You ARE the zombie

I’m tossing around an idea for a story where, instead of attempting to survive the zombie apocalypse, you begin the game already bitten and are attempting to cling to what remains of your humanity.

My first impulse is to use two stats for this, morality and humanity. Morality would track how ‘good’ or ‘evil’ your choices are whereas humanity would track how close you are to becoming part of a sea of mindless shambling undead. As the means (at least initially) of maintaining your humanity is to eat the fresh brains of unturned humans, maintaining morality will be seemingly impossible. This leads to two likely endings - evil but human, good but undead. Options opening up later in the narrative will lead to a ‘winning’ path where you manage to maintain both stats.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Shoot me down in flames?


This has intrigued me… So are you already a zombie or are you an infected survivor who’s trying to fight off turning and finding a way to cure yourself?

Edit: if the answer is the latter I presume this will be a slow acting virus?


If you’re already starting as a zombie, I’d say abandon morality altogether and just go full flesh eating, brain chomping zombie.

The stat to keep track of wouldn’t be so much maintaining your humanity so much as retaining “past memories”

The advantages of maintaining your past memories is you’re able to use tools, possibly open doors and other slightly more complex actions that most zombies can’t do.

The disadvantage is you are more likely to become distracted by those same past memories since you’re more prone to “study” things while your rotting brain is desperately trying to process. I suppose on a very very minor level this could still be tied to “humanity” since maybe you might hesitate to eat the screaming blonde girl in front of you because she looks similar to someone you knew in your former life. (And you’ll need to fight through that memory to get those brains)

The flip side of retaining your past memories is going feral. Meaning you “evolve” to become more of a natural predator and you’re more likely to run down a human or sneak up on one.

The down side is you’re reduced to your “natural” abilities. You’re not going to be opening doors or doing any sort of complex thinking since you have more of an animal cunning. Which also means you’re more likely to just run after the closest human you can get to rather than perhaps thinking a little more about it. (Falling victim to traps more often)


This is intriguing! Were you thinking, for example, of the MC being cognizant of a growing hunger and degrading motor skills? Seriously, this has all sorts of potential.

I would say it all depends on your ultimate goal. I am a bit confused about the endings bit and not 100% sold on just the two you described. When you say “good but undead” ending where you are human, does that mean you can be a self-aware, brain-abstaining zombie? Is this a story where the MC could survive but lose their mental facilities to the point that they are a slurring mess at the end? Get shot by a survivor? You say eating brains would actually slow the progression of the zombism, but what about after that? Surely brains aren’t a cure?

I think you’re off to a good start with the stats, as well. Humanity is a great one. I’m not sure if I would classify another as “morality,” since that could be considered confusing (is it morally wrong to succumb to a disease you can’t control, especially when you already have a humanity stat?), but maybe “self-control” or “resistance” or “strength” or “awareness” or something like that. Or maybe those are all horrible, LOL.

Anyway, my point is, I would definitely encourage you to continue brain-storming (um…no pun intended? sorry) because this is a good idea. Kinda reminds me of when BioWare toyed with the idea of having Shepard be lost to indoctrination in ME3, but they ultimately couldn’t figure out how to satisfactorily work it into gameplay and the story.Good luck! Hope to hear more about it! :smile:


I hope this is the case as I think this would interest me more rather than actually being a zombie. And also, will there be romance involved?
I’m a sucker for romance… But don’t tell no one though!


I feel a Warm Bodies romance coming :smile:


Let’s say you’re the infected survivor, this is an aggressive virus with a fallback, it takes 48 hours to turn, symptoms will develop in that time that psychically falters the MC and knocks their skills back temporarily, but this virus can be suppressed back with a drug such as Antibiotics, doesn’t cure it but resets your skills back to their numbers and all symptoms are gone, they will need this drug let’s say every 6 or 12 hours?
Could be a key point to the game


Well, the first thing this tells me is that I need to rename those stats!

‘Humanity’ is supposed to be how human you are - are you fully aware, intelligent, full motor control, etc, or are yu a shambling, slurring, rotten mess with no thought aside from ‘brains are yummy, gotta eat me some brains’.

‘Morality’ refers to the choices you make, when you are capable of making them. Do you eat Mom’s brains, or do you make sure that she uses your space on the boat out of Zombieville, knowing that you are already infected?

So the ‘good but undead ending’ would be what would happen if you abstained from eating brains at every point, you kept your morals intact at the expense of becoming a full-on zombie.

The ‘evil but human’ ending is what happens if you eat all the brains going. You are fully in control of your faculties, but you are one nasty piece of work.

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Imo that’s a great idea.

