April 16th is Zombies, Run! 2 day

“When is Zombies, Run! 2 coming out?”, we hear you cry. “Spring! It’ll be out in the spring!”, we yell back. “What does that even mean?”, you retort. And also “but I live in Australia!”, from some of you.

Today we’re going to do away with all confusion: Zombies, Run! 2 has a firm release date and it is April 16th. As announced yesterday, this date is for both iOS and Android.


Don’t forget, Zombies, Run! 2 will be a free upgrade for current players of Zombies, Run! Along with all of Season 1, the game will come with seven free missions to begin with, including four Season 2 missions and three sidequests. We’ll begin releasing three additional missions every week starting from late April/early May, and as soon as we’ve nailed down the details for this, we’ll let you know!

So, if you’re looking to replay (or finish!) Zombies, Run! before the release of Zombies, Run! 2, now’s a great time to start. You have 47 days!

iOS users: Zombies, Run! 2 will require iOS 6+. In practice, this won’t affect anyone except for iPod Touch 3rd gen users – everyone else who’s already playing ZR will be fine!

Android users: Zombies, Run! 2 will require Android 4.0+

Zombies, Run! 2 on Android

Fear not, Android fans! We promised you an update on the development of the Android version of Zombies, Run! 2 and here it is:

We are right on track to deliver both the Android and iOS versions of Zombies, Run! 2 on the same day. That’s right – no more waiting!

This also means that weekly mission releases will also be available simultaneously across both platforms, so no matter what device you have, you’ll never be behind on the story. We’re also planning on both versions having core feature parity, unlike with the original Zombies, Run! In other words, Android and iOS players will have the same gameplay experience.

Screenshots shown in this post are from an early development build of Zombies, Run! 2 for Android devices. Just to prove that we’re not lying – it really is in development and is taking shape!


Back when we developed the first version of Zombies, Run!, we released on iOS first with the Android version coming a few months later. This was mainly because we had far more backers and pre-sales from people on iOS than on Android. Like most games companies, we only had a limited number of developers so we had to pick one platform to launch on first, so it was a straightforward decision to make.

For Zombies, Run! 2, however, it’s very important to us that we treat Android the same as iOS. We really appreciate the support we’ve had from our Android players and from the Google Play Store team, and we’re confident that Android sales of Zombies, Run! will continue to catch up with iOS.


Currently, we’re developing for Android 4.0+ devices only. This not only allows us to develop the game much faster but it also means we can reach a higher level of polish and performance – something that we couldn’t do if we supported older versions.

We know this will disappoint some of you, but our user stats show that only a small percentage of our Android players are still running versions earlier than 4.0. It’s possible we will be able to back-port the game for Android 2.3, but this will not be possible for launch.

It’s worth saying that the nature of game development means that it’s always possible that problems may crop up that will prevent a simultaneous release, but whatever happens, we want the wait between the iOS and Android releases to be as short as possible.


So, as soon as we have a concrete release date (singular!) or anything changes in this area, we’ll be sure to let you guys know!

First screenshots of Zombies, Run! 2

Zombies, Run! 2 is really starting to take shape now, so we want to present you with our very first look at the game’s new interface.

Please note, these screens show an app that is still very much in development; you will see placeholder text and graphics that will be different in the final version of the game.


This is the Zombies, Run! 2 Home Screen. We’ll keep you notified of any in-game updates, along with any newly released missions, via this screen. That welcome banner may or may not make it into the final game, but we are definitely planning on implementing a user system so you can have multiple players on a single device.

As you can see, the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen is similar to that found in the original Zombies, Run!, except that it looks much cooler. However, because we’re fitting so much new stuff into this game, the button furthest on the right will open a new screen which houses the Codex, Run Logs, Settings and a bunch of other miscellany. No screenshot of that, because it’s largely a list of words, which isn’t very exciting to look at.

Instead, let’s take a look at the Missions Screen.


This too has been revamped and, we hope you’ll agree, looks much prettier. These ‘mission cards’ will expand when touched to show more information along with a download button and your normal mission options. Swiping across the screen will change the page, so that you can access Season 2 missions, Radio missions and more… (we’re showing you a list of Season 1 missions because we don’t want to reveal the titles of Season 2 missions just yet!)

Next, let’s take a look at the Base Builder. This is the real meat of the Zombies, Run! 2 visual interface and is the area in which we’ve made the biggest and most visible improvements.


So, here it is! This is Abel Township. Or, at least, this is my Abel Township. Yours will probably look very different, thanks to the ability to place your own buildings wherever you like within the Township walls. Running out of space? Spend some supplies on expanding your walls outwards.

At the top of the screen you can see a bar containing your base’s stats. From left to right, you can see current population/max population, defence level, morale level and the number of collected supplies and materials you currently own.


