Ever wondered about one of Project Zomboid’s most secret places, the one most veteran PZ players call “the military base”? Where is it? Why is there? What’s its purpose? What happened there? Some answers and a lot more questions inside!
Before you continue reading, you should know this guide contains spoilers for Project Zomboid! We will be talking about one of the most famous hidden locations in the game. If you wish to explore the game world and discover its mysteries yourself, DO NOT read this!
The game has been out in beta for many years, and there are maps of the game world online, so most veteran players already know about this location many got used to calling “the military base”. However, this has been under some contention, since the place doesn’t exactly look like a military base at all, and there is surprisingly little to gain venturing out here. So what is this place exactly? Why is it here? What is (was) its function?
There are many clues to find for the sharp-eyed, but there might be more questions than answers to find.
Where is it? How do I get there?
Since there are many (even interactive) maps of the PZ game world online, the location of the base is not exactly a secret anymore. The base itself is located close to the southwest edge of the map, deep in the wilderness, very far from everything. Just glancing at the map makes it very much stand out from its surrounding wilderness.
It’s easiest to locate going west of Rosewood, but there is a catch: there are no roads leading to the base, only a maze-like overgrown forest path that is very hard to navigate.
If you are new to Project Zomboid, personally, I’d advise you not to visit the base. It’s a very long and dangerous journey for very little gain (more on this later) and you’ll more than likely die in the process. So if you’re just starting out in this game, there is really no reason to rush. Get some runs under your belt, “git gud”, and once you can comfortably survive in the zombie apocalypse, then make your pilgrimage to this legendary location.
If you do decide to go, you have some prepping to do! What you’ll need:
- A vehicle! If you feel particularly brave and/or stupid, you can try going on foot, but it’s a very long and arduous journey and could be really dangerous depending on the weather and what might be lurking in the woods. Plus, you’ll be carrying a huge amount of supplies just to make it there and back. So the use of a vehicle is all but mandatory, especially if you want to make it back alive. Make sure it’s in good enough condition to survive the trip, bring extra fuel, tools and a spare tire or two since you’ll be driving offroad a lot!
- Good weather! The trek out to the base is hard at the best of times, but in bad weather it could be close to impossible. Do not attempt the journey in the winter! Aside from freezing to death, everything will be covered in snow and you won’t be able to see what very few clues there are to find your way through the forest! Listen to the weather reports on the Emergency Broadcast System radio channel and pick a time without any incoming inclement weather (storm, blizzard, fog, etc.).
- Food & water! There will be nothing but dense wilderness along the way, so unless you are very good at Foraging, you’ll need a good supply of food and water! Sadly you won’t find any at the base either so keep in mind you’ll need provisions for the return journey as well!
- Weapons, Diversions and First Aid You won’t really expect it so deep in the forest, but depending on your difficulty settings, the base could be completely overrun with hordes of zeds. You’re going to need weapons (ammo if you use guns), provisions, and first aid supplies. Even then, breaching the perimeter could be impossible. Use of distractions (noise makers, sirens, etc) is highly advised to lure the living dead away.
- Bring an axe!
There are two main paths you can take:
Route A starts at the outskirts of Rosewood. From downtown Rosewood, head south out of town and turn right at the intersection past the big Fossoil gas station. From there keep heading straight west, follow the gravel road past the farmlands all the way until you reach a fork with a dirt road to your right. Follow the dirt road through the forest until you reach a fork. (Continued in the next section)
Route B starts on the East-West highway crossing the map right above Rosewood. From Rosewood, drive north until you reach the highway and start driving west. Keep going until you see a gravel road to the south and turn there. Keep following the road which will change to a dirt path along the way, drive until you reach a fork. (Continued in the next section)
The journey through the wilderness
The next leg of the adventure is the hardest. From here on there will be nothing but thick wilderness where even the in-game map won’t help you much. Without any landmarks to orient yourself it’ll be very easy to get turned around and get lost in the forest, so follow the directions closely!
Regardless of which route you took, from the fork start heading southwest following the dirt road.
