Season 9 Part 1 is coming next year!

We’ve got great news: we’ll be releasing the first 15 missions from Season 9 in Spring 2021!

Earlier this year, we decided to delay the release because it wasn’t safe for us to record in person and we weren’t satisfied that we could reach the high audio quality you deserve by recording remotely.

Since then, we’ve levelled up our remote recording capabilities through our work on the Home Front and New Adventures. Most of those scripts were designed for remote recording, with fewer actors per scene, but over time, our Head of Production Matt Wieteska and Sound Designer Mark Pittam have pushed the limits of what we can do, with the 5-episode, 27-actor Nellie Bly a fantastic demonstration of how far we’ve come.

Remote recording is still more time-consuming and expensive for Zombies, Run!, however – that’s why we’re starting with just the first 15 missions of Season 9. But we’re as eager as you are to continue the Abel Township saga and find out what’s next for Runner 5, so we’ll aim to do as much as we can as circumstances permit.

Keep your headset tuned and stay safe out there, Five, because Season 9 is on the horizon!

Our Big Holiday Sale is Here!

Our big Holiday Sale has arrived! You can get 10% off everything in our official store, including amazing new merch and even deeper discounts, but first…

We’ve launched our first-ever gift VIP subscription, and to celebrate, we’re taking $10 off the normal price until November 27th! 🎉

VIP comes with unlimited access to hundreds of thrilling missions, workouts, and 11 virtual races across Zombies, Run!, ZR 5K Training, and The Walk. It’s the perfect present for any budding Runner 5!

10% Off All Merch! 👕

Looking for your next running outfit, or just keen to complete your Abel Township lifestyle? We’re offering 10% off everything in our official store – just use code HOLIDAY2020 at checkout!

This code is valid until Friday November 12, so move fast!

NEW: Sam Yao is My Operator! 🎧

Who could ask for a more loyal, funny, brave, and hopeful operator than Sam Yao? Give him a shout-out every time you leave the house with our new shirts, tote, and mug designed by artist Leslie Strock!

NEW: I Am Runner Five 🔥

Show your colours and declare to the world: I Am Runner Five! Back by popular demand, these shirts are a new Blendtech fabric that dries faster and wicks sweat better than normal cotton.

We’ve heard you – you want Runner Five masks. Grab our dual-layer mask with space for an optional filter today!

Even More Discounts! 🎁

There’s more?! Yes: we’re offering $10 off Train to Oban and Escape from Runaway Fairground virtual race shirts, plus $5 off Runner Five socks

Only limited quantities are available, so move fast if you don’t want to miss out!

The Most Wonderful Time of Year!

As professional zombie wranglers, it’s easy to pick out a favourite day of the year. Halloween of course (and also World Zombie Day on October 10th but that involves less chocolate and sweets)! The time of year when all the ghosts and ghouls rise from the grave, and we unleash the zombie hordes into the world for a night of doing the Monster Mash and dancing to Thriller.

But there’s worse than the rotting undead abroad! With Halloween just around the corner, we thought we’d take a look at some of the spookier goings on at Abel Township!

Warning! Spoilers Ahead!

A warning sign saying Spoilers Ahead

An obvious choice perhaps, but this trio of Halloween themed missions are just what you need as the nights draw in.

Season 2 Halloween Missions

In Living Dead Girl, you help Jack and Eugene track down a lost artefact – the final record of a singer who died before it was released, and whose voice can be heard on a track she never recorded. Is this just an urban legend from the music world? Or is the record truly more than it seems?

In Horseplay, you head out for vital Halloween supplies for the festivities. But it’s dark outside, and there’s something on your trail. Is the creature following you just a figment of your imagination? Or are tales of the headless horseman real?

Three figures with arms outstretched

In Wai Chu Xiao Xin you join Sam on a trip to Chinatown to find supplies for a special meal, and to reminisce about his upbringing and the folklore of his childhood. Chinatown has been quiet for months, but is there something worse than zombies lying in wait?

SOS and You’re Rocking the Boat (Season 2 Missions 13+14)

A mysterious distress call summons Runner 5 to a wrecked cruise ship. The inhabitants had been trying to sit out the apocalypse at sea, but now they’re overwhelmed by zombies. As you venture into the heart of the vessel, the questions just keep coming. How did the ship know about you, and is there something worse than zombies lurking in the belly of the boat?

Ghost Town (Season 2 Mission 28)

There’s a thriving settlement gone dark on Rofflenet, and you’re sent to investigate with no idea of what you’ll find once you venture past the gates. Technical troubles? Zombies? Or has something more sinister taken its toll?

Old World (Season 3 Mission 36)

Liddlestone St. Crispin was never meant to be more than a tourist attraction – but the replica medieval walls definitely proved their worth when it came to the zombie apocalypse. But the residents want to burn it down, destroying vital information. It’s up to you, Exorcist Five, to get rid of the ghost haunting the town and find the information you need to save Abel!

