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World War Z (2019 video game)

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World War Z
Developer(s)Saber Interactive
Publisher(s)Saber Interactive[a]
  • Dmitriy Grigorenko
  • Oliver Hollis-Leick
  • Alexandr Ermakov
  • Alexey Tkachev
  • Anatolii Koruka
  • Pavel Ryazantsev
  • Sergei Danchenko
Artist(s)Petr Kudryashov
Composer(s)Steve Molitz[1]
  • Windows, PS4, Xbox One
  • 16 April 2019
  • Nintendo Switch
    2 November 2021
  • Google Stadia
    5 April 2022
    PS5, Xbox Series X/S
    24 January 2023
Genre(s)Third-person shooter, first-person shooter
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

World War Z is a third-person shooter video game developed and published by Saber Interactive. It was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on 16 April 2019, and a Nintendo Switch version was released on 2 November 2021. It was also released for Google Stadia on 5 April 2022. Ports for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S released on 24 January 2023. Loosely based on the 2006 novel of the same name and set in the same universe as the 2013 film adaptation, the game follows groups of four survivors of a zombie apocalypse in the cities of New York, Jerusalem, Moscow, Tokyo, Marseille, Rome, Kamchatka and Phoenix.



The game is a co-operative third-person shooter in which four players fight against massive hordes of zombies in seven locations, including New York, Jerusalem, Moscow, Tokyo, Marseille, Rome and Kamchatka.[2]

Players can choose from eight classes: the Gunslinger (specializes in range), the Hellraiser (specializes in explosives), the Fixer (engineer), the Medic (healer), the Slasher (specializes in melee), the Exterminator (specializes in crowd control), the Dronemaster (support) and Vanguard (defense). New perks can be unlocked for each class as players continue progressing in the game.[3]

The game can support up to 1,000 enemies appearing on-screen simultaneously, and they can climb onto each other to reach players on a higher level. Players can collect different items in the battlefield, but their locations are procedurally generated.[4] In addition to fighting zombies, players also need to complete different objectives, such as escorting survivors, in each location.[5]

Each location, or episode as it is known in-game, is divided into 3-5 individual levels. After completing a level, players receive "supplies" based on a resulting defeat or victory. Supplies can be used to upgrade weapons and unlock new attachments. Aforementioned perks can also be bought for specific classes using supplies.

The game features five competitive multiplayer modes. The Player vs Player vs Zombie mode pits two teams of players against each other while the zombie hordes attack both teams[6]

Game Modes


Co-op Campaign (PvE)

  • New York

A group of survivors fail to reach an evacuation point set up by the U.S. Army and are forced to fight their way back down to the streets. They are soon contacted by another group of survivors, who have procured a subway train that will take them to another evacuation site. The group manages to reach the train and help prepare it for departure while fighting off swarms of zombies trying to overrun them. Although they manage to get the train started, they are stopped by a sealed door that was previously guarded by other survivors who were supposed to open it upon their arrival. After opening the sealed door, the group fights their way to the last Army evacuation site but finds all the ships have left and the remaining soldiers and survivors have been killed. Finding a boat attached to a winch, the group desperately tries to bring it ashore as their last chance of escape while fighting off a massive zombie horde. After boarding the boat, the survivors leave New York. Somewhere along the way, however, the boat runs out of fuel and the survivors are once again left stranded in a zombie-infested town. They eventually come across another evacuation site still occupied by the Army and full of wounded civilians. With the help of a gunship, the group desperately tries to defend the site under siege from multiple hordes as the soldiers evacuate the civilians. Things take a turn for the better when the Air Force arrives and destroys the remaining hordes, allowing everyone else to escape via helicopters.

  • Jerusalem

A group of IDF soldiers and a photojournalist are tasked with rescuing a scientist whom high command regards as crucial in putting an end to the zombie epidemic. The group manages to rescue the scientist, who reveals that he was part of a team developing an experimental orbital particle cannon that can be used to wipe out large swarms of zombies in a single shot. They escort the scientist to the facility where the weapon can be fired and manage to protect him long enough to activate the weapon and escape. While flying away from the facility, the group witnesses the devastating firepower of the cannon, which wipes out a large zombie swarm which overruns the facility.

