Here's something I didn't see coming for at least a few more years, let alone a few more months, but Project Zomboid has finally done it. Indie Stone actually released the long-awaited multiplayer alpha build. A fully functioning, online multiplayer mode to a game touted as a single player experience. And this is all the more crazy when you realize that the splitscreen mode is still incredibly buggy by comparison to this, the online mode, which is surprisingly stable.
Rather than being placed somewhere random, Project Zomboid's online mode starts off in the home of Kate and Bob (I'm assuming that's either a typo or Baldspot's real name) from the story. The house, however, is a drastically reimagined tiny household, slightly different from the much larger home the tragic couple used to live in before the laptop theft of Indie Stone. Maybe it's just in my head; the zombies that litered the floor from the attack prior to my logging in (22.214.171.124) seemed to make the house rather claustrophobic. I couldn't help but notice the fact that the models were two-dimensional. You see, on the Twitch.tv stream of the multiplayer alpha build, the character models were actually rendered in a sprite-like 3D, noticeably different. Maybe the models were just done so well that I couldn't notice.
On my first playthrough I met a nice bearded lady who seemed a little lost. She asked me for a weapon, and although I didn't have one, I told her where she could find some nailed bats. We spent a couple minutes looking through the small town for any sign of sustenance, only to find a closed can of dog food, neither of us with a can opener at our disposal. Fate is indeed a cruel mistress. My story sort of ends there, with my character starved beyond recognition. Not exactly the "emergent storytelling" fans of the zombie genre have been waiting for, but I'll take it, given it's the only story I have other than the time in DayZ where I was having a conversation with an AFK fellow on the ground whom I thought was wounded.
You can play Project Zomboid online on Steam by going to properties and opting for the online test beta.