Want to add a new building? Just press the New Building button. Pretty sure we couldn’t have made this stuff any easier. You’ll be confronted with the following screen, but probably with a few additional buildings and amenities thrown in for good measure. This is just a basic list to show give you an idea of what it will look like. Don’t be surprised if any requirements and/or costs are different in the final game.


Placing your new building in your base is simply a case of dragging and dropping it into the world.



Clicking on a building will show you more detailed information. Again, I must reiterate that there is a lot of placeholder content in the game right now. That flavour text? That definitely won’t be in the final game.



It’s here that you’ll be able to upgrade your buildings. Each building has a set of requirements that need to be met before you can go ahead and upgrade. You can also demolish the building to regain some supplies, or invest in add-ons. We’ll be talking more about add-ons at a later date.

Yes, these are iOS screens, but don’t worry Android users! We’re working hard on the Android version and it’s looking great. We’ll have more information on this very soon.

We hope you like what you see in these first screenshots of Zombies, Run! 2! We’ve a little way to go before we’re finished, but hopefully this has got you a little more hyped for the game’s release in the Spring.

Making Zombies, Run! 2 accessible

Hello, Alex Macmillan* from the development team here. Babu, Luis, George and I are currently working full pelt to bring you Zombies, Run! 2 on both iOS and Android as close to one-another as possible. (We’ll have more information about the Android version of Zombies, Run! 2 very soon!)

*There are two Alexs at Six to Start now, Alex Primavesi joined us recently to work on a new project with the support of the UK Department of Health.


One thing we’re particularly excited to share about Zombies, Run! 2 is that we are making the game 100% VoiceOver enabled and thus fully accessible for as many players as possible on iOS.

VoiceOver is Apple’s screen-reader technology for iOS. When you turn VoiceOver on it describes whatever your finger is touching using a computer-generated voice. If your finger is over a button, you can double-tap to activate the button. To scroll a list, you use two fingers.

Our sight-impaired players

We were surprised when we found out how many blind and sight-impaired people had bought and become fans of  Zombies, Run! Many contacted us with the same particular problem — that while our players had no trouble playing through the missions (after all, it’s all audio!) — there was no way for our VoiceOver-using players to upgrade Abel Township. This is something we wanted to fix for Zombies, Run! 2 as a matter of priority.

Here comes the technical bit. If you can feel your eyes glazing over faster than a car windscreen in freezing fog, I won’t be offended if you skip the next section.

The technical bit!

To display Abel Township in all of it’s high resolution glory and to enable the visual effects (which we have many of more in ZR2! than the original game), we needed a graphics engine. We chose the most popular engine available for iPhone, cocos2d. The engine does the hard work of loading Abel Township’s buildings into the phone’s graphics memory and then rendering them onto the screen of the phone in under sixteen milliseconds (so that we can do it sixty times a second for a butter-smooth experience).

However, the gotcha is that Apple’s VoiceOver technology can only describe parts of the interface that are made from Apple’s user interface components – things like text labels, buttons, lists and alerts.

Because we’re using a game engine, VoiceOver has no way of describing what’s on screen. Additionally, because VoiceOver changes the way touching and dragging works it’s impossible to pick up and allocate supplies, or pan and zoom the base.

How we’re addressing accessibility in ZR2

In Zombies, Run! 2 on iOS we have built two separate interfaces for managing your base — one uses the same tech as ZR1 but is optimised so that we can show more buildings, a detailed environment, and many more visual effects. We’ve got much better at optimising graphics in ZR2 — the game starts faster, and we’re seeing smooth performance on the iPhone 3GS, right up to the iPhone 5, and on Android with LibGDX as well.

The second interface — the “schematic view” — shows your base using only Apple’s user interface components. It’s like a top-down strategic view of your base. And because it’s made using only “native” UI components, it works perfectly with VoiceOver.

All players can access both interfaces.


There are a couple of things that I’m proud of with our approach.

1) Aiming to make the game VoiceOver compatible allowed us to start testing earlier. Managing the base in Zombies, Run! 2 is a complicated affair – you have to make sure your base can support it’s growing population, and keep people happy at the same time as managing your base’s defences. We want this to be fun and rewarding, and we wanted to start refining these mechanics as soon as possible.

Prototyping with the “schematic view” meant Adrian (our CEO) could start managing bases and balancing the gameplay without programming a 2D game engine, or waiting for first drafts of the building artwork from our graphic artists Estée and Michael.

2) Regardless of whether you use the graphics view or the schematic view, you’re playing the same game. Initially we thought that the accessible version of the base builder might simply show a list of buildings in your base, rather than a map.

But that created a problem – how do we convey to the user that they can’t build a building because they’ve run out of space? And even if there is enough space, how do we explain that the building is the wrong shape for it? We considered throwing out the “space management” aspect of the accessible base builder entirely.