At the first fork, turn right and head west. After a while, there will be a fork going south, but just keep heading straight west. The road will slowly turn north and you’ll reach another fork, turn left here!
Now comes the hard part!
Notice: Depending on how late in your game you decided to journey out to the base (and your game settings), there could be a high amount of erosion! With the lack of any roads, the rest of the way could be overgrown with trees and might be completely inaccessible by vehicle! You might have to walk some of the ways and even the forks may not be recognizable. Depending on the level of overgrowth you might still be able to clear a path with an ax, but it might not be possible. For this reason, if you wish to visit the base, it’s highly suggested to do it as early in the game as you can!
The dirt road ends here and you’ll only have a vague forest path for the rest of the way! Keep heading west while following the path (hopefully) clear of trees. You’ll reach a tiny patch of dirt road with a fork. Follow the bits of dirt southwest and you’ll reach a clearing. Keep heading west until you find a patch of dirt road and follow it westward. The path will slowly turn southward, keep following the dirt south until you reach the gravel inlet road. Follow it west until you reach the gate!
Congrats, you have reached the secret “military base”! But this is only just the beginning of our adventure…
Okay, I’m here. What now?
The entire compound is surrounded by a barbed-wire fence, so the only way into the base is through the front gate. When you reach the gate, you might already see zombies around. Depending on your difficulty settings, the next part could be really harrowing.
You have two ways into the building proper:
Just past the gate, you come to a fork. To reach the front, turn right and follow the road to the parking lot. You’ll find the front entrance here which will quite possibly be teeming with zeds, so you’ll have to either use distractions or do a lot of murder to even get inside.
For a possibly easier entry, turn left at the fork and follow the service road to the back of the building where you can enter through the loading dock. There might be fewer zombies here, but it’s not a guarantee.
Inside the base
If you managed to enter the building, keep vigilant! Despite being in the middle of nowhere, there’s a disproportionately large amount of zombies here, so you’ll probably have to fight for every inch inside the base as well.
It is a large building, and you’ll find a lot of thin corridors, locked doors, and not many windows. It’s very easy to get cornered in here, so make sure you don’t get blindsided by groups of zeds or you’ll never make it out alive! I hope you brought that ax I told you to bring (or a sledgehammer) because most of the doors will be locked. Unless you are lucky enough to find a key on zed, you’ll need to bash your way through the base.
The majority of the building is mainly offices, so you won’t find much but scattered papers and some office supplies. Aside from the closet left of the entrance, there are three main areas worth checking out:
The lockers behind the front counter can have some gear, and the armory behind the security room is further in the southern part of the building. The kitchen behind the offices can have some food, but there is rarely anything there. Other than that, the medical rooms in the middle can have some first aid stuff and…
Wait, what? That’s it? This is why I came all the way out there?!
No, really, this is all there is. Depending on your difficulty and loot spawn settings, you might not really find much. If you came out here for cool weapons and gear, I’m sorry. I’ve heard from many players who simply didn’t find anything worthwhile at all. This place is pretty much devoid of loot, which is very perplexing considering how hard it is to even get here and the surprisingly huge amounts of zombies guarding it.
There is something very wrong here, nothing adds up! But why? For that, we have to look deeper…
Intermission: The (un)Safehouse
Before we get into lore theories, let’s look at something you might be wondering at this point:
Can I use this as a safehouse?
Short answer: yes, but I would very much advise against it. While it could be cool to have a secret hidden facility as a safe house, it’s a really bad idea for several reasons.
Let’s look at a few:
- No resources! The base is very isolated, it’s insanely far from any populated areas or POIs. You won’t be able to make runs for resources, since there is nothing but trees for miles. The offroad forest path wreaks havoc on vehicles and having to brave the long jungle journey to bring back anything is just an insane time/energy investment.
- No infrastructure! Aside from a microwave in the kitchen and some office furniture, there’s nothing but useless props everywhere. Sure, you can break down some furniture for materials, and there are trees everywhere, but it’s really not much to go on. Unless you are prepared to make several runs to bring everything necessary out here, and build everything yourself, it’s a very bad choice for a base.
