This would a gamemode (like horde mode , survival, arena, etc.) in which the map becomes progressively infected (singleplayer only, it would probably be far too complex to do in multiplayer). The game starts off as a normal day in a stable society made up of NPCs, which quickly begins to fall to a zombie infection that would originate from a randomized location.
The NPCs would begin to defend themselves with whatever they have, and as the infection progresses, some may hold out longer than others. But as time goes on, eventually most locations would be overrun, and you would be lucky to find a small groups in the forests.
Loot will spawn shortly after a location is completely overtaken, with many zombies present. The locations would be damaged too (broken windows, littered streets, fires, etc.)
Your objective: survive through any means possible. You could either scavenge overrun areas, or try to farm for food and craft makeshift weaponry. After a certain period of time ingame, it would become possible to escape (a helicopter comes in, a roadway is opened) and doing so will cause the game to end; you win.
But throughout the game, a meter measures how sick you are through a percentage, and once it gets high enough, you turn into a zombie and lose. It would go up through exposure to the air around the most infected areas, through contaminated water, and really any other way that a sickness usually spreads. The meter can be lowered with medicine (obviously) You also have 1 life, you die, its game over.
The only way to win is to escape through one of the afore mentioned methods.
At the end, win or lose, you are shown how long you lived, along with other statistics.
I think this would be an interesting gamemode that could give rise to challenges made by the community (win using only a certain method), and it is designed to be survival oriented.
You might have already seen this in the discord suggestions tab, but I realized Nelson is much more active here so yeah.