  • Moscow

A group of survivors searching for food and other supplies witnesses the crash of a military helicopter and moves in to save anyone who survived. When they reach the crash site, they find only one survivor, a female Russian Army officer, and fight off a massive swarm that attempts to overrun the crash site. After fending off the zombies, the officer enlists the group's help in activating a deadly nerve agent throughout Moscow that is lethal to both humans and zombies. The plan is to evacuate any survivors in the city and kill all of the zombies, but the nerve agent will leave Moscow uninhabitable for six months. After sending out a signal to warn all survivors to evacuate before the nerve agent is released, the group infiltrate a secret facility where the nerve agent can be released. They successfully release it throughout Moscow, killing all of the zombies in the city. Five days after being stranded in the bunker, the group believes they have been abandoned, but re-establish a connection with the officer who tells them to gas the tunnels to kill off the zombies hiding inside. Soon after, the Russian Army arrives and evacuates the group from the station as it is being attacked by multiple zombie hordes.

  • Tokyo

Following the outbreak, the entirety of Japan is being evacuated. A volunteer rescue team finishes a final check for survivors in the city and assists in escorting a bus of survivors to a military checkpoint. The team is then tasked with assisting the JSDF in defending a large cruise ship, the only remaining evacuation transport. The team manages to hold off a massive swarm by destroying a large fuel facility that acts as a wall of fire and manage to reach the cruise ship in time as it departs Japan. However, some infected have gotten aboard due to rushed screening operations, leaving the ship in danger of being overrun as the infection spreads. The team assists the onboard military forces in repelling and ultimately eliminating the infected from the ship. Though they have abandoned their country, the team hold hope that they will one day return to reclaim their land.

  • Marseille

With one of the largest zombie hordes in Europe headed straight for Marseille, four members of the French Resistance battle their way through the streets to obtain weapons and medicine before it arrives. They soon learn that a missile battery set up in Fort Niolon across the bay has gone dark, depriving the area of its much needed firepower required to stop the horde. Volunteering to investigate, the group finally arrives at the fort after fighting through a town and a factory. There, they find survivors holed up in a fortified building, and a giant swarm of zombies climbing up the hill toward their position. With no time to lose, the group is forced to commandeer the battery in order to stop the swarm. Using missile launchers to trigger avalanches that halt the swarm, they eventually succeed in lifting the siege, and returns to Marseille upon learning that the city is under attack. Rallying at Fort Saint-Jean, the group stages a final stand against the horde as night approaches, setting up fire moats and sealing breaches along the way. Overwhelmed and outnumbered, they struggle to contact Fort Niolon as their radios are disabled in the attack. They eventually signal the battery with a flare gun, who respond with a missile barrage that obliterates much of the horde, thereby saving the city.

Multiplayer (PvPvZ)


A maximum of eight players divided into two teams compete in a campaign.

  • Swarm Deathmatch
  • Swarm Domination
  • King of the Hill
  • Scavenge Raid
  • Vaccine Hunt



Approximately 100 people of Saber Interactive worked on the game. The studio decided to use the World War Z license for the game as they felt that there were too many risks involved in marketing a brand new intellectual property. Matt Karch, CEO of Saber Interactive, described the game as the combination of both the 2013 film and the 2006 novel. Gerry Lane, the character played by Brad Pitt from the 2013 film, does not appear in the game as the team opted to include multiple survivors who have their own stories. The team took inspiration from The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay when they were exploring how they could incorporate elements from the film and the book into the game. Left 4 Dead also inspired the developer when they were crafting the game's gameplay.[7] A proprietary game engine named the Swarm Engine was used to power the game and render the huge zombie hordes.[8][9] The Swarm Engine is purposefully built to handle up to 500 zombies on the screen at one time.[10]

The game was announced at The Game Awards 2017.[11] The game was released on 19 April 2019 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.[2] Focus Home Interactive and Mad Dog Games served as the title's distributor. It was also an Epic Games Store exclusive.[12] Saber planned to support the game by introducing more episodes, characters, settings, and competitive game modes, after the game's launch.[3]

Post-release content


World War Z is supported with regular updates, patches, new episodes including major content for horde mode and hub fixed, most of them being free.