- No water! No lake/river/well means no access to water, which is very much needed for drinking, farming, cooking, etc. Unless you are really good at Carpentry, make lots of rain collectors and perform the rain dance to get enough precipitation to tide you over, you’re going to have serious issues when a dry spell (and winter) hits. You won’t be able to do much, your crops will die and you’ll be left there starving/dehydrating to death.
- Lots of zeds! For such an isolated location, there are tons of zombies around. Depending on your difficulty settings, you’ll be constantly swimming in undead at this location. While it’s not impossible to clear the base out, it’s definitely an uphill battle to say the least.
- And many, many more…
So, aside from the “cool” factor, while not impossible, the hidden base is a seriously awful choice for a safehouse.
“Military Base”? Not exactly…
From this point onward, there is nothing but my theories and musings about the lore and what could be possible in the story. It’s not official/canon in any shape or form! These are just my theories based on what I’ve seen in the game so far, so take them as you will.
Players have been calling this place the “military base”, I guess for the lack of a better term (and it sounds cool). In this guide, I’ve been using quotes around “military base” for a reason because it’s in fact not a military base.
Here are some things to consider:
- It’s in the middle of nowhere! Why would anyone put a base here, miles deep in the untamed wilderness with absolutely no strategic value? They wouldn’t. It doesn’t even have a proper access road. Or even an improper one. For a military outpost, this would be a seriously stupid place to put it. Sure, it could be some super-secret research or testing facility, but then again…
- It doesn’t look like a military base! Not only the location but the layout and design are all wrong. it’s not fortified at all. Aside from the single fence and a booth at the front gate, there is nothing “military” about this place at all. No proper perimeter, guard stations, watchtowers, any buildings that might have a military function. No staging area, no depot, no barracks or facilities, gear, armory, nothing. If this is indeed a super-secret research base like many have suggested, they sure don’t care about protecting it. I mean, yes, it’s in the middle of nowhere, but still, even Area 51 has some pretty strong defenses for being out in the desert. For a proper in-game military base, it’s enough to look at the checkpoint/camp just outside the south of Louisville. This base is nothing like it.
Basically, everything points to the fact that this place has nothing to do with the military.
Okay, so if it’s not a military base, then what is it?
That’s the real question, isn’t it?
My guess: probably a government black site, or even a private corporate facility (a la Umbrella Corp).
A totally nondescript grey building in the middle of nowhere, without any indication of its function or purpose. At first sight, the inside doesn’t give us much to go on either. It’s mainly just boring offices, a small clinic, and what looks like a kennel, judging by the few leftover animal cages. The place has obviously been evacuated in a hurry, with all the papers strewn about and basically no clues or loot to be found anywhere.
It’s suspiciously empty.
The Secret: My Theory
What we can see, is not much.
But what’s more important is what we can’t see!
So it’s a grey, nondescript building, with lots of offices, meeting rooms, and a huge archives room in the middle. It basically looks like some sort of administration building. But who would put an admin building of all things out in the middle of the jungle? It makes no sense! Or does it?
With basically no security outside, there is even more inside! If you look at the layout, you’ll notice something interesting. The office areas in the front are freely accessible, but to get to the back you have to pass through not one, but two security checkpoints.
The one in the back even has an armory. It’s a bit much just to get to some small medical rooms and a kennel, right? It’s way too small to be a research lab, and there is nothing else back there aside from an office, the garage, and a corridor that leads to a dead end. It’s just a little bit weird…
Hang on, is that…? Did you notice it yet?
There are four things in this building that don’t make sense:
At the north end of the building, there are what look like huge diesel generators. Six of them. Just south of those in the utility room are two big water supply tanks, surrounded by four large vent shafts. All this for a building this size? That’s either massive overkill, or…
Here’s the real kicker:
Yes, those are indeed elevators. In a building with no upper floors? Wait…
Yes, this all can only mean one thing:
The real facility is underground!And judging by the size of the utilities, it’s several times the size of the surface area!