History Repeating and Church of the Poison Mind (Season 4 Missions 13+14)

Follow the path of an ancient Edda on the trail of the origin of the zombie plague! From a sunken Viking village, to mysterious standing stones, to caverns hidden beneath the earth, will you find the knowledge that you seek? Or will the dead claim you at last?

Between the Lines (A New Adventure)

A person wearing headphones, with another person silhouetted in black behind them

Take a gentle run through the park with an Active Listen audiobook! In ‘Never Alone’, a stranger arrives in town with motives that are far from pure. But is the story hitting closer to home than you realised?

The first of our comissioned New Adventures, Between the Lines is a story that’s sure to send shivers down your spine this Halloween!

Zombies, Don’t Run!

Believe it or not, but a lot of our players don’t always run with Zombies, Run! Our game is designed for running, jogging, and walking outside and on treadmills, and we have new modes like The Home Front tailor-made for bodyweight fitness (with a dedicated Home Workout mode coming soon!), but we often get asked if you can play our hundreds of running missions without running.

And the answer is: Yes!

Thanks to our Simulate Running mode (previously called Constant Pace), you can set up a simulated running speed and you’ll still hear our awesome story and collect all the supplies and materials and artefacts you need to rebuild Abel Township! Just tap the Tracking button below “Start Mission”.

Screenshot of the Tracking Settings in Zombies Run!

(You can also use No Tracking if you’d rather not have simulated distances appear in your Run Logs and Statistics.)

Here are some ideas of how you can simulate running as winter approaches in the northern hemisphere!

A man on a rowing machine

If you’re on a rowing machine, why not speed through a 2000m distance with a quick simulated running pace and a short mission duration?

Row of exercise bikes

Prefer exercise bikes or spinning? Turn on back-to-back Story Missions for a long ride through the zombie apocalypse!

Woman performing a sit up

You can even do home workouts or bodyweight fitness or even household chores while “running”!

You won’t get zombie chases with Simulate Running or No Tracking, but you can still speed up or intensify your exercise when characters tell you to move – as they often do in our story.

Stay safe out there, and keep it up, Runner 5!

Photo Credits

Rowing by Victor Freitas on Unsplash. Gym bike by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash. Sit up by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

ZR 9.1: Stylish Setting Sheets

If you’re a veteran Runner 5, you’ll have memorised our run settings screens and be able to switch between GPS and Step Counting without a backward glance (helpful if you’re escaping zoms!).

But over the years, our settings have grown into a powerful but complicated list, so with this update, we’ve redesigned them on both Android and iPhone to make them easier to navigate and understand. Also, they’re just a lot nicer-looking now!

Tracking settings sheet animation up from the bottom of a mission screen

We’ve also renamed settings so they’re more understandable (Constant Pace is now Simulate Running, Built-in Player is now ZR Player), and made lots of other little improvements:

Screenshots of the Zombie Chases, Duration, and Musing setting sheets on Android

Run settings are accessed in exactly the same way as before, from the bottom of the Mission screen, and other than their appearance, they also behave in the same way – so don’t worry if you’ve already got your perfect system set up!

Also in 9.1

  • Redesigned News articles so they’re easier to view and faster to load
  • Android: Airdrop clips now play back correctly rather than continuously

We’re already hard at work on our 9.2 update, which will bring a dedicated Home Workout mode – and of course, we’ve been releasing Home Front missions and New Adventures almost every week!

Nellie Bly: “This gal? Someone should be talking about her.”

In our new five-part globetrotting New Adventure set in 1889, you’ll join Nellie Bly as she races around the world in 72 days. We asked writer Jessica Wright Buha on why this true story is so exciting and important, and what led her to it.

Nellie Bly is releasing every Friday from October 2nd to 30th, with the first two episodes completely free and unlocked. To play, get Zombies, Run! for free on iPhone and Android.

Nellie Bly waving on top of a map showing her route from New York to London

I don’t remember when I first read about Nellie Bly. I know I was a kid, and it was in one of those faded hardcover children’s books–one of the ones left over from my mom’s childhood. I can vaguely recall the picture on the cover: a faded 1890s photograph of Nellie in her famous traveling coat, the black and white checkered fabric in the ocean breeze, hat in hand, waving. Maybe there was a newspaper behind her?

The specific details are fuzzy, but there are three things I DO remember about Nellie Bly – three things that are absolutely burned onto the inside wall of my skull:

Nellie Bly was:

  • a woman
  • a writer
  • and very, very brave.

What an impossible trifecta. And in the late 1800s! Are you kidding me? And the more I read about her, the more I’m like, “Okay, yeah, this gal? Someone should be talking about her.”

