Thanks to Hollywood, comic books, and endless TV series, zombie apocalypses have not only been popularized; they’ve been normalized. In fact, these types of end-days scenarios are broadcasted through media so frequently that we’ve almost grown to expect them to become reality – especially now that they’ve become such a popular theme in video games.
Nowadays, zombie survival games are a dime a dozen, and as you’d expect, some are a whole better than others – and DayZ is one of the best. Released in 2019, it was an instant hit. If you’re a fan of the game, if it left you wanting for more after you completed it, you might be looking for similar alternatives. Fortunately, there are some great options.
Below, you’ll find a list of 15 open world survival games – with and without zombies – that are similar to DayZ.
DayZ Game Features
|Release Date:||December 13, 2018|
|Platforms:||Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, PlayStation 4|
| Game Modes:||Multiplayer|
1. Dead Frontier
A free-to-play browser-based co-op survival horror game, Dead Frontier is the first title on our list of video games that are similar to DayZ. It was published in 2008 by Creak Corpse. In order to play, you’ll need to sign up and create a free account. Once you’ve created your account, you’ll be able to access a variety of features and interact with other players.
Once you’re all set up, you’ll be able to create your own unique character from scratch, which you need to do in order to play. After you’ve developed your character, you’ll be dropped into Fairview City, a post-apocalyptic setting that is crawling with zombies.
To combat the brain-eating monsters, you’ll need to work with other players online. You’ll also need to select an occupation for your character, which will let you acquire resources that you can use to purchase more advanced weapons and better armor (known as “drugs”)
The action, adventure, setting, characters, and gameplay is a lot like DayZ, so if you’re a fan of DayZ, you’re sure to be a fan of Dead Frontier.
2. State of Decay
An action-adventure survivor horror game, State of Decay was developed by Undead Labs and Microsoft Studios published the title in 2013.
Survival is the main objective in State of Decay, and in order to do that, you’ll need to recruit other people to live in your town and mange resources while creating and maintaining alliances with other characters.
When it comes to the game’s progression, you have two options: you can follow the storyline that the developers created or you can engage in specific activities that will maintain and ensure the survival of yourself and your community.
Whichever direction you take, at different points, you’ll be given the chance to decide if you want to bring survivors from the outside world into your community.
Additionally, State of Decay also gives you the option to create a base anywhere on the map, and then maintain your town’s resources so that it can continue to grow, survive, and thrive.
3. Dead Island
Another open-world survival horror game, Techland developed and Deep Silver published Dead Island in 2011. Similar to other titles on this list, in the game, you’re dropped into a world that has been overwrought with zombies.
In order to survive, you’ll need to craft items and use them to upgrade your weapons so that you can better defend yourself.
That said, however, for much of the start of the game, you won’t have a lot that you can really call weapons, as close range combat is the main emphasis of the game, and in order to do that, melee weapons are used.
As you move through the game, you’ll need to maintain your character’s stamina, which you can keep track of on a stamina bar.
Every action you take, your stamina will be depleted and in order to regenerate the stamina you’ve lost, you’ll have to remain quite.
Once your stamina has built back up, you can continue playing. There’s a XP-based leveling system in which each activity offers a certain amount of XP. Each time you level up, your attributes will get a small increase, and you’ll get one skill point that you can spend.
You can upgrade our weapons to boost your states and the majority of weapons can be modified to suit your needs.
If you like DayZ, then we strongly recommend checking out Dead Island, as it’s a great alternative.
If the survival element of DayZ appealed to you, then H1Z1 is a great alternative for you. It’s a battle royal-style game in which you can play against other online players via an open map that’s a lot like PUBG.
After you parachute down into the map, you’ll get to pick from a variety of survival modes; however, it’s important to note that looting is perhaps one of the most important methods you can choose. In the start of the game, you’ll have to search around for loot, and some areas in the map offer better loot than others.
Of course, these areas are popular among established players, which means that you’re bound to encounter them and will need to combat them.
After you’ve stocked up on your basic loot, you’ll be able to start actively hunting for other players, who you can take out and loot.
Alternatively, you can take cover in the map, and sit back while other players take each other out. As you proceed, the map will get shorter and shorter.
That’s because a cloud of noxious gas closes in on the map, and the gas causes serious damage to the players that are stuck in the areas that it spreads over.
H1Z1 was developed by NantG and published by Daybreak Game Company in 2018. It’s totally free to play on PS4 and Windows PC. An Xboc One port is being developed.
5. Dead Rising 3
The third installment in the Dead Rising series, Dead Rising 3 was developed by Capcom and published by Microsoft in collaboration with Capcom in 2013 for Xbox One and Microsoft Windows systems. It has an in-depth campaign that two people can play in co-op mode.
