via the testing branch for Build 41.



"Stealth focus. Short lifespan. Combat best avoided." Likes to be punished, with realistic and deadly combat often best avoided.



"Powerful combat. Longer lifespan. A challenging playstyle based on PZ's previous Survival mode." Likes a challenge, with more focus on combat familiar to players of earlier builds.



"Construction, Exploration and Farming focus. A more relaxed experience." Likes a more chilled experience of building, looting and farming, and less zombie focus.



Main article: Kingsmouth (challenge)

A 'paradise island' vacation resort in the Caribbean, which has unfortunately succumbed to the Knox Event infection.


Main article: Studio (challenge)

A 'Hollywood Film Studio', which has unfortunately succumbed to the Knox Event infection.