Here’s a story from the Brooke Kroeger biography Nellie Bly: Daredevil, Reporter, Feminist. In 1878, Nellie Bly was fourteen. Her stepfather, Jack Ford, gets drunk and pulls a loaded gun on her mother, Mary Jane. Nellie and her older brother Albert jump in front of Mary Jane to protect her. Mary Jane flees, and Albert runs after her. Neighbors, hearing the snap of a bullet, turned to see Albert and Mary Jane racing down the street.

And where was Nellie?

SHE STAYED BEHIND. Because Nellie had a younger sister, Kate, and a younger brother, Harry. Who was going to make sure the kids got out safe? Nellie did. She got her siblings, grabbed their hands, and sprinted them to safety.

And then she grew up, and she became an investigative journalist where she infiltrated an insane asylum, exposed a political bribery scandal, and decided to see how fast a person could circumnavigate the globe. And all while financially supporting her mother, sister, and niece. How did she do all this? By being fearless.

I suppose Nellie wasn’t really fearless. She was desperate, and she simply focused that desperation into thoughtful action.

I say “simply,” but being focused when desperate is pretty tricky to pull off. I, for one, tend to just panic. Take, for example, my experience with the year 2020 in Chicago, IL USA.

A map of Nellie's route around the world, the the title "The lines of travel to be followed by 'the world's' flying representation."
New York newspaper, Thursday, November 14, 1889

In January, I get an email from Six to Start saying that the Nellie Bly globetrotting script I proposed is moving to the next phase of development. Amazing! I get to write about Nellie’s attempt to circumnavigate the Earth! I start drafting the first of what would be five episodes.

By late February, I’ve got most of the first two Nellie Bly episodes written. I buy an extra bottle of hand sanitizer at the grocery store, and I just feel EMBARRASSED at how much I’m overreacting.

It all happened so quickly. Remember?

In March, my son’s preschool switches from in-person to virtual. I write long-hand on legal pads while my son uses my laptop for his Zoom meetings.

In April, my husband’s company aggressively downsizes. He is let go. We split the workday in half: I watch the kids in the morning while he applies for jobs, and he watches them in the afternoon while I write.

In May, and June, and July, I write. And write and write, and revise, and write, and I sew masks by hand, and I teach myself how to cut hair so my husband will look decent on his Zoom job interviews, and I grow a victory garden. I put all the plants in the same sunny corner, and I set a folding chair right in the center, and sometimes I just sit there, alone, and my husband tells the kids, “Mom’s with the plants, give her some space.”

My daughter builds playgrounds out of blocks. My son draws maps of imaginary cities. I write while they sleep, while my kids dream of oceans and mountains and vast green fields. Of a world unfolded.

(Except when they have nightmares. Remember the nightmares? My son’s was that the grocery store was out of food.)

Article excerpt: Around the World, a continuous trip which will girdle the spinning globe. Nellie Bly to make an unequalled rapid-transit record. Now, 30,000 miles in a rush! Can Jules Verne's Great Dream be reduced to actual fact! A veritable feminine Phineas Fogg.
New York newspaper, Thursday, November 14, 1889

I write. First draft of episode three: done. Episode four: done. The death toll in the US barrels past 100k. One day we’re watching Paw Patrol and my four-year-old son turns to me and says, “But I don’t want to die.”

And then it’s the end of July, and my Nellie Bly episode five is due in a couple days, and I realize I can’t do it.

I can’t. I can’t write it, because in order to write it, I need to have some good ideas, and I need to have them fast, and I’m suddenly realizing that I’ve never had a good idea. Ever.

“I can’t do this,” I think. “I’ll have to ask Adrian and Matt and the rest of the team for a deadline extension. But how much more time do I need? A day? A week? A year?”

And then Nellie’s voice is in my head.

“Nonsense! If you want to do it, you can do it. The question is, do you want to do it?”

(An actual Nellie Bly quote from the Kroeger biography. The quote’s been rattling around my head for a while, but I never really felt the weight of her question.)

I did want to do it.

So I did.

I wrote it, and I sent it to the team, and I’m just so excited and so nervous to share it with the world. And I hope you all feel the same way I felt when I wrote it, because golly, it’s been wonderful to be immersed in Nellie’s world. A place full of electric lights and steam trains and the rolling sea, where crowds are exciting and not terrifying. Where the future feels bright. And I feel brave.


Nellie Bly is releasing every Friday from October 2nd to 30th, with the first two episodes completely free and unlocked. To play, get Zombies, Run! for free on iPhone and Android.

Matchmaker

The course of true love never did run smooth, but if you’re in the romance business, it better!

Available now in Zombies, Run!, Matchmaker is a story of just how tricky it is to find love in the modern world, written by Emily Short. This is the latest project to be released from our New Adventures Commissioning process, and we can’t wait to share our first romance story with you all!

