The last time we checked in with indie zombie survival game Dead Matter, the alpha build that developers QI Software intended to send to backers had hit some unexpected snags. Two years later, the project looks to have grown by leaps and bounds, adding experienced development staff and establishing what appears to be a solid path to an Early Access launch on Steam.
Set in a remote area of Alberta, Canada, Dead Matter had ambitious goals from the start: the small team wanted to combine the obsessive detail of a zone raiding game like Escape from Tarkov with the systemic open world of a game like Project Zomboid. However, following a round of crowdfunding, backers excited to get their hands on an early alpha build were initially disappointed when QI’s website collapsed.
After that inauspicious start, however, QI Software has been hard at work throughout the pandemic. In a new development vlog, the developers explain that they’ve hired some experienced game development veterans and expanded the team. Together, they’ve worked on mapping out a strategy for an Early Access launch on Steam, and while there’s no release date set for that yet, the company says it’s “coming soon.”
The video also shows off some of the enhancements that have been made to Dead Matter over the past year. The lighting system has been upgraded, and the team is using Unreal Engine’s MetaHuman system to create more realistic-looking zombie and survivor models.
The loot system has been completely redesigned so that containers spawn random loot that makes sense for the area where the container is found. For instance, a crate in a hunting cabin will spawn random loot that you might expect to find in a hunting cabin, and that will be a different set of possible loot from what you’ll find in the drawer of a townhome in the city.
The team also migrated all of Dead Matter to Unreal Engine 5 this year, which QI Software says will help streamline workflows – that’s developer-speak for making things easier to do.
When Early Access does arrive, it won’t initially include the full map. Instead, the team has decided to restrict the Early Access launch to the town of Dead Man’s Flats and the surrounding areas, which they say will still afford plenty of room to explore.
Backers have been playing regular alpha updates to Dead Matter for the past two years, but everyone else will just have to wait for the Early Access launch. In the meantime, there are plenty of other zombie games to sink your teeth into this Halloween season.