The ‘best’ ending that I currently have in mind will rely on a couple of early choices you will be able to make that will lead to the scientist who will eventually discover the ‘cure’ surviving. The cure won’t stop you being a zombie, as you are effectively dead and the zombie virus is the only thing keeping you alive. However the protein that the virus requires to keep reproducing in your body, which is only found in fresh brains, can be artifically produced. Of course if you eat that scientist… you’re screwed,

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So this virus has already effectively killed you off and the only thing keeping you standing is the reanimation process or something else? Like I said this could be your suppressor. The ‘proteins’ can be taken however you like oral, injection, etc. If you go without them you weaken your skills temporarily and be a little edgy with fellow survivors similar to withdrawal symptoms from an addiction, after so long the virus consumes your mind and brain, becoming one of the zeds

Edit: also will any other infected you come across be in your situation? Like they need to feed to keep their mind or are you ‘the chosen one’?

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I need to do more research on how real life parasites work - I think on reflection that a parasite will probably work better than a virus. There are plenty of real examples of parasites that control their host in a way that can easily be tweaked to create a zombie.

As for other sane infected, yes there will be a few. Again, I need to work out why the MC manages to retain their sanity for longer than the majority of the population.

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Ahh, I see, that makes sense. Thanks for clarifying! I still think there is room to elaborate even further with more variations, but this is a solid A+ starting concept!

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I like the idea provisionally, I feel like zombies are so overdone from every angle, but perhaps you will be able to shift the tone with this piece. I would suggest going with a somewhat light tone, crack some jokes instead of focusing on the maudlin Walking Dead stuff.

I would recommend something akin to Stubbs the Zombie, an old Xbox game where you played a zombified door-to-door salesman in a 50’s ‘City of the Future’. A bit of silly humour is just what zombies need.

As to the gameplay, perhaps if you retain your intelligence, you could start communicating with other zombies and starting your own zombie community? Keep humans in pens for food? Or go out and hunt them? Duke it out with the other zombies in the ‘target-rich’ environment of the city, or buckle down for lean times on an abandoned farm?

Perhaps you could even find flesh-rotten romance in the harsh, gory world of the apocalypse?


Yeah, zombies are starting to get a bit old hat. But as this is mostly an experiment with IF, getting to know the engine and so on, I’m only writing to please myself :smiley: If I can pull it off, a very blackly humorous tone is definitely what I’m planning on aiming for.

I love those ideas for high humanity low morality endings! I definitely need better terms for those stats…

There will be romance options. Definitely. It’s too funny not to.

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Veeerrryyyy very original story idea if I say so myself. But I have a question regarding the infection.

Will the infection be really slow to take over, causing a better chance just to end the infection quickly.
Does it just depend on the person(s) will perhaps, weak willpower = a faster infection.

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Maury: "The DNA test results are in!

“In the case of Packet’s Suspicious Bite Mark…”

*The audience becomes deathly silent*.

**Maury**: "Packet."

**Maury**: "You ARE the zombie!"

*Packet wails hysterically and jumps up from her seat.*

She bites her chair and flings it into the screaming audience; she maniacally bawls and rapidly shakes her head from side to side, showering and infecting the audience members with tainted slobber.

Sorry, I had to do it.


Lovin’ the story/game idea!

Go for it! :smile:


This reminds me of an old flash game I used to play called Sonny, where you play as a zombie trying to survive long enough to understand what happened.

Anyways, this looks like a very interesting concept, but does the life you lived before becoming infected matter/ is it involved in the game, or are you just thrown into the world barely remembering how you were even bitten/whatever causes zombie stuff?

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Your idea is vastly more sophisticated, and you’re getting some great feedback from people, but just FYI I just posted A Day off Work, where you spend the day bumming around the city. One possible outcome is to end up a zombie going around attacking the same places you might also visit as a regular person.

I just went with a single variable, energy, which decreases every time you go somewhere and increases whenever you eat somebody. Eating somebody successfully depends on whether you have the element of surprise, as well as who in particular you go after, and there’s also an element of random chance. You don’t make it too long regardless, so a fair amount of the text is devoted to describing, in a darkly comical fashion, different ways that you as the zombie meet your end.

@EndMaster makes a good point about embracing your zombie-ness rather than trying to stay human. If it’s in any way inevitable then all the choices you make before full infection will seem pointless.

Your whole concept actually reminds me of the book The Road, where the starving survivors have all chosen whether to become cannibals or not. It would be interesting to explore how peoples’ high and mighty rhetoric dissolves the moment their personal safety is at stake.

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LOLZ wow you realy made my day with that