How H1Z1 takes an internet hoax and makes it real

H1Z1 may sound like the latest in a long list of survival horror games centered around the zombie apocalypse, but Sony Online Entertainment is doing its best to make its MMO stand out from the crowd. One way in which the studio is helping flesh out its H1Z1 world is through the addition of a rich new lore, a story that's loosely based on the real story of the blighted island of Poveglia, a place Mental Floss refers to as "the most haunted island in the world."

"Poveglia is one of a group of islands with fortifications built during the early Middle Ages," Tony Jones told Shacknews. "Later on, once Venice started falling from power, it became less important to control the waterways, so they used those as stations where ships had to stop and be checked for the Plague. So what it turned into was a place where they took Plague victims to die. It's estimated that over 160,000 people died from the Plague on this island."

Poveglia's story does not end in the Middle Ages. Jones adds that centuries later, the island became home to a mental institution, in which undesirables would be sent to live the rest of their days. Jones and the rest of the H1Z1 team saw Poveglia as a ripe source of material for their game's narrative. In addition to using aspects of Poveglia's history, the team also decided to expand on the very real H1Z1 hoax of 2009.

"There was an internet hoax in 2009 called H1Z1," Jones explained. "The pig swine flu had mutated and become necrotic and it started affecting and raising the dead. There were a number of reports from Cambodia, Mexico, and Malaysia and the hoax got so big that the Center for Disease Control actually had to acknowledge the H1Z1 story. The hoax had spread quicker than the H1N1 virus. So it's our allegation that the H1Z1 wasn't a hoax."

SOE further expanded on their upcoming narrative's game on Thursday with a special two-hour stream, centered around a series of radio broadcasts called Survivor Radio. To learn more about the history of H1Z1, its world, its characters, and the killer virus, check out the full broadcast below.

H1Z1 is coming to PC and is expected to enter Steam Early Access soon.