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"Screamer! He's calling in the horde!" Ethan

The Screamer is a special zombie in World War Z.

The Screamer tends to stay away from the main fight, instead opting to call out to others towards the location of the survivors with the aid of his megaphone.

Physical Appearance

The Screamer is a zeke dressed in an orange safety vest with a company logo and ID tag, a white t-shirt, black safety work cargo pants, a black tactical belt with an adjustable loop, work boots, light green work gloves, and an unstrapped yellow multi-sport helmet. A waist-slung electric megaphone rests on his hip while the yellow detachable handheld microphone attached by a cord remains fixed to his vest around upper chest height.

The Screamer's eyes appear to be entirely white. His upper lips have been torn off. The area surrounding his mouth in general is heavily damaged, especially around his cheeks. The skin on his face is slightly pink.

Abilities & Behavior

The Screamer tends to find himself standing around in peculiar and sometimes questionable places. The areas where he finds himself usually provide him with a good vantage point for alerting the masses. Sometimes, the areas also provide partial coverage or full coverage from certain sides/angles. The reasons for him being found in such strange spots are usually without reason or sheer coincidence.

The Screamer has several abilities that are all tied to his megaphone-amplified cries. Whenever he screams, any zekes that were previously in a passive or resting position will immediately get up and begin heading straight towards the survivors. If he screams enough times, more zekes will appear for the survivors to fight off. If a survivor happens to be near the Screamer as he shouts, it will leave them slightly disorientated for a moment.

The Screamer always seems to be found keeping his distance from the main fight. While all the regular zekes aggressively give chase towards the survivors, sometimes piling on each other to do so, the Screamer chooses to stand his ground, only ever attacking those that approach him or get too close. This behavior compared to the rest of the zekes makes the Screamer a fairly passive enemy in contrast. However, his passivity does not make him any less of a danger.

Strategy & Tactics

"Hardwired to a megaphone, the screamer zombie will call in waves of undead unless you take him out." Tutorial Tips

Role

The Screamer makes a lot of noise to summon more zekes to make the survivors fight for longer. By screaming enough times, a large group of enemies will appear to attack. Without taking down the Screamer, waves and swarms of deadly zekes can be triggered early and indefinitely extended.

General

  • Act quickly. The Screamer is very easy to spot out. He constantly makes irritatingly loud noises, wears high-visibility clothing, and usually only ever stays in one spot. Despite this, you and your teammates might be too preoccupied to deal with him the moment he arrives. Whatever it is that you are doing, make it quick. The Screamer becomes more dangerous the longer he is allowed to remain active. Sometimes it is better to drop whatever you are doing and hunt down the Screamer first and foremost. This could prove beneficial in the long run.
  • Listen. You do not need to listen carefully though because a Screamer will always announce their appearance with a loud scream that is hard to miss.
  • Always mark your targets. As with all special zombies, marking lets players know where a particular threatening zeke is and/or where it is about to go. The red outline can be seen through obstacles and is hard to miss, so press the key that marks them and make their appearance even less of a surprise. Screamers are very easy to locate due to their screams always marking their arrival. When performing his signature scream, he will be temporarily outlined in red on his own. If you can mark him, you likely also have him in your line of sight. However, if for whatever reason you are unable to kill, marking him will have the red outline remain on him at all times until he is eventually killed. Your teammates can see his exact position and move accordingly before kill him instead.