Ultimately we realised this was stupid. Why should we make the game simpler just because the interface needs to be accessible? Why should we deprive people the fun of cramming their buildings together into the most efficient possible layout? We discarded the list idea and implemented a proper map instead.

A game for everybody

Given that Zombies, Run! is at its heart an aural experience, it is one of our highest priorities to make the game fully accessible to all of our players, be they sighted or visually impaired. We are delighted that this will be possible on iOS from day one, and are working hard to bring the same accessibility to Android as soon as possible.

Did you enjoy this closer look at the development process for Zombies, Run! 2? Would you like to know more? Let me know what you think at alex@sixtostart.com.

Inside the Sound Booth

We’re back with another look behind the scenes of Zombies, Run! 2. This time we’re focused on the actors and what exactly goes on inside that new sound booth of ours. It’s hard to show voice actors at their finest without, you know, hearing their voices, so we’ve put together a few videos showing just a snippet of the recording sessions from before Christmas. 

We’ve tried to make sure that these videos are as spoiler-free as possible. There are no large plot spoilers, but obviously watching them will result in hearing portions of dialogue (and a touch of singing) ahead of the game’s release. You’ve been warned!

First up, we have a scene featuring Archie (who you should recognise from the New Canton Race Missions) and Nadia, the New Canton radio operator. That weird guy hiding in the corner is our director, Matt Wieteska. If he looks tired in any of these videos, it’s because he spent almost a full month practically living in this tiny dark room in order to bring you the very best performances our actors could give us.

Next up, a scene featuring everyone’s favourite radio operator, Sam Yao. Archie’s back, along with Doctor Maxine Myers and new character Jamie. There may or may not be a puppy involved… and this one does have an actual spoiler for a (little) part of the plot so if you’re concerned about remaining pristinely unspoiled, stay away.

Now something a little special. What happens when Sam Yao, Janine and Jody (Runner 4) are asked to wrap a tune around a set of song lyrics? Watch and find out…

And here’s the final scene featuring your new (least) favourite song – Text Me Up. Annoyingly catchy, isn’t it?

Finally, here’s a video of Richard, our Sound Engineer, creating some foley (sound effects) for hungry zombies chewing at human flesh. Spoiler: Zombies, Run! 2 will have zombies in it! This one is not for the faint hearted, or sentient oranges.

That’s all for now, but we hope you’ve enjoyed this peek behind the scenes. The actors will be back to record the second half of Zombies, Run! Season 2 in the next few months, so we’ll be sure to take a bunch more footage for you, if it’s something that you’d like to see. Let us know!

Base Builder 2.0


We continue our Zombies, Run! 2 announcements with a look at the new Base Builder. As with almost everything in Zombies, Run! 2, the Base Builder has been completely redesigned from scratch. We’ve also added a bunch of new features, which will really allow you to personalise your base and make it your own.

In Zombies, Run! the base was pretty much fully built by the time Runner 5 arrives. Supplies collected in missions were just used to upgrade each building in order to increase the population of Abel Township. In Zombies, Run! 2 we wanted to take it further. Make it more fun. We’re giving you the power to design your own base by buying and placing new buildings however you like within the confines of the base walls.


To build these new structures, you’ll need the normal supplies you’re already familiar with, as well as a new type of collectible called materials. Unlike regular supplies, there will only be a set number to collect in each mission so, with every mission you play, you will be increasing the maximum potential of your base.

Run out of space in your base? Extend those walls! The walls of your base can be expanded outwards, reclaiming the zombie infested wilderness and making more space on which to build farms, hospitals and comms shacks. With all these new, happy people joining the Abel family, they’re going to need somewhere to live. There are only so many people you can pack into Janine’s farmhouse before she starts getting a bit miffed, after all. Especially when someone uses her loofah without asking.


Buildings can be improved in a couple of ways in Zombies, Run! 2. Supplies and materials can be spent to upgrade them, or to develop “add-ons”, which will increase their abilities and stats. This includes things like increased defence, morale, population, etc. We’re not quite ready to talk about what exactly defence and morale ratings will do yet, but keep an eye out here on the Zombies, Run! Blog for the full details when we have them.

Amenities are small extras that can be placed around your base, such as a library and a kennel. Not only do they make Abel look prettier, but they also increase morale. Both buildings and amenities are unlocked as you progress through the game, with most of the latter being available only after you’ve completed certain side quests. You will be able to have only one of each amenity in your base, so place wisely!

What this all means is that your Abel can truly be yours. Want a base full of nothing but farms? Go for it. Fancy boxing Janine’s farmhouse in with playgrounds? She may not love that idea, but sure. Fill your boots. Twenty comms shacks? Sadly they don’t each come with their own clone of Sam Yao, but nice try!


We’ll be back soon with more to reveal, along with the first screenshots from the game! Did you miss our explanation of the episodic mission release schedule? Make sure you check it out!