The state of the Unturned lore

Idea sparked by @raptorgamingFR1’s thread on the subject.

The story of Unturned is fairly weird in some regards. Not necessarily talking about really wacky stuff happening or plot-holes of any kind, although there are things left unexplained that really leave you suspending your disbelief like awfully incompetent military forces or no clear way in which the virus spreads (we can assume it’s by getting bitten, but even then, why doesn’t the player turn?), not to mention no clear idea of the events in the story taking place at a real-life scale of the word or not.

I just feel like this aspect of the game had the really unfortunate fate of getting ultimately neglected. I believe Nelson most likely added in some story notes here and there originally for the sake of giving a slight impression of world building, and accidentally ended up making up a pretty interesting lore which he never explored enough. Sure, every official map afterwards had some part in it, but there were always things I wanted to know more about, like the aliens, Kilroy and the other historians, the story of how Scorpion-7 managed to evade the Government for so many years etc. At this point, much like most 3.0 updates, Unturned’s story is pretty much left up to the community, sort of similarly to a fandom like SCP, and I think Nelson acknowledged this in an interview in which he stated he is uncertain to which extent curated maps ARE part of the canon, since if let’s say the community wants a certain project to be approved as such, he can’t say no. [source]

Now that’s fine, but to me after Greece came out it never really felt like Unturned anymore, and it’s in great part for that reason. Nelson’s detachment from the core game removed from the weight of any story lines new curated maps brought in to the point where I kind of lost interest. I am fairly sure some of the projects which came later had decent stories, but I stopped having the urge to look into them, partly because they seemed kind of uninteresting to me after reading through notes, but mainly because there were still things left unanswered in the official story.

Fortunately, I heard Unturned II is going to have a whole new story of its own, with Scorpion-7 themselves making some kind of return, but even then the game has been in early development for so long even its fate seems pretty uncertain, although that’s a whole discussion on its own. I guess we can only hope for the best, because I can not deny I still have an interest in the rest of the lore for the most part.

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Making a post like that is one way to evade making greece lore video. You did it again, well done.

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Oopsie! :flushed:

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Spreads, or develops? The virus spread throughout various maps in numerous ways (e.g., berry pancakes, berry drinks). Some of the methods aren’t as directly explained (e.g., what caused an entire plane to be infected) and are left to assumptions like physical contact / airborne disease / whatever else.

The story was mostly developed as the maps were developed. Maps --> Easter Eggs --> Lore. If it feels incoherent at times, that’s because the bigger picture came later. Nelson generally does have stuff he envisioned for the lore, or that he thought about when writing the notes, but of course not all of that was translated into the game.

We don’t consider curated maps canon, but a lot of players do. We’ve both privately referred to them as “extended/alternative universe” canon in the past.

(EDIT: fixed a big typo below)

As far as the official canon goes, it would only include official maps. If you include curated maps, some of those maps conflict with the official lore (iirc, it was either Rio or Belgium that would have to canonically take place several years before the official lore, but it references the official lore too).

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I was about to comment on some things things you said, but then I saw you editing them and for the most part I agree now. About the part where not everything gets translated into the game though, I think that is also fair, but I do think diving into the more mysterious aspects of the story would have been very interesting. Now whatever reasons Nelson had to not include those elements, a.k.a. maybe he didn’t think it would be as relevant or they didn’t add up with the rest of the story would make sense, but what I was saying was that there are loose chains I expected some sort of answers for over the years and they were never really touched again.

Now that is some very welcome clarification on what Nelson said in the interview. Definitely a good thing to know.

Also, slightly off-topic here, but I’ve read through this post you made summarizing the storyline, and while I did notice the title said “Mostly-accurate”, I am very curious whether or not there are any sources confirming some of what you mentioned, because I was not able to find any (or if it’s speculation/something else):

image

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edit: forgot to add the photos lol

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It’s marked as mostly-accurate because at the time of posting it, there were a few things I was still waiting for clarification on and there’s some things that aren’t translated into the story well so it’s just been left up to “however players interpret it” *because player interpretation is often cooler anyways.

  • The main issue is the timeline, as most notes don’t actually have dates, so there’s a few things you could switch around.

For context, on January 20, 2019 I made two posts in #staff. One was for forum changes to be pushed through (this was prior to Yarr & I have full administrative powers). The second was for storyline clarifications (and a couple suggestions/corrections to conflicting info), and it was planned for this information to be translated onto the SDG Wiki as a more comprehensive storyline.

The first highlight is from information Nelson clarified upon. The second is from Note_Peaks 13–17, Notes_Peaks 19, and the Secrets of Neuschwanstein easter egg. The shuttles were en route to a space station, which Nelson originally considered have an easter egg that would take you there. The teleporter into Neuschwanstein is rebuilt using parts from the various crashed shipments, but the easter egg we have ends there with the Kaiser boss fight.


I’ll grab some of these clarifications real quick.


  1. In my mind the official survival maps and tutorial are canon,

  2. the irradiated bunker were foreign spies.

  3. The abandoned barn near Klaune Lake is in reference to the snowy devtest map.

  4. Big J was waiting to have market dominance before re-branding them all. (This seriously was the original plot). This is in the context of why there’s so little Big J branding in Russia, despite them buying out almost every gas station.

  5. Orbiting space station, was at one point considering a quest/easter egg to visit the space station.

  6. It's for the remaining shuttle yes, but previous launches have been succesful [sic]. [...] they were cut short before completing their mission.

  7. "Who is “Kilroy”, as seen in Russia Note - Kilroy’s Journal (Note_25) ? More specifically, what is his profession and is he important to S7 or Big J?" No relation to anyone else in the story, but the backstory was of a British museum curator on 'holday' [sic] in Russia.

  8. The three locations where you charge up the mini-soulcrystals in Russia are irrelevant. It’s just that those locations were near the radio towers.

  9. [Kilroy's] survey of the area was a few months before the outbreak. The tribes were intended as natives of the land perhaps thousands of years ago.

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Woah, that is a whole load of confirmed story stuff I had no idea about! Thank you for showing me this, I’ll definitely look further into it!

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I really do think curated map lore should be considered canon. Nelson would just have to take an extra step to be sure their lore fits the game and it would allow the story to grow in interesting ways.

also monolith lore please

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I just want hurted survivor to be canon tbh

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I agree with Ady. The lore needs a total overhaul for Unturned II. Lots of holes in the lore that need to be fixed.

It should be clarified that the U4 lore won’t be tied down to the U3 lore. Ady is right that it’ll have its own unique story.


Regardless, the best way to ensure that Unturned II does have a deep and rich lore is to just keep asking for it, especially as world-building becomes a more relevant priority to the game. Topics like this one are a good reminder to us, and whenever people throw around ideas for things like Excursions or Turned designs it can be inspiring.

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If I recall correctly the Rio lore (that was planned, not all of it was implemented due to NPCs kinda being dropped) was that the infection spread to Rio through the Olympics. Basically the Zika outbreak, except with the Turned virus. Since it takes place in 2017, I don’t think it conflicts with the canon lore, just makes it a bit more confusing due to everything all happening at once.

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