Against

  • The Screamer stands in one place. Unless he is approached by a survivor, the Screamer will not move from his spot, making him an easy target to shoot down. While any weapon will generally suffice at close to mid-range, semi-automatic rifles are better suited for long-range engagements.
    • Pay no mind to the Screamer's helmet. It provides zero protection from a headshot.
  • There is no practical reason for anyone to approach a Screamer. There is almost no excuse to walk up towards the Screamer if it can be avoided. When close enough to a Screamer, the shockwaves he creates will cause a very light distortion effect. The effects are negligible for the most part. However, if you are close enough to see this, he will likely start giving chase and attack.
  • As stated earlier, it is important to kill a Screamer as soon as possible. Just because he cannot physically attack you does not mean he is not capable of harming you. When allowed to fester long enough, the Screamer can summon additional groups of enemies nearby. It will usually take a few screams before they show up, meaning the undead reinforcements can only arrive periodically. Given that the Screamer himself tends to appear during moments in the game where a lot of enemies are already expected to show up, such as swarms, it can be extremely difficult to perceive any tangible effect of his summons as they will usually mix in with the regular hordes. However, a group of extra zekes being piled on is nothing to scoff at. The survivors are now required to take care of more enemies than originally intended. In higher difficulties, this can prove extremely bothersome or even devastating given how much tougher the zekes become. By not killing the Screamer sooner, you and your team could be left in a situation where you spend more effort and firepower dealing with the zekes summoned rather than the Screamer himself, chewing through a lot of ammo while being unable to push through until everyone eventually runs out of bullets and get overwhelmed. Get to the Screamer first to prevent any more zekes from arriving and save your team the hassle.
    • The Screamer does not summon additional special zombies with his screams. Special zombies usually arrive on their own periodically so long as there are waves of regular zekes for the survivors to fight. With that said, the players will likely face more special zombies as long as they continue to fight wave after wave of regular zekes. Again, get to the Screamer and kill him as soon as possible to avoid this.
  • Knowing when and where Screamers spawn is key to shutting him up sooner. Keeping a mental map of possible/frequent Screamer spawning locations will put you one step ahead in killing him. Even though Screamers are not that difficult to find, getting to them is usually the hard part. Knowing the areas that he can be found means you know whether that spot provides the Screamer partial coverage or if it reveals him only from a specific angle. This information can allow you to efficiently navigate through an area to kill a Screamer in a timely manner as opposed to wandering around aimlessly getting to the same spot. Map knowledge and familiarity of the environment is important, so replaying a stage multiple times can help determine some of the more frequent or surprising spots that Screamers are likely to be found standing.
    • Screamers have a nasty habit of appearing out of nowhere even if it seems as though the spot you saw a moment ago was empty. This can be annoying since you and your team may have already moved forward and a Screamer suddenly comes out somewhere a bit past behind you. If the path back is covered by incoming zekes that prevent backtracking, find an alternate path to the Screamer, or fight your way through the horde to take him out. Depending on your location, it might be better to run forward as quickly as possible to the next area, avoiding the Screamer and the zekes he calls out.
  • Given how responsive and aggressive zekes can be towards noise, any passive and idle zekes will become instantly agitated towards survivors if the Screamer lets out a single scream. Avoid triggering an idle Screamer by not making too much noise, attacking him without killing him, or waking up too many idle zekes near him or else he will be quick to alert every single zombie in the immediate area. Sometimes while progressing through the map, a Screamer will suddenly appear and scream, alerting the idle zekes in a new area. This will effectively ruin any chances of stealth for that area so locate him and kill him quick.
    • Although the presence of survivors tend to draw the zekes in, it is possible for the zekes to end up getting drawn to the Screamer himself. If there are no nearby survivors to attack or if they managed to mask themselves, the zekes will congregate around the Screamer and mindlessly move around him. The Screamer's screams will prevent them from returning to their passive state and once the survivors' masking effect wears off or they are discovered, they will likely continue chasing them.

Class-specific

Gunslinger

  • The Gunslinger starts with a core perk called Gimme a Reason. This perk has passive buffs that improve the player's accuracy with guns. Given the Screamer's tendencies to appear in faraway spots depending on the area, the Gunslinger's steadier aim can prove beneficial when dealing with them from long range, especially if you are equipped with a weapon that is not ideal for dealing with targets from long range.
  • At level 10, the Gunslinger unlocks a core perk called Seek and Destroy. This perk's utility gives all teammates an advantage on any special zombies that come within range. It is highly unlikely that this perk will see that much use against the Screamer, however, due to how the Screamer tends to already be marked no matter where he is.
  • At level 11, the Gunslinger can unlock a perk called Bounty Hunter. This perk's utility expands across every special zombie in the game. You can kill Screamers a bit quicker which can be helpful should he be standing around somewhere far away as weapon damage fall-off will come into effect.

Hellraiser

  • At level 11, the Hellraiser can also unlock the perk called Bounty Hunter. Again, you deal increased damage against any special zombies you encounter, Gasbags included.

Fixer

  • The Fixer starts with a core perk called Mule. This perk starts you off with the Supply Bag. While this powerful equipment should generally be saved for swarms or other threats, a Screamer can be killed even quicker if you happen to spot one while carrying some explosive ammunition. This is especially true if they happen to be found somewhere very far away as the increased damage will help a lot.
  • At level 4, the Fixer can unlock a perk called Night Owl. This perk replaces your Supply Bag in exchange for the Masking Gas Grenade. Using a Masking Gas Grenade on your team can be highly beneficial as apart from the temporary health granted by the gas, you will create an opportunity to escape from the unrelenting zekes arriving naturally or summoned by the Screamer. Use the precious seconds granted by the masking effect to focus on hunting down the Screamer to prevent him from summoning any more enemies.
  • At level 5, the Fixer can unlock a perk called Side Effects. Similar to the Night Owl perk, you gain the Masking Gas Grenade to cloak your teammates, get out of a bad situation, and kill the Screamer while invisible to normal zekes. However, instead of granting some temporary health, the gas will simply kill anything within its area of effect.

