|This article was a featured article for the site in September 2017.|
Freakers, or known as the infected, are humans and animals that fell victim to a viral infection referred to as "The Freaker Virus," turning them into ravenous cannibalistic monsters. They are a major antagonistic force, and catalyst for events, in Days Gone.
Two years prior to the events of the game, the Cloverblue Corporation secretly developed a bioweapons program disguised as a bio-botany project. Among those who unknowingly worked in the company's secret project was Sarah Whitaker, whose work was partly used in the creation of the Freaker virus. One of Whitaker's co-workers, David Gorman, was suspicious of Cloverblue's research and correctly deduced their intent. Gorman stole a sample of the virus and brought it to an environmental convention in Portland in an effort to publicly expose the company's unethical research. However, Gorman unwittingly infected himself with the stolen sample and further exposing the convention attendees. Within two weeks, the virus spread throughout the world, killing half of the human population and turning millions of people and animals into Freakers. As a result, civilization fell, and cities were abandoned in favor of smaller settlements in the wilderness, while the world is left at the mercy of the Freakers.
Freakers are the result of living creatures being infected with the Freaker Virus. The virus grants them superior strength, speed, and agility to that of a normal creature of their species, but become feral, cannibalistic, and aggressive. All Freakers appear to have their skin covered in bloody sores, and the infected humans seem to have gone hairless.
It's also known to infect certain species other than humans, most notably wolves, bears, and crows. Other species seem to be immune to the virus.
Types of Freaker
There are multiple different types of Freakers. Each type has unique attributes that set it apart from the others.
Swarmer: Infected adults, who make up the majority of the Freakers. They generally travel in groups. Alone they are relatively minor threats, but in swarms, they can easily overwhelm their prey.
Bleacher: A slightly stronger mutation of average Swarmers. They are albino and shirtless.
Newt: Infected adolescents, they are generally less active and will only attack when Deacon's health is low or if he gets too close to them.
Screamer: Female-only infected capable of stunning Deacon and alerting hordes with their high-pitched scream. They should be killed as quickly as possible, otherwise they will scream and draw in surrounding Swarmers.
Breaker: Towering muscular Freakers capable of withstanding a lot of trauma and defeating humans easily.
Reacher: The Reacher is a more evolved Swarmer with greater speed, strength, and intelligence than the average infected.
Intelligent: Freakers that still maintain human intelligence while gaining the enhanced strength of Breakers and agility of Newts. The only known intelligent Freaker is James O'Brian, but he implies very heavily that there are a significant number of others and that N.E.R.O. is under their control.
Infected Bats: Briefly mentioned in Researcher Field Note - 0701.
Runner: Infected wolves are incredibly fast, capable of outrunning Deacon's motorcycle.
Rager Bear: Infected bears that have massively increased durability, and are able to take a lot of trauma, as seen with one having barbed wire and weapons embedded in its flesh, and being completely unphased by it.
Crier: Infected ravens that will swarm and attempt to overwhelm Deacon.
Use to Humans
At some point, survivors began to use Freakers to their advantage. They have been seen as alarms systems and guard dogs to deter would-be intruders, while also being left as a preferred bait for other Freakers that would normally destroy a human camp, thus allowing time for escape and resettlement.
Freakers when unprovoked or unaware of the presence of non-infected human or fauna will merely wander around in search of them. When they find one they will chase them down in a furious frenzy, usually alerting other freakers with their increased movement and vocals, creating a horde that will run down the human, unless they can be deterred somehow. It would be very difficult to outrun a horde, or to hide from one. It is recommended to attempt to cull their numbers, and then finish them off or make an escape.
Freakers will behave differently depending on the Weather. Rain can silence some sounds more, dulling their senses of sight and sound. Snow will grant them a strength boost, but decreased visibility. Freakers are actually still living beings, and act as such. They also seem to retain base primal instincts, such as hunting and as seen where the Freakers corner Deacon on a tower at the sawmill, and also where Deacon blew up a wall, allowing the Freaker horde to rush through.
It is unknown if Freakers still retain the required nerve cells to feel pain. This could be proven true, as when a Rager Bear appeared in one of the trailers, it seemed to be unphased and passive about the numerous weapons and barbed wire sticking into its flesh. Or it could be the fact that they are mindless and zombie-like, and do not have control over their actions.
While the Freakers are known to travel in packs and work together, this behaviour is only found amongst the same mutations, as the infected will attack each other if they come within the vicinity of other types of Freakers.
Since Freakers are still living beings, they can be killed by the same methods as humans, such as can ballistic and blunt force trauma, fire and being crushed. However, since they tend to move in a swarm it seems to be a good idea to simply avoid them where possible. It is worth noting that some Freakers can survive longer than most humans when fatally wounded, as some are seen still moving for a little while after losing their limbs.
- The Freakers still being living creatures despite their infection makes them similar to the Infected from Left 4 Dead and The Last of Us, as opposed to more traditional undead zombies.
- Many of the Freakers were voiced by Travis Ryan, the lead singer of the American death metal band Cattle Decapitation
- According to O'Brien, Twelve different mutations of Freakers had been identified by N.E.R.O. So far in the game we only encounter 10.