Dead Rising 3 is set in a wide open world that’s supposedly bigger than the worlds featured in both Dead Rising 1 and Dead Rising 2 together.
Dead Rising 3’s gameplay is quite different than DayZ; however, the setting is similar, which is why we think it’s a great alternative, because if you’re a fan of the game, it will definitely feel familiar to you.
The majority of Dead Rising 3’s gameplay is centered on you traveling through the open world while you’re searching for weapons and upgrades that you can use to increase your chances of survival.
It has the Kinect feature, too, so the zombies and the AI that powers them are more alert to your current condition when you approach them, as well as any loud sounds that you might make.
Another great alternative to DayZ for those who were fans of the game’s survival element is Scum. This survival game features a super-realistic setting, so you’ll feel like you’re really immersed in it.
You’ll need to craft items, which you’ll use to survive in the open world that surrounds you. You’ll play as a prisoner who has nothing but the clothes on his back and the world at his disposal.
As mentioned, the game is super-realistic. As you play, you’ll need to maintain a well-balanced diet that is comprised of essential vitamins, proteins, and nutrients, in order to maintain your body type and your overall health.
The food you eat will have a direct impact on the character; if you make the wrong selections, you might end up gaining weight, which can negatively impact your stamina, and if you make the right food choices, you’ll remain slender and your stamina will remain high.
Scum’s looting system is very diversified, which means that the creation and crafting options are virtually endless. It isn’t all grim and gritty realism, however; there are some pretty funny parts in the gameplay, largely due to the realistic stetting.
For instance, in addition to maintaining your diet, you’ll also need to manage your bowel movements, too, and if you don’t eliminate your waste before a certain time, your character will start eliminating it automatically – completely unaware of what’s coming out of your bottom as you’re being chased by a big old mech.
This adds to the game’s realism, but obviously, it’s also pretty dang funny. Of course, Scum features plenty of zombies, too!
7. Project Zomboid
Another open-world survival horror game, Project Zomboid was developed and published by Indie Stone. It’s in development with the most recent built or patch, referred to as Build 34, which was recently released.
There was a major setbacks in the game’s development, as two laptops that contained the game’s source code were stolen. Nevertheless, the team was able to continue developing the game via regular updates that they were released on Steam. Build 34 was considered a stable and more refined rendition of the patch in development.
Surviving as long as you possibly can in a world that is infested with zombies, known as Knox County, is the goal of the game.
You’ll have to hunt and scavenge for the resources that you’ll need in order to survive, just like you have to in DayZ. There are a lot of other elements in the game that are similar to DayZ, which is why we think it’s a great alternative.
8. Days Gone
Developed by Bend Studio and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment, Days Gone is yet another great alternative to DayZ.
Given the fact that it takes place two years after a worldwide pandemic has decimated society, and the main character, a bounty hunter named Deacon St. John, has to figure out how he’s going to survive in the wilderness, it’s also eerily reminiscent to what we’ve experienced in real life since 2020 (we sure hope that surviving in the wilderness isn’t on the horizon!).
The story takes place in the Oregon wilderness in a post-apocalyptic world. As Deacon strives to survive, he encounters pathways that had long been forgotten, highways that have been abandoned since society has been decimated, and the stunning views of nature that he (and probably a lot of us) have forgotten to appreciate.
As you’d expect in a zombie survival game, Deacon encounters rabid zombies known as “Freakers” that have taken up residence in the forest.
One of the most notable elements of Days Gone is the complex ecosystem that it features. Like the main character you’ll be playing as, every other creature in the game is trying to survive, too. The animals are hungry and thirsty and they’re searching for food and water.
Some of the animals are meek and will run off, but others are aggressive and as you come across them, they may decide to attack you as they attempt to turn you into food.
If you liked the DayZ’s setting and atmosphere but you’re looking for something that’s a little more story-driven, then chances are you’re going to like Days Gone.
9. Fallout 76
Remembered for its launch, which was one of the worst ever in the history of video games. Fallout 76 has had a lot of updates and has been greatly transformed over the years, and now, it’s a great game – and a great alternative to DayZ.
It was developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks, the updates that the game has undergone have turned it into what fans of DayZ expected when it first came out.
One of the biggest complaints that players had with Fallout 76 was that it lacked NPCs. Fortunately, that issue was fixed with the One Wasteland update, and now, the massive map features some life.
With the addition of quest-giving characters and NPCs that you can trade with, you’ll feel like you have more purpose as you wander through the map.
This update scaled down the multiplayer element of the game, too. Now, you can take hours doing a wide-range of things, like completing quests, taking in the sights, or building bases.
