I distrust older people too. Luckily, at my age, there aren't many of them.

Five Alive – Zafehouse Diaries 2 In Development

Zombies, you say? Aren’t they incredibly played out at this point? What’s left to say on the shambling hordes? If The Walking Dead is anything to go by, very [insert meandering mid-season break] little. But that doesn’t mean people aren’t getting creative in siphoning that near-empty pop-culture tank. Enter Screwfly Studios, rolling up the sequel sleeves and continuing to develop their distinct brand of strategy in Zafehouse Diaries 2.

Screwfly Studios have a very narrow focus. Zafehouse Diaries, Deadnaut and Fear Equation all share the common theme of examining human interaction under stress. 2014’s Deadnaut was my game of the year; perhaps the best ALIENS game we’ve ever received. It was rich, dark and claustrophobic squadder-at-arms-length; the player managing a group of mercenaries as they plumbed the depths of derelict starships in search of data and the crew’s fate. Squadmates developed personalities, camaraderie and inter-personal friction over the course of missions and — in the event of death — their own imperfect resurrection. It was fascinating, and certainly my pick of the litter to illustrate Screwfly’s focal bent.

Zafehoue Diaries 2 is set to continue the scrutiny of apocalyptic pressure-cooker strategy.

Zafehouse Diaries is back! The cult hit from 2012 is now bigger, better and more terrifying than ever. Take control of a group of people – each with their own skills, motivations and prejudices – and try to survive the zombie apocalypse.
  • Every story is unique: Each game is procedurally generated – will your survivors work well together and complete their objectives?
  • Ordinary people, extraordinary situations: Keep your survivors happy and motivated, or they’ll turn on each other.
  • All new engine: Zafehouse Diaries has been upgraded in every way. Full widescreen support, high resolution, a 3D environment and multi-platform support.
  • More of everything: Loads of new items, orders, events, occupations, dilemmas and scenarios.
  • Increased control: Equip your survivors and determine how they defend and breach locations.

We’ve also refined the relationship system so you can have more ways to change survivor interactions. We’ve replaced the rumour system with redemptions – one survivor can do certain tasks to ‘redeem’ themselves in the eyes of another, which removes a prejudice.

At its core, Zafehouse Diaries 2 is the same strategic drama simulator as the original, but it expands on it in every way: added content, upgraded engine, more surprises, more madness.


I hope Screwfly capitalise on what they’ve learned in the last six years. Zafehouse Diaries drew on what I loved so much about Jagged Alliance 2’s inter-squad banter and relationships, and if they can expand this new effort with a little heart, I’m ready to dust off the thematic ennui and shuck shambler fatigue. Keep your finger on this pulse.

Developer diary updates can be found on the Zafehouse Diaries community page, and the developers can be stalked through the End Times on Twitter.

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Notable Replies

  1. Not familiar with any of these, but having spent a few minutes looking at both the first Diaries and Deadnaut, they look really damned interesting.

  2. Yeah, they’re great concepts. Fear Equation wasn’t as successful as it was interesting, but the prior games largely delivered on their promises.

    I still need to give Fear Equation a second look after they added the option to manage a military train.

  3. Pitta says:

    Deadnaut is a must have imho if you like Alien (the original movie) lo-fi.

    It’s hands down one of the best sci-fi/lo-fi games ever imho.
    The athmosphere is incredible and they are truly masters of emergent storytelling.
    I wish they would port it to iPad, with the added tactile feeling of switching panels and pressing buttons.

    I tried asking the devs countless times but they didn’t seem interested or the engine is not portable (I think it could work well on iPad, focusing on one panel per time and switching between them with swipes).

    I don’t play games on PC since many years, Deadnaut being the only notable exception.
    I spent hours and hours reading those cool mission logs.
    Not to mention dying in space.

  4. I dug up Alex’s reviews of all of Screwfly’s games and found myself thinking the same thing. Seems like they’d work great on tablets.

  5. Oh man, that had to be some deft utilisation of the Wayback Machine. Old site containing my Deadnaut waffle is sunk. But what a game. And yeah, would have been great on tablets. I don’t much play on them these days, but it certainly makes sense.

  6. Humbled you dug them out. :sweat_smile:

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