Slasher

  • At level 11, the Slasher can unlock a perk called Trophy Hunter. This perk behaves exactly the same as the Bounty Hunter perk.

Exterminator

  • The Exterminator starts with a core perk called Firestarter. This perk makes you deal 25% more damage to all enemies during swarm events, Screamers included.

Dronemaster

  • At level 22, the Dronemaster can unlock a perk called Keep It Down. After 20 seconds, if a screaming Screamer is not killed yet, your Quadrocopter will automatically home in and explode directly into him, guaranteeing his death and any other zekes that happen to be nearby. Given that a Quadrocopter will be used up after he is killed, this perk should be used more as a crutch as players themselves should focus on killing the Screamer as soon as possible.

Creation

Nickname

The nickname "Screamer" was chosen for his distinct ability to scream excruciatingly loud. Other nicknames he has been called also refer to just how loud he is and can be.

Origin

The Screamer was likely a worker at a construction company judging by the logo to the right of his high-visibility vest. It can be assumed the vest is company-issued work clothes. It is unclear why he is wearing a multi-sport helmet as opposed to something more standard such as a hard hat or safety helmet, which is typically mandatory for all that are involved in such projects or those who enter a work site. There could be a number of reasons why he is sporting such a helmet instead. He could have lost or misplaced it, forcing him to put something else on his head as a temporary replacement measure until another hard hat was found. He may have been off-site currently and was on a bike, perhaps to make a short trip, and needed appropriate head protection in case of an accident where a hard hat would not suffice in that scenario. Whatever the case might be, he was concerned with his safety and made sure to have something on his head in case something were to happen, be it in the workplace or not.

The megaphone the Screamer carries suggests that his position within the construction crew was related to communicating with other workers on-site. This could mean that he was not a general laborer involved with the more physically demanding tasks of the operation, but a construction supervisor that manages and organizes it to make sure tasks were completed and that others were where they needed to be. The way the Screamer carries his megaphone and microphone suggests that he adopted a more useful and efficient method for quicker uses of his tool. Instead of taking the megaphone and microphone out on both hands whenever he needed to relay information or instructions, he instead let the megaphone rest on his waist while clipping the handheld microphone to the front of his vest so that it would rest near enough to his mouth at all times. This would allow him to use his megaphone at all times using just one hand to operate the microphone trigger when he needed to communicate with others. It is possible that the megaphone got damaged at some point around the time the Screamer turned, as it has slight dents around the cone end and the sounds that are produced are extremely distorted and scratchy. The handheld microphone's button may have broken as well, leaving it permanently on. Alternatively, the button could have a locking mechanism that allows it to remain on without needing to be continuously held while in use. Either reason could explain how the Screamer, now a zeke, could operate the tool without needing to press the button.

Sounds

As with all special zombies, the Screamer produces unique sounds to differentiate himself from regular zekes. The Screamer is unquestionably the loudest out all of the zekes due to his electric megaphone picking up every sound he makes. Even at his quietest, the Screamer's lightest groans are picked up by his microphone, producing an irritating feedback noise. When aggravated, he will let out a relatively short scream. This short scream is then amplified to the highest decibel his megaphone can reach, causing it to reverberate for a few seconds afterward and producing even worse feedback noises with it. The noise is so loud that survivors get disoriented by being too close.

Intelligence & Physical Abilities

The Screamer has shown to be quite an elusive threat due to the nature of how he attacks survivors. Instead of approaching them, he stays back and uses his voice to make a lot of noise. Only when a survivor approaches very close to him will he ever resort to physically attacking them. There are also a few instances where being near the Screamer will cause him to run away from survivors to a more suitable location instead of chasing them.

The Screamer's strategy of alerting the masses from a distance does stand out in contrast to regular zekes. The Screamer's choice to stay behind in almost all cases and yell could be the combination of a couple of factors.

