When Dean “Rocket” Hall released his Day Z mod to the ARMA II community it was bug ridden, prone to constant crashes, heavy latency and sudden stat wipes. But those that played it persevered, why? By combining ARMA’s realism with a zombie infested island and encouraging both collaborative and competitive multiplayer by making all resources incredibly scarce, Mr. Hall gave birth to a whole new first person phenomenon that could stand side by side with the best of the rogue likes.
Day Z was recently released as a standalone product and the mod’s creator now works for ARMA’s developer Bohemia Interactive. As is the case for anything that becomes popular, games like State of Decay, Rust, Nether, ZombiU and the horrible and blatant Day Z ripoff Infestation: Survivor Stories, formerly known as the War Z, all riffed on Day Z’s template while trying to capture the magic that made it such a runaway hit. None have been able to do so, but none, besides Nintendo with ZombiU, had the capital to support those titles regardless of their initial success. They were either an immediate success or they faded into obscurity. Even with Nintendo’s support ZombiU didn’t have a chance to reach critical mass because no one wanted to buy the only game playing machine that could play it.
Yesterday Sony hinted that they would be revealing a new open world sandbox game today, and