You’ll rarely see any other humans as you go, so when you do, those encounters will be unpredictable and will have more meaning; they’ll feel more dangerous, as well.
Thanks to the solo-multiplayer style of the gameplay with long spans of time scavenging as you travel the map and only the occasional encounter with other humans make Fallout 76 feel a lot like DayZ.
In our opinion, Miscreated is an unappreciated gem and doesn’t get the recognition that it should. We also think that it may be the game that’s most similar to DayZ on this list.
Miscreated was developed and published by Entrada Interactive, LLC. It takes place in the year 2089 after civilization collapsed and the majority of the humans that remain have been transformed into mutants from the fallout of nuclear war.
You’ll start the game by spawning into a quaint suburban town that features abandoned houses surrounded by a dense forest. From concealed caves to hidden bunkers, there are lots of new things to discover in the woods.
Out in the distance lie big cities, which have become extremely dangerous in the post-apocalyptic world, as they’ve been overrun by the undead, yet they are brimming with tons of gear and invaluable resources, so you’ll not only need to figure out how to reach them, but how to navigate through them so that you can find and collect the gear and resources you’ll need and come out alive.
You’ll encounter a tiny, yet mighty community of players who will offer a helping hand if you get lost in the large, meandering map as you travel; that said, however, there’s also a chance that one of the players might pull out a gun on you too.
You can create bases using the materials that you collect, complete with fortified walls and weapons caches. Creating you own oasis where you can not only survive, but where you can thrive, in Miscreated is a whole lot of fun.
Just make sure that you remain aware of the gangs of looters that roam about the countryside on their quest for goods and food.
While it lacks the hordes of hungry zombies like DayZ (well, no longer, anyway) Rust is a great alternative. This open-world sandbox came was developed and published by Facepunch Studios and it has a focus on the PvP experience, which takes a back-to-basics survival approach.
When you first get started, you’ll span at a random area on a server, with nothing more than a pair of underwear and your fists (though if you have the nudity setting turned on, when you spawn, you’ll be in the buff).
When you first get started, you’ll collect rocks and you’ll use them to smash trees that you can gather as wood. If you remain alive for long enough, you’ll be able to construct big buildings from metal and stone.
Surviving is the tough part, as the majority of players will shoot on sight. As such, staying away from others whenever you can is in your best interest.
If you’ve successfully escaped the attention of groups of other players while they’re out hunting for new blood that they can steal resources from, you’ll still have to content with wild animals, like boars and bears. Players can kill, cook and eat the flesh of other humans, too.
In Valheim, which was developed by Iron Gate Studio and published by Coffee Stain Publish, you and as many as nine players will be cast into a strange world that’s known as “Valheim”.
In this world, you’ll need to build shelter, search for food, and combat – and beat – several super-powered bosses in order to prove to the gods that you are worthy of earning a spot in Valhalla.
While it’s a sandbox, Valheim’s gameplay does adhere to the standard progression of beating bosses so that you can move up to the next region.
The world, which is procedurally-generated, is divided into multiple biomes, and each one has its own unique environment and wildlife that you’ll need to overcome.
As you play, you’ll need to collect materials and make new weapons to enhance your combat abilities and assist you with finding, summoning, and beating bosses.
A trendy-ish survival-style game with a mega map that’s split into unique biomes, if you liked DayZ, you’re sure to enjoy Hurtworld. In each biome, you’ll meet new wildlife and find new resources that you can utilize in order to build gear and weapons.
The game starts in the Earth biome, which is basically a safe starter zone that’s loaded with a few resources and lots of animals that you can hunt for food.
As you progress into new biomes, you’ll encounter more severe environments, such as frozen tundras and scorching deserts. In each biome, you’ll have to make clothing that will correspond with the weather and secure lots of food and water before you’ll be able to travel to new locations.
The map in this game is massive, but there are lots of vehicles that you can use to travel across it. Keep in mind, however, that driving will attract tons of attention; but, you can add armor to your vehicles to make them more robust so that they can withstand bombs and bullets. You’ll also be able to load up your vehicle with resources and take them with you as you travel.
14. The Forest
Wrapping up our list of games like DayZ is The Forest. This survival horror game challenges your conscious, as it puts the good guys against the bad guys, while also making you question the traits of the good guys vs the bad guys.
Stranded in a forest after a plane crash, you’ll wake up to cannibals stealing your son. From there, The Forest is similar to other survival horror titles.
You’ll need to determine if the cannibals are aggressive for practicing their rituals or if you’re the bad guy who has trespassed on their sacred land.
If you’re a fan of DayZ and you’re looking to find other titles that are similar, the 15 games on this list will be sure to please. They’re packed with action, adventure, and plenty of jump scares that you’ll certainly find entertaining and that will leave you wanting to play more.