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Developer(s) Smartly Dressed Games
Publisher(s) Smartly Dressed Games
Designer(s) Nelson Sexton
Programmer(s) Nelson Sexton
Engine Unity
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux
Release July 7, 2017
Genre(s) Survival
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Unturned is a free-to-play survival game designed by Nelson Sexton of Smartly Dressed Games.[1] It was released for Microsoft Windows, macOS, and Linux in July 2017, after three years as an early access title on Steam.


Unturned features several different game modes, all of which consist of the same basic concept of zombie survival. The game also has multiple difficulty settings. As of the 9 of April 2018, "IndieHangover" Interviewed Nelson Sexton, when he said: -Unturned has become more of a modding platform. He is referencing the Steam Workshop, where mods created by other users can be accessed and used.

In the survival game mode, the player's character is spawned on a game map with clothes depending on their skill set.[2] Players must find weapons and supplies to survive against the zombies. As the player progresses through the game, they gain experience points which can then be used for upgrades. Survival mode is also available in multiplayer. The greater aim is to survive, but the players may team-up or fight each other. Players must keep up their health, food and water, and radiation levels. Radiation damage can be obtained from getting hit by zombies or entering "deadzones" without proper hazmat protection. The game's multiplayer option has created a platform for multiple kinds of gameplay, such as survival, roleplay, creative, paintball and battle royale style arena matches, similar to Roblox, where Nelson first started his development career.

The game consists of several permanent maps: Washington, PEI, Yukon, Germany, Greece, Russia, Hawaii and Cyprus Survival are all single player compatible survival maps. The latter 4 were developed by teams of developers more recently, and contain new additions like quests, a storyline, NPCs, and more Easter eggs to discover. Also in the game are Festive PEI, Festive Russia, and Halloween PEI, which gave certain maps holiday themes. There are also six arena maps available: Alpha Valley, Monolith, Paintball Arena, Washington Arena, PEI Arena, and Cyprus Arena.

Arena game mode is for multiplayer only. Players are spawned in the middle of a map with supplies and weapons scattered around. The winner is the last person, or the last team, alive. Players may die due to being slain by other players or by crossing the boundaries of the map. The game will also spawn helpful items like armor, attachments for guns, and the 3 types of health items. These items are essential, as the game has an intense bleeding out mechanic that can finish a player without medical supplies. The game will also spawn vehicles, which can enable players to avoid the border or roadkill other players. The arena mode grants a massive advantage to teams in arena mode. Since there is no separated solo/squad modes, solo players will be up against teams who can aid each other. The game does not require teams to fight each other, so multiple players can win. Players who want to make a team must join a shared Steam group. Arena maps also contain hidden easter eggs and secret spots, which can aid the player in battle. In Alpha Valley, the most popular map, there is the game's 2nd most powerful sniper hidden in the lake, and a helmet and vest stashed in a washing machine and in the park.

Horde game mode is a multiplayer mode previously available in its beta stage. While it can be acquired through the use of the Steam Workshop, it is otherwise currently unavailable. In this game mode, players fight off waves of zombies and the points collected by the player can be spent at buy nodes. The player cannot die due to starvation or thirst in this game mode.

The game contains no currency but has a cosmetic system. After playing, the game has a chance to give players a cosmetic item, like clothing or effects for their character, or camouflage or skins for weapons. Players can purchase keys and cases from the steam market for $0.99 to get a random skin, or buy pre-selected skins for a higher price. Items can be sold on the Steam market to other players for Steam credit.

The game's story is spread out across all of its official maps. On the Russia map, players have a quest to hunt for the legendary Shadowstalker Mk. II weapon. On that quest, players will be transported to a lab. The lab appears to be in complete disarray, with bloodstains on the walls and floors, and tubes containing zombies. The scene is brief, and quite unrevealing. It is assumed that this lab was ground zero for the start of the outbreak. The origin and the cause of the outbreak is still unknown, but the game hints that it was some sort of scientific accident. It is unknown how long the outbreak has been going on at the start of the game. The player is introduced as one of the few survivors, hence the name of the game, 'Unturned'. The player can help the Coalition, the organization fighting the outbreak and locating survivors. The player can take quests to help the Coalition, but as the game has no true campaign, no move is made to get rid of or cure the outbreak. In singleplayer, there are no other players or NPCs except for in designated Coalition "safezones."


Unturned was developed by Nelson Sexton from Calgary, Canada.[3] Sexton started his career with Roblox, creating two of the most-popular games on the Roblox site, Battlefield and Deadzone.[3] Deadzone was a zombie-survival game similar to Unturned and is no longer available to play. Nelson was only sixteen years old at the time of Unturned's first release. Before Unturned was on Steam, it was played on web-browsers and was listed as Unturned 1.0. This version of the game is also no longer available to play. Unturned was originally listed under Steam Greenlight as Unturned 2.0.[4] It was successfully voted in by the Steam community on May 28, 2014. Unturned allows players to create custom maps, cosmetics and mods using an in-game editor, and allows them to publish these maps on the Steam Workshop.[5][6]

On November 22, 2016, Nelson created a post titled "Postcard from Hawaii" on the official blog for his company, Smartly Dressed Games. He stated that a team of community mappers are working on a new Hawaii map.[7]

On June 30, 2017, Nelson uploaded a teaser trailer on Smartly Dressed Games' YouTube channel for a new Germany map. It boasts locations such as large cities, farms, a quarry and a space shuttle launch center. The game was officially released out of early access on July 7, 2017.[8]


According to gaming website Kotaku, Unturned was one of the most-popular games on Steam in mid-2014.[9] Both Kotaku and Rock, Paper, Shotgun characterized the game's popularity as unexpected, since the game is mainly developed by a single person without a major studio's resources.[9][10] PC Gamer said that while Unturned had few real ideas on its own, it was a "simple, accessible survival-simulator" that players may enjoy provided they could "stomach the low production values".[11]


  1. ^ Winkie, Luke. "Unturned: how a survival game made by a 16-year-old racked up 24 million downloads". PC Gamer. 
  2. ^ Nelson Sexton Leon Schantz (2015-07-12). "August Plans". Smart Dressed Games. Retrieved 2015-07-18. 
  3. ^ a b Fackler, Alan. "From ROBLOX Game Dev to Steam Sensation". blog.roblox.com. blog.roblox.com. Retrieved November 21, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Steam Greenlight :: Unturned". steamcommunity.com. Retrieved 2017-05-30. 
  5. ^ Steam Community announcement
  6. ^ "Steam Community :: Unturned". steamcommunity.com. Retrieved 2016-12-29. 
  7. ^ blog post at Smartly Dressed Games
  8. ^ " Update Notes". steamcommunity.com. Retrieved 8 July 2017. 
  9. ^ a b Hernandez, Patricia (2014-07-10). "The Story Behind Unturned, One Of Steam's Newest Top Games". Kotaku. Retrieved 2016-12-23. 
  10. ^ Smith, Graham (10 July 2014). "Unturned: Minecraft Meets DayZ Meets Huge Popularity". Rock Paper Shotgun. Retrieved 9 January 2017. 
  11. ^ Kelly, Andy (2014-07-17). "Unturned review (Early Access)". PC Gamer. Retrieved 2014-08-02.