A Game of the Year Edition of the game was released on 5 May 2020, and includes new weapon and character packs, a new three-mission PvE episode set in Marseille, France, as well as all previously released downloadable content. Alongside the reveal of the Game of the Year Edition, a Nintendo Switch port was announced. Matt Karch, the CEO of developer Saber Interactive, called getting the game to run on Nintendo's console "the hardest thing that we have had to do".[13] It was released on 2 November 2021.[14]

An upgraded version of the game titled Aftermath, which includes the Game of the Year Edition and introduces three new locations (Marseille, Rome, and the Kamchatka peninsula in Russia), new characters, a revamped melee system and a first-person mode, was released on 21 September 2021.[15][16]



According to review aggregator Metacritic, the game received "mixed or average reviews" from critics.[17][18] Game Informer compared it to Left 4 Dead series and praised its shooting mechanics, visuals and story, but criticized its soundtrack and lack of non-vocal player interactions.[22]

It was the best-selling retail game in the UK in its week of release.[25] As of 23 April 2019, more than 1 million units of the game have been sold.[26] It sold almost 2 million copies in the first month after the release.[27][28] In Japan, the PlayStation 4 version of World War Z sold 27,872 copies within its first week of release in September 2019, placing it at number seven on the all format video game sales chart.[29]

As of October 2019, more than 3 million units have been sold.[30]


  1. ^ The game was formerly published by Focus Home Interactive and Mad Dog Games.
  1. ^ Steve Molitz [@stevemolitz] (19 April 2019). "It was an absolute thrill to compose the World War Z soundtrack..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  2. ^ a b Vincent, Brittany (12 April 2019). "World War Z trailer teases April release date & zombie chaos". Shacknews. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  3. ^ a b Bertz, Matt (29 March 2019). "Six Things To Know About World War Z". Game Informer. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  4. ^ Takhashi, Dean (15 April 2019). "World War Z hands-on — More to do than just shooting zombie swarms". VentureBeat. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  5. ^ "World War Z's unscripted online co-op pits you against 1000 zombies that are like repelling 'swarms of flesh eating ants'". GamesRadar. 15 March 2018. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  6. ^ James, Sarah (8 February 2019). "World War Z trailer reveals 'PvPvZ' multiplayer". PC Gamer. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  7. ^ Takahashi, Dean (26 December 2018). "How World War Z will pick up where Left 4 Dead left us stranded". VentureBeat. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  8. ^ Ashaari, Alleef (20 August 2018). "World War Z Game Release Date Period Confirmed, Coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC in 2019". GameRevolution. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  9. ^ Lemon, Marshall (20 August 2018). "World War Z trailer shows off terrifyingly huge zombie hordes". VG247. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  10. ^ Bertz, Matt (29 March 2019). "Six Things To Know About World War Z". Game Informer. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  11. ^ Concepcion, Miguel (7 December 2017). "World War Z Game Announced At The 2017 Game Awards". GameSpot. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  12. ^ Chalk, Andy (19 February 2019). "World War Z studio says Epic exclusivity 'is the best deal for players and developers'". PC Gamer. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  13. ^ McCaffrey, Ryan (15 April 2020). "World War Z Gets New Content in GOTY Edition, Nintendo Switch Version Announced". IGN. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  14. ^ Wales, Matt (9 September 2021). "Co-op zombie shooter World War Z is heading to Switch this November". Eurogamer.
  15. ^ Purslow, Matt (13 June 2021). "World War Z: Aftermath Announced – IGN Expo". IGN. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  16. ^ Borthwick, Ben (3 August 2021). "World War Z: Aftermath expansion releases this September on Xbox One & PS4". VideoGamer.com. Retrieved 8 September 2021.
  17. ^ a b "World War Z for PC Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  18. ^ a b "World War Z for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  19. ^ "World War Z for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  20. ^ "World War Z for Switch Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  21. ^ McClusky, Kevin (19 April 2019). "Review: World War Z". Destructoid. Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  22. ^ a b Hilliard, Kyle (19 April 2019). "World War Z Review – Toppling Expectations". Game Informer. Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  23. ^ daFrans (19 April 2019). "Test de World War Z par jeuxvideo.com". Jeuxvideo.com. Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  24. ^ Croft, Liam (20 April 2019). "World War Z Review (PS4)". Push Square. Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  25. ^ Dayus, Oscar (24 April 2019). "Top 10 UK Games Chart: World War Z Takes No.1 In Debut Week". GameSpot. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  26. ^ Makuch, Eddie (23 April 2019). "World War Z Sells 1 Million Copies In First Week". GameSpot. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  27. ^ "World War Z nears 2 million units sold in one month". Gamasutra. 21 May 2019.
  28. ^ Blake, Vikki (21 May 2019). "World War Z sells almost 2 million copies in its opening month". MCV/Develop. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  29. ^ Romano, Sal (2 October 2019). "Famitsu Sales: 9/23/19 – 9/29/19". Gematsu. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  30. ^ Valentine, Rebekah (18 October 2019). "Saber Interactive acquires Bigmoon Entertainment". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 18 April 2020.