Once you’ve played Matchmaker and have embraced the warm and fuzzies, check out this conversation between Emily and Six to Start head of production Matt Wieteska to hear a little bit more about the inspiration for Matchmaker, Emily’s writing background, and why her notebook is very, very important. Be warned – this interview contains full spoilers for Matchmaker.

Cast

E.M. Williams: Laura

EM grew up in the Midlands with their Jamaican father and Irish mother. Their studies and training began in Kent, spanned California, and culminated in London at RCSSD. Specialising in physical theatre, aerial circus, and ensemble.

They have provided voices for many Zombies, Run! characters including a malfunctioning AI interface, an irritatingly upbeat aerobics instructor, and an environmental scientist who is way out of their depth.

Theatre Credits Include: My Brilliant Friend (National Theatre); Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (West End – Harold Pinter Theatre); Dinosaur World Live (Regents Park Open Air); The Book of Dragons (York Theatre Royal); The Selfish Giant (Arcola Theatre); Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke (New Diorama & AIIA Theatre, Tokyo). 

Harriet Madeley: Antonia

Harriet’s writing/performance work include: The Listening Room (Theatre Royal Stratford East, The Lowry, Theatre Clwyd, Northern Stage, BBC Radio 4), The Colours (Soho Theatre, 2021 tour), Echoes (commissioned by Public Health England for the HIV Innovation Fund) & The Other Tchaikovsky (BBC Radio 4). 

Her theatre company Crowded Room (which she runs with Mark Knightley) are currently under commission from Battersea Arts Centre & the Co Creating Change network and were recently shortlisted for the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award at the Barbican for 2030 (commissioned by Collusion). 

Visit The City of the Future

Amid the zombie apocalypse, one Scottish city has mysteriously survived behind its high walls: New Oban, the “City of the Future”. Before you embark on your journey there for Die Rise, this year’s Halloween Virtual Race, find out what’s really happening in the New Oban City website!

Pixel art of a bullet train arriving at a futuristic city

There’s everything from the pre-apocalypse Why Choose New Oban? to the more up-to-date Community News and even the Redwood Heights Lifestyle Magazine!

The New Oban website is rendered in glorious pixel art (there’s a reason!) but we’ve also prepared a more readable version with all the same content.

And there’s more!

Check out Missions > Die Rise in the app for briefing letters from Sam and Janine – then sign up to VIP to enter Die Rise and two more Virtual Races launching in the next year plus instant access to ten past Virtual Races!

Which Phones are Best for Zombies, Run!: 2020 Edition

iPhone 7 Plus and Nokia 7.1 running Zombies, Run! on a table

You don’t need an expensive phone to play Zombies, Run!, but to get the very best running experience, here’s what you should keep in mind when choosing your next phone!

iPhone

This is easy: any iPhone that runs iOS 14 will work perfectly fine with Zombies, Run! – that means everything from the iPhone 6s and iPhone SE (1st generation) onwards. There are usually good deals on used and refurbished iPhones – we’d recommend the iPhone 8 and above.

Four iPhone SEs in a row

If you want a new phone and you’re on a budget, the iPhone SE 2nd generation ($399 USD/£419) is a great choice, since it has a fast processor and will get iOS updates for years to come!

Android

There’s just one rule: Buy an Android phone that doesn’t forcibly shut down apps in the background. This means Google, Nokia, and Sony phones.

Nokia 5.3 and Google Pixel 4a

If you’re on a budget, consider the Nokia 5.3 ($199 USD/£149). It’s guaranteed to support Android 11, which means it’ll have all the latest OS features and improvements, and it’s a solid all-round device with a decent processor and good battery.

If you can afford a little more, the Google Pixel 4a ($349 USD/£349) is a fantastic deal – it supports Android 11 and should be supported up to Android 13, plus it has a fast processor.

Both phones are likely to be discounted towards the end of this year, so keep your eyes out for good deals!

Why can’t I buy a Samsung/Huawei/OnePlus/Xiaomi/etc.?

Phone manufacturers like Samsung and Huawei prefer to extend battery life over proper functionality of your apps. They do this by aggressively shutting down or suspending apps as soon as they’re not on your screen – like when you switch to another app or lock your phone. This can also affect GPS tracking.

This does save battery, especially since there are badly-behaved apps that chew up battery in the background – but it stops apps like Zombies, Run! (and other running apps, alarm apps, navigation apps, etc.) from working properly. Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do to prevent this – and believe us, we’ve tried!

Usually you can change the battery management settings so that Zombies, Run! is permitted to run in the background, but:

  • Often you have to change multiple settings
  • These settings can change or even be reset when your phone OS is updated
  • Sometimes these settings are just ignored anyway

It’s absolutely possible for Zombies, Run! to work well on almost every phone, even on Samsung, Huawei, and OnePlus. It’s just more annoying to set up than it should be, which is why we recommend Google and Nokia phones for the easiest experience.