The Black Death is a dark multiplayer survival game set during a plague-ridden medieval era.
User reviews:
Mixed (32 reviews) - 56% of the 32 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Mixed (549 reviews) - 60% of the 549 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Apr 19, 2016

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Early Access Game

Get instant access and start playing; get involved with this game as it develops.

Note: This Early Access game is not complete and may or may not change further. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you should wait to see if the game progresses further in development. Learn more

What the developers have to say:

Why Early Access?

“We have brought The Black Death to the Early Access community because we want players to join us in shaping this new medieval role-playing experience that offers a unique take on survival. As a multiplayer game, continuous community feedback is vital for us to enhance and evolve the strong foundations that we have built. This is your chance to get involved. Those who choose to take part in the Early Access scheme should expect bugs and potentially game-breaking issues, but can look forward to a dramatic and rapidly evolving simulation of medieval life.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

“We anticipate that a full release of The Black Death will be ready in 8-12 months. This will allow us to act on invaluable community feedback, add and extend features, improve performance and fix bugs.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

“The full release version of The Black Death will include a whole host of features, many of which we have already begun work on. Server stability is a big focus for us, and testing through Early Access should allow us to incorporate an even more dense population and thriving world without sacrificing performance. The full release will have more playable professions and an increase in the size of the playable area and content included within the game.

We have a roadmap for new ideas, such as questing, horse riding and bounty systems, and look forward to working with the community with iterating and including their ideas.”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

The Black Death currently has a strong foundation on which we can continue to build, with core mechanics such as combat, trading, hunger, crafting and plague systems already in place. We have a large Western European themed world, with a range of NPCs, animals, towns, mines, castle ruins and dramatic landscapes, providing an engaging sandbox experience.”

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?

“Yes, the game price will increase after Early Access.”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?

“We have exciting plans for the future of The Black Death and will work actively with the community to gather issues, feedback and ideas to further enhance the game. We’ll continue to provide updates, keeping players informed of changes/improvements through Steam and social media and will work closely with the community to create a roadmap of future features.”
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Recent updates View all (18)

September 22

Dev Blog #12: Introducing weekly community Q&A, EGX here we come!

Originally posted here.

We’re off to EGX

Tomorrow is the big day for the SIG team – EGX 2016! The UK’s biggest gaming event!

If you’re attending come and visit us in the Rezzed zone on the Greenman Gaming stand.

If you're attending on the Thursday make sure to catch our talk live on the Rezzed sessions stage at 13.30 on the topic of Surviving survival: building a community in Early Access :
Steam Early access is overstocked with survival games, but Small Impact Studios launched into it anyway – and The Black Death has built a player base as it approaches release. Small Impact’s Cameron Small, Mitch Small, James Rowbotham and Pete Harries discuss the double edged sword of early access, speaking to a community formed around an un-finished game, world building versus procedural generation, environmental storytelling in a multiplayer setting and planning towards shipping a finished game.

So what are the SIG team excited about at the EGX?

Emily: As this is my first gaming event I am very excited to be attending this years EGX! I cannot wait to see The Black Death on the show floor, I am looking forward to seeing players reactions to the new classes especially the Knight as I know this is going to be my new favourite to play.

Jon: I’m looking forward to seeing people explore the new areas of the game and seeing what they think of them, how they react to some of the new places we’ve been building. I really want to check out Dishonored 2 as well!

Cam: meeting fellow survival fans and showing them the black death and queuing for dawn of war 3 with my fellow space marines!

Pete: For me, it’s seeing people’s reactions to the new professions, I’ve always loved the idea of playing a Knight or an Outlaw in the Black Death. I love how they are directly opposed to each other and how the skills of each profession represent the opposition between them. I think in an open world survival game setting this will lead to some really interesting situations for players! I just can’t make up my mind which to play first…

James: I’m looking forward to checking out the new indie games!

Luc: I’m excited to hear the talk with the dishonored 2 art director Sebastien Mitton. Oh and I’m actually pretty excited about the toy stalls. See if I can find some sweet figures!

Community Questions

As part of our dev blog we’re going to grab a bunch of questions from our community (thank you to our community mods for organizing this!) and get you some answers! Every week! How about that!?

