Anatomy of a Milestone Email

You’ve just arrived home after a hard run, evading the hordes of the undead and collecting vital supplies for Abel Township. There, in your inbox, is an email from Sam, congratulating you on a run well done!

Milestone emails are one of our favourite things to create for Zombies, Run! No matter how your mission went, it’s always nice to get home and find a bit of praise and encouragement. Sadly, we don’t really have a Sam Yao around to write those messages for us (I know! We’re sad about that too!), but we have talked to our super talented artist, Kas Sweeney, who’s given us an insight into how she goes about creating our milestone emails.

“Putting together our milestone emails is honestly one of my favourite things to do for the game- I love the thought of Runner Five receiving these fun messages from the characters of Abel Township celebrating whatever amazing accomplishment they’ve achieved after a run, or chatting about the events of the most recent episode.

My process for putting these together is pretty straight forward! I’ll usually start by reading through the scripts of the relevant season, and picking out certain events that might be fun to have a character react to in their milestone email to Runner Five. Once I’ve figured out which story beats I’d like to hit and the tone I’d like to go for, I’ll then decide on which character is writing this message to Runner Five, as obviously we want to make sure the character is actually around for the events of the story! Relistening to the performances of these episodes is a great way of helping me figure out a character’s voice, and what they might be going through. I’ll then draft a letter in the voice of the character in question, before sending it off for approval by the writers. I really enjoy writing Sam, and I’ll leap at any chance to write a milestone from Simon given he’s my favourite of all time and I’m incredibly predictable.

Once we’ve received the thumbs up, I’ll move onto design. The look of these milestone emails is usually informed by two things: which character is sending the message, and in what context the message is being received. For instance, a letter from Sam hastily scrawled on a crumpled up piece of notebook paper and left on Runner Five’s cot is probably going to look a little different to an official letter from Major De Santa! It can be a fun challenge figuring out other ways of communicating a character’s personality through something other than the contents of their message. In order to highlight the difference between characters, I have specific fonts for each character’s handwriting, as well as different types of paper these characters might have access to. If the letter mentions an item the sender is leaving for Runner Five (like this pillow left by Runner Seven,) we’ll include an illustration of that item.

It’s been really fun getting the opportunity to play with these characters that I love so much, and do a little writing from their points of view. It always makes me really happy to see people posting their milestone emails on social media, and how tickled they are!”