The Freaker Virus, also known as the Hooligan Virus, is a viral infection that causes mutations in humans and other fauna, turning them into Freakers. Its spread across the world is responsible for the apocalyptic landscape seen in Days Gone.
Cloverdale began developing the virus in secret, taking away their personnel's clearance and using the lab for a new classified project. The virus was developed from a special type of flower that only grows in Oregon (according to Sarah Whitaker), at the Cloverdale lab in Iron Butte, Oregon, using the research from their staff without their knowledge.
David Gorman, a research intern at the Iron Butte Cloverdale lab, became convinced that there was something suspicious about the research being done at Cloverdale. He tried to convince his fellow researcher, Sarah Whitaker, that their employer was up to something. Sarah did not believe him and tried to convince him that he was being paranoid. Gorman didn't listen and instead broke into the lab, so he could procure a sample of the virus, unknowingly getting himself infected.
Gorman headed to a environmental convention in Portland, in order to meet with a reporter to expose Cloverdale. He unknowingly spread the infection throughout the conference goers. When the conference ended, everyone returned home, spreading the virus through mass transit hubs such as airports and railway stations, spreading the infection exponentially. Within two weeks, the infected began to mutate, and overrun cities, killing approximately 1/3 of the world population, and leaving few survivors.
Main Article: Freakers
The virus affected different people in different ways. Infected humans, referred to as Freakers, developed enhanced strength and speed above that of the average human. The virus appears to have similarities to the Rabies virus, which makes the host hyperactive, feral, and extremely aggressive to any uninfected creatures. The official scientific term for them given by NERO is homo sapiens mutans turba. Most prominently though, the infected become cannibalistic. Physical side effects of the infection include: hair loss, loss of skin pigmentation, deformation and the appearance of being malnourished.
The infection can also cause various other mutations, based on other factors as people with high level of steroids in the blood stream causing extreme muscle growth.
O'Brian reveals that the virus has a near 100 percent infection rate. In the first few weeks, almost anyone under the age of 12 was killed; due to the lack of puberty they lacked a strong immune system. Mostly everyone over the age of 60 was also killed as their bodies couldn't handle the rapid genetic mutations on a cellular level. However, it is noted by Dr. Anderson who stated that O'Brian was incorrect in his assessment.
During one research mission, the researcher, Lt. Booth infers, but does not specifically state, that the virus was human engineered due to the unusual aggressiveness and determination of the disease. She says "The (freaker) virus wants them that way." She also states that CT scans of freaker‘s brains show that they are, in normal human terms; "brain dead".
The animals around Oregon are also affected by the virus. Infected wolves, or Runners, are heavily scarred on their heads and are missing patches of fur. Runners have also been said to have strengthened bones, allowing them to run much faster than the average wolf, believed to be able to reach speeds of 60mph.
Bears infected by the virus share the same scarring and patchy fur loss of wolves, however they do not share the increase in speed, rather gaining more strength and resistance to damage.
Infected birds, mostly ravens, become much more aggressive than their uninfected counterparts.
Stages of Infection
The virus goes through three known stages:
Stage One: Through blood tests conducted, the virus spreads through the lymph system, reproducing and attack cells on a catastrophic scale. The attacks activate normally dormant proto-oncogenes.
Stage Two: The tendons of the hands and fingers become less restricted, fingernails less claw-like; as if recently chewed. Clothing and apparel are less tattered and more intact. The researcher Lt.Booth states that they are retaining some degree of memory; with one Freaker corpse found wearing a watch. Indicating it is either maintaining the watch or recently put it on as if found. There are also Freakers that wear less dirty clothing in comparison to other freaks that are covered in blood and dirt. This degree of memory is perhaps the reason more Freakers are found in settled areas like towns and less in wooded locations.
In the secret ending of Days Gone, O'Brain reveals that the Freaker Virus is evolving, allowing the Infected to retain human intelligence while gaining enhanced agility and speed of the regular infected.
- This virus has similar effects as the Rabies virus.
- The Freaker virus closely resembles the Krippin virus from the film I Am Legend, only not having to stay out of sunlight. Like Darkseekers, the hordes of Freakers mostly congregate in dark areas such as caves, tunnels, and buildings during daylight, but will venture out when night falls.
- Some variations of freakers do not suffer the characteristic hair loss of the more common mutations.