One of these factors is instinct. All zekes produce a noise similar to a shriek or a moan when detecting a survivor, getting attacked, or being alerted with loud sounds. Along with this is an expressive movement to indicate aggression. The noise created alerts the attention of others, which in turn, signals others, and so on and so forth. This domino effect, while effective at converging groups of zombies towards humans, is usually achieved by total accident since zekes intuitively converge towards the source of the noise. However, it does not take away the fact that this instinctive reaction is crucial in helping zekes overcome humans as they prove time and time again that large swarms are the most effective at overpowering them, and sound is a sufficient trigger to aggravate zekes into actively hunting them down. Something unique about the Screamer is that he takes this instinct further by making his vocal noises much more often and far louder. This is not helped by the fact that this behavior is amplified, quite literally, by his electric megaphone. In addition to this instinct that all zekes possess, the Screamer's former occupation may have played a role in his louder voice and his need to use it more often than the average zeke. Although he carried a megaphone with him at all times, it would be necessary that his vocal cords were up to the task as well. Given that he likely worked in a very noisy environment, his voice would need to be heard from as far away as possible, making it paramount for him to yell and scream constantly through his megaphone to get his message to everybody on-site. Whether he was demanding, angry, or simply wanted everyone working to be where they needed to, his loud voice was essential for getting jobs done.

Another factor may have been the influence of the virus. The fast-acting virus in World War Z is highly speculated to bring a human it infects to a more primitive and animalistic state. The animalistic side of the virus has resulted in the turned humans exhibiting behavior more akin to creatures of the animal kingdom. In the case of the Screamer, his constant cries mimic that of many animals who are known to produce a loud screaming sound when scared, angry, annoyed, or in pain. Likewise, they will continue to make these loud sounds for as long as they are kept in an uncomfortable position. Much like zekes groaning out of instinct, however, this ability is an accident as well. For as noisy, annoying, and difficult the Screamer is, he is likely not doing what he does intentionally even if he is doing it so frequently. The Screamer, having been a loud person in life, would likely have the capability to scream louder than the average zeke. Any damage he may have done to his vocal muscles from overuse would likely no longer be a concern, allowing full use of his screams without any issues. As a zeke, screaming may have become a habit which is why he would constantly does it once agitated enough. His attached megaphone is simply a convenience that allows him to draw the attraction of zekes from greater distances that make him such a unique threat.

What makes the Screamer stand out from the rest of the zekes is how he will stand still in one spot instead of chasing the survivors even if they are in plain view from a relatively short distance. Although his eyes have gone entirely white, this likely has no bearing on his ability to detect survivors since he is just as capable of tracking them as good as any other zeke once approached. Regular zekes that become aware of a survivor's presence only perform a single loud noise before maintaining a constant low growl as they give chase. Even if the survivors manage to get close enough to the Screamer to get him to chase after them, he will still stop in place every so often to perform another ear-bleeding scream. One possible reason for his oddly passive behavior is that the Screamer is not immune to his own screams. The noise the Screamer makes has proven to be loud enough to cause nearby survivors to suffer temporary dizzying effects. It might be possible that the noises he makes disorientate him to a certain degree as well. Given how frequently he performs his shouts, it is likely he is putting himself in a feedback loop where the effects of his own loud screams makes him ineffective at detecting survivors and without a spot to run towards causes him to remain in place. This could be why he will not actively chase after survivors unless they are close by as their nearby presence would be more easily detected and would not be hindered by his self-inflicted disorientation.

Related Achievements

There is one achievement related to the Screamer that can be earned.

Icon & Name Description Gamerscore (XB) Trophy (PS)
Effective communication.jpg

Effective communication

Mark special zombies 50 times 20 Bronze

Notes

  • Very oddly, the Screamer lacks sounds outside of his idle noises and all sound effects related to his scream attack. This makes him unusually quiet during most other animations such as when he's alerted to your presence (without immediately screaming), climbing, chasing survivors, etc.
  • The Screamer appears to be bald when looking up his sports helmet. However, looking closely at the holes on the helmet shows that he does have hair underneath it.
  • If an active Screamer is left alone long enough, and all of the zekes he summoned are killed, his screams will eventually stop summoning any more zekes and he will automatically die.

Tashaun getting an earful from a nearby Screamer twice

  • Prior to the release of World War Z: Aftermath, the Screamer's disorientation effect on survivors used to be different. In the past, getting caught within the Screamer's shockwave would cause the screen to become slightly blurry and wobble around uncontrollably while the game's audio got greatly muffled. The wobbling of the screen had a tangible effect on the player's aim.

Gallery

Zombies/Enemies
ZekeLurkerGasbagBullScreamerInfectorBomberRat PacksBooster
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