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Steam community: “How much work is actually needed to fix certain bugs/how big is your dev team? For example, fixing storage in houses; is it a simple thing to fix, do you need hours, days, months for things like that?”

SIG: It totally depends on the bug itself. A floating bush can be very quick to fix but sometimes very difficult to actually locate! The example you give of the storage in house – I take this means the fact that storage can be stolen by players server hoping – is more difficult. Firstly there’s multiple ways to fix this issue, for example implementing a system that moves any character that spawns in a house to the outside world. However, we chose to modify our server code as part of a wider update that will introduce multiple new features and tools (see more in our last dev blog). This meant that the workload was substantial, it hinged mainly on programming it did touch on other areas of the game such as UI, because of this it has taken weeks to address. As any big system or feature update there’s a whole bunch of unforeseen issues that can crop up on top of the base work.

Our team is currently 7 strong! With everyone dipping into various areas of the game but a core of 5 people whose primary responsibilities are development, the other 2 people are myself (Pete) and Emily who’s main responsibilities are production, QA and Community focused.

Steam community: “Hai! Are you gonna make the farming really immersive (?): i.e. s***loads of stuff to plant, different ‘crop ready’ times, crops require watering, weeding, crops require intricate fertilizing, etc.- generally simulating the medieval farming process as closely as possible.”

SIG: Hai 2u! Expanding on the farming system is something we definitely want to do. Its a core part of playing the peasant class and lets players play the game it a totally different type of way. More crops and crop ready times are something we are already working on implementing. Watering, weeding and fertilizing are definitely cool ideas!

Steam community: “Do you have any plans for new classes that haven’t been announced?”

SIG: Yes we do 😉

Steam community: “Will it be a dynamic, changing world in the future (events) when the game is released?”

SIG: There are already dynamic events! Currently there are only a few in game but we definitely plan on adding much more. Look out for a hunter who will sell you pelts!

Steam community: “Is the Bug submission link on the main menu the correct way to submit bugs? I have submitted several bugs with no confirmation of receipt OR follow-up. I’ve seen the comment that the devs are normally quick to respond, but I submitted the first bug like 2 or more weeks ago. Am I doing something incorrectly? Is the link on the main menu not working?”

SIG: The community have been excellent with bug submissions, we’ve have thousands since launch! Unfortunately because of this we can’t individually respond to each submission 🙁

As we collect these bug submission forms Emily painstakingly collates them together and filters out any issues we’re already aware of and any duplicates. Once this is done we add them to our bug tracking database – which you can view here! Once the issue is there we can steadily work through what we have to do. I hope that helps clarify the issue!

Survey for players

We’re doing a survey! We want to know all sorts of bits and pieces about your time with The Black Death! It’s only short, so won’t take very long at all and will help us out a HUGE amount! Link below:

Click here to take the survey!

Super charging the Dev Blog

I wanted to add this as a final note on the current state of the dev blog. We’re a bit light on juicy in game details in this particular post but fear not! As we go on I will be gathering tasty bits of info from the team, stealing screenshots from their PCs and generally annoying them until they give me content for the blog so keep an eye on this space – lots of cool content coming!

Until next week!


16 comments Read more

August 31

Dev Blog #10: Community Spotlight!

Hello everyone!

We hope you enjoyed our coverage at Gamescom 2016! The team are well rested and are back hard at work on the next update!

In this community spotlight we will be covering your latest adventures in the land of Mercia.

The Merchant Of Ironhold (Adventures Of Gerald Whitebane)

The adventures of the great Gerald Whitebane continues in the latest instalment where Gerald has been in the monastery for four weeks and makes a decision that could change his path for good...

Adventures Of Uthred The Unlucky

Uthred The Unlucky is back in Mercia for a new journey!

Miniishadow's Fight Night Friday

Steam and Discord user Miniishadow created and hosted their own event in The Black Death on the 26th August called Fight Night, the event took place in The Arena in Raven's Reach, Queen's Province and lasted almost 2 hours!

When everyone had arrived and was seated in the stands Miniishadow assigned everyone a number and explained the rules of the Fight Night. The brave fighters were called out in pairs to the centre of the arena and only one would leave. Miniishadow shoutcast each fight whilst the crowd cheered on the fighters. A hefty sum of gold was rewarded to the winners provided by Miniishadow themselves!