Indeed, it very much looks like the entire ground floor of the base is nothing but a facade! At first glance, if you didn’t know what to look for, the site would pass any inspection for a regular boring office building.
Since the game has no underground Z-levels yet, it’s impossible to know for sure, but everything points to an extensive hidden underground facility under the camouflage of an “admin building”. Suddenly the back section makes a lot more sense! The medical exam rooms and the kennels are for running medical checks on lab animals and staff before going down to the facility proper. The personnel and freight elevators also explain why there are no living quarters or proper storage areas anywhere: it’s all downstairs! (Coincidentally, the abrupt dead end at the end of the back corridor I assume where the stairs leading down will be when they’ll be implemented in the future.)
One more thing to think about is logistics. It’s one thing, that there is a huge parking lot outside for such a small building; 54 parking spaces for just 8 small offices and a few other facilities. By my estimate, even half that would be more than enough. Well, if the whole thing wasn’t so pointless! There is no road access! How on Earth would anyone do a daily commute through an overgrown, muddy forest maze with a city car? They won’t, that’s how. The existence of the path through the forest suggests there was traffic through there at some point, most likely when the base was built. But judging by the level of overgrowth, it suggests it hasn’t been used by anyone for quite some time, many years probably. But the base itself shows signs of very recent occupation (not to mention the huge number of zombies).
So then, how the hell do people and resources go to and from the facility?
Simple: by air!
See the large open area north-east of the building with the shed? It’s a helipad!
By my estimate, it’s large enough not only for personnel choppers but large (Chinook/Skycrane size) cargo helicopters as well, and the service road leads around to the back of the building, through the fence gate, straight to the garage and the freight elevator.
The location and the base layout is starting to make a lot more sense now, isn’t it?
So, what’s down there?
This is where imaginations go wild. As far as I can tell, there is no official canon lore about this base at all. At least not yet. Until underground Z-levels and the rest of the (presumed) facility are added to the game, we have no way to know.
The most prevalent fan theory suggests this is actually where the entire outbreak started. Ground Zero. The birthplace of the zombie virus. It’s as good a theory as any, and most of the clues I found seem to suggest this as well.
- The location makes sense. For a biological/viral research facility, it’s obvious to have it very far away from populated areas, where civilians (or anyone) can’t randomly bump into it, and to give them an exclusion zone if an outbreak would happen. (Obviously, that last part didn’t really work this time)
- The medical facility and kennels in the back, suggests animal testing, probably to check lab animals and personnel to and from the underground area would be natural for a biological/viral research facility.
- The disproportionately high number of infected roaming the base would suggest this as well. The facility is very isolated, yet it’s teeming with the undead. That many zeds obviously didn’t come from the forest outside and surely not from the small “office building” either, but most probably from the underground facility.
- The base has been very hastily evacuated, evidenced by all the paperwork strewn about in the building and the obvious lack of any worthwhile loot. This means whoever ordered the evacuation, obviously had early warning of the outbreak and could actually evacuate most of their resources, gear and at least some of the personnel before the base was overrun. If the outbreak indeed started at the underground facility, it makes sense they still had a little time to evacuate the surface area before leaving the base to its fate.
Whatever the case, this remains a mystery for now.
This base is one of the most interesting places in the entirety of Zomboid, at least one of the most talked-about one to be sure. Was this really ground zero?
It’s definitely a very intriguing theory to be sure and would fit nicely with the narrative of the game. This would also be an excellent location for future story content, the player having to follow clues to even find this place in the wilderness, and finally find some answers about what really happened in the Knox Event.
Or maybe even a cure?
For now, we can’t know anything for sure. Definitely not until NPCs, underground Z-levels, the actual Story Mode and a whole bunch of other stuff is implemented, which is really far in the future yet. Until all that happens, it’s still fun to theorize.
Stay safe, fellow survivors!
That's everything we are sharing today for this Project Zomboid guide. This guide was originally created and written by Playbahnosh. In case we fail to update this guide, you can find the latest update by following this link.