A huge thank you to Miniishadow from the SIG Team for creating and hosting the Fight Night event, we had great fun taking part and cheering you all on, here's to the next Fight Night!

The Twitch link below is a full recording of the event on Miniishadow's Twitch:

Here's where you can find Miniishadow:

Here is SIG_Emily's full recording of the Fight Night event! Stay to the end to see SIG_Kap VS SIG_Emily battling it out in the final fight!

A huge thank you to SurviveThis for writing their news story on Miniishadow's Fight Night community event and to Sascha the head of SurviveThis for attending the event, it was a great surprise!

A big thanks to our community for shaping the world of The Black Death. We enjoy reading your amazing adventures and epic tales of life in Mercia and taking part in community created content.

Thank you for reading,
see you all in Mercia!

3 comments Read more
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“Players are surprisingly helpful in this multiplayer Middle Ages wasteland”
PC Gamer

About This Game

Note on Early Access:

The Black Death will launch on to Steam’s Early Access program. This means the game is still in active development and is liable to change. The Early Access program will not only allow the player enjoy the fantastic gameplay experience that is The Black Death, but will also allow the player to make a real difference to how the game progresses.

The Game:

Welcome to the gritty medieval world of The Black Death. The plague has ravaged Western Europe, leaving a trail of destruction in its path, those who endure struggle against sickness, scarce resources and other desperate survivors.

Choose a realistic medieval profession each with their own way to survive. Enter a huge multiplayer open world set in 14th century western Europe. Explore castles, ports, bandit camps and much more in as you craft, loot and pillage in an epic struggle to survive against the The Black Death itself.

Key Early Access Features:

  • Rich roleplaying combined with medieval era survival.
  • A huge open world (8km2) based in 14th century western Europe. Explore thriving castles, bandit caps, busy ports and abandoned mines
  • Unique medieval professions to choose from. Each with their own way of surviving.
  • A living world with hundreds of NPCs. Bandits, animals, townsfolk, merchants and infected all desperate to survive.
  • 300 in game items. Loot, craft and pillage over 40 different weapons and armour pieces, use medieval tools and utilities, fishing, mining and farming.
  • Unlock new skills and recipes to aid you in your survival.
  • Early Access with regular updates including brand new features!
  • Large scale Multiplayer with up to 50 players per server

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows 7 or Windows 8 (64bit OS)
    • Processor: 2 GHz Dual-Core 64-bit CPU
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: DirectX11 Compatible GPU with 1 GB Video RAM
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Storage: 20 GB available space
    • OS: Windows 7 or Windows 8 (64bit OS)
    • Processor: Quad-core Intel or AMD, 2.5 GHz or faster
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: DirectX11 Compatible GPU with 2 GB Video RAM
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Storage: 20 GB available space
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated Sept. 2016! Learn more
Mixed (32 reviews)
Mixed (549 reviews)
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373 reviews match the filters above ( Mixed)
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
18 of 25 people (72%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
1.2 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: August 30
The idea is great, it really is and I love it. After having played an hour it just feels.. a little lack luster, a little sparse and barren. I felt like I was putting in effort to level, forage and craft without a solid end goal. I expect some lag at 200ms and that's totally doable. I understand it's Early Access but unfortunately I didn't find myself enjoying any aspect of it at this point in time. Will absolutely keep my eye on it and watch it's progress - very keen to see where it will go in the future!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
8 of 9 people (89%) found this review helpful
8.8 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: September 16
Not sure why there is so much hate on this game, so figured some one who played for longer then a hour should say something so here i am.I know how early access games are like, i support many my self so i am very good at waiting witch is what most of the real players of this game are doing right now.I would suggest that you do not buy this game if all you care about is playing a game, this is not a finished product and will have bugs and may not even work properly on every ones computers.I have had a nice experience so far, i play as a peasant so i have tried out the farming aspect of the game during my 8 hours of gameplay.

Had to search for food as you start starving pretty fast, got some seeds from the berry bushes and had to find farm land to plant it at.Found cotton and planted that as well, growth rates are pretty quick so did not take long for me to harvest my stuff.As i played and interacted with berry bushes and cotton plants i noticed it gave me experience points and so i ended up leveling up my farming skills and found my first issue, the weight limit skill did not work witch is not game breaking issue.So i ignored it and continued my farming, sold food etc to merchants for gold i had no idea what to spend on until after exploring for a couple hours i found a town at a river with dead npc bodies all over the place and i noticed that i could buy a small house there.So i bought it using all my money on that only to find out the reason why no one else had bought it, you can not get furniture at the momment so all empty houses like the one i bought are useless.Still not a big issue so i moved on and leveled up most of my skills before getting bored of the lack of things to do.

I had a fun experience doing farming and exploring and even cought the plague, tried out combat and got owned pretty badly until i stole a sword from a guard, the guards then put me down like a dog pretty quickly.My friend then picked up my corpse and cashed in on my bounty and he also grabbed the sword i stole without any problems with the guards.
My friend gave me the sword and i went bandit hunting, stopped pretty early as i got nothing from killing them and continued farming until i decided to wait for some updates before playing again.

As a peasant you can plant seeds,gather resources like iron ore and wood and harvest crops, you get experience from doing so witch will in time level you up and give you skill points.I think you also get experience from just staying alive over time but its been a while since i was online so not 100% sure.
When you die you lose your character but not his skills and any unused skill points will be gone when dying.

My friend was a blacksmith so he crafted stuff, like better tools to help me do my farming, we learned that armor did nothing yet and found little to do other then selling our goods to the town merchant.

Do i recommend people to support this game? Yes i do, this game could become great in two or three years.
Any one experiencing bugs or crashes should report their problems so that the developers can fix them.
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6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
1.1 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: September 19
Well as much as this game deserves negative recommendation feedback, i'm not going to give it for a few reasons. Obvious it's "Early Access" but will it ever really get finished?, i'm seeing a pattern of developers get bored after years of working on a game, and then it just dies...i can't imagine putting all this work into some of these games people make, and then you just give up on it, just unthinkable to me.

Which is why early access is probably a bad idea, developers make money, gamers get disapointed, developers try to bring out updates, gamers still waiting and upset, years go buy, developers still make some money, gamers give up on the game, developers get bored with the game, the "game sits with no players in the servers"...... It does have great potential despite all that, i mean the idea of stealing and people coming after you for it, is just great! More developers should do that in games, it would balance out the problem of high rank players killing low rank people. Weather stealing, or hurting other players, people come after you and label you a criminal and hang you or chase you down and take your weapons lol.... Nice!

That was a plus to me in the idea behind this game. I stole some fish near the end of my journey at a dock i came accross, and sure enough eventually five guys with beheading axes came after me, but never caught me.

The game graphics look pretty good for a survival game, i wouldn't say the "Ultra" setting looks Ultra, but it's still pretty decent for a crafting game of this nature. I love the way the buildings and structures look in this game, some of the best wooden structures i've seen in a medieval game. Plus it feels medieval, no weird things going on like dragons, and really makes you feel like your back at that time.

Now the controls are a whole other issue,....

The probelms, the controls just let me say are not horrible, just very very buggy, and who knows maybe it's my computer with hardware not complying or my keyboard, but every time i open a door or pick something up, i had to wait ten or fifteen seconds before i could move character again... that got to be unplayable eventually. Another big problem, the key layout i spent a good fifteen minutes setting up to fit my way of binding my keys, and none of them saved! Very frustrating, tried it again, and nothing saved. So was forced to try the default key bindings, which was not fun.

So entring the game, about a dozen servers, 50 spots in each server,...and not one person, not even one...was in any server! So,... that was disappointing! Not sure if this game is now dead, and nobody ever plays it anymore, or what but i went in alone, and of course it was empty as could be. I rarely even saw ai players. After checking out a few buildings, i ran for the entire time i was playing to what looked like snow mountains, eating honey along the way, to see how big this map really was, and if those snowy mountains were real, or just backdrops. Eventually i got to an invisible wall, so i'm guessing they were backdrops.

"I recommend the game, just not now" I would'nt exactly buy this game if your expecting to play with other people online, (unless you have a group of your own people) ..but if you want to support the developers and test it out, give it a shot. Hopefully they continue this game, and finish it one day, and i might come back to it. The only problem with games like this losing "Steam", is new games are always coming out.
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
107.5 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: September 24
This game is great if you like the medieval gender but is in EARLY ACCES that means is work in progres and if you are going to buy it and then complain for bugs and small content and guive a bad review, is better you wait for the final realize. The black dead world is well done the grafics are crazy good and the art team they have is really good, the classes are also really nice because is not a tipical fighting game, it has a nice economy and trade sistem between classes but also has militia and knight class for the ones that like fighting. Abaut the world, it is big and i think is just the half or less of the one we will see on final realize and has a really decent city and a lot of small towns and castles. The combat is hard to review because is really early state of the game and they have change it a lot of times and is not close to be finished.
Another thing, this is a survival game so you have to sorvive against mpc's, other players and the black dead it self. Also for people that like kind of zombie games they will add crazy infected population with the black dead that will be hostile.

for now i think this is it. this is a great consept and it has a lot of potential.

sorry is my english is not perfect.
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9 of 15 people (60%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
0.6 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: September 10
It looks good, but plays horribly. Needs tons of improvements in combat and NPC interactions otherwise it will remain in the early access limbo.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.3 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: September 25
A Medieval realistic Game,

The survival it's a good idea with the black plague, it's something logical.

For the moment it's an Early Access, and it's like the start. But the improvement and the objectif of dev it's interesting !

The players are a real impact in this developement, because we will a real impact in game.

A game for buying when some content will be release, for the moment, no too much players in game, because they are waiting new updates.

Fight, Crafting, Housing, Perma Death etc.
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6 of 11 people (55%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.5 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: September 11
Should in no way be in EA yet.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
4 of 8 people (50%) found this review helpful
4.6 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: September 1
This game will be one of the best on the market next year. But only if the developer continue to work like they do now and secondly that more people start playing it.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
3 of 6 people (50%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.4 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: September 19
This is a demo of virtually nothing.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
0.1 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: September 9
Was given a key to this over Keymailer. it's no surprise they're dishing the free keys out, seeing as there was only 4 people online across countless servers; take that as you will.
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Recently Posted
0.7 hrs
Early Access Review
Posted: September 27
I'm going to recommend the game as I like the concept. I like how the different professions work. How important food is (although at the moment it's just plain annoying). The game is in early access of course and it's not a lot of fun at the moment. Feels like you are wandering around an empty server at times. Most of your time is spent scratting for food to keep your hunger down. There seems very little accessible food in the wilderness. I do like the potential of the game and hope it works. It could be a great game in time.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Sir William Smith
10.5 hrs
Early Access Review
Posted: September 26
Really interesting game that has a lot of potential. But like most people playing this game I highly recommend it if you understand what Early Access means since everyone is complaining about it saying "This game is unfinished" well of course it isn't!!

Good game I like having the feeling of having skills that you can use to unlock certain things to help you harvest/craft etc. There's different roles that you can pick which I find unique. I hope the developers don't give up on this piece of work because it really is something
Helpful? Yes No Funny
0.4 hrs
Early Access Review
Posted: September 24
Helpful? Yes No Funny
2.6 hrs
Early Access Review
Posted: September 23
The concept of the Game is Brilliant, it is and Alpha Early Access so expect some Bugs, in light of my Earlier half asleep attempt at a Review I have Restarted while wide awake, lol. I will Try this again at a Future Point.

I am giving this a Thumbs up for its Concept, not its current developement, still needs lots of work but the Devs are listening to Feedback.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
3.3 hrs
Early Access Review
Posted: September 22
there is potential, but .... :
-took me 5 attempts to get to the main menu.
-could not join server 2 times.

right now i dont recommend this game.

I will not uninstall it right now. i wait for the next update...
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Zoo Keeper
10.3 hrs
Early Access Review
Posted: September 21
I agree with the more recent commentors.
Of course the wipe sux, but the main problem I am having now is that I teleport everywhere, health is low, hungry, and I can't interact with anything in the game. I can't even access my inventory menu, all the hotkeys has gone to ♥♥♥♥.

So maybe its a new bug? or the developers gave up? idk. but at its current state, it is literally unplayable.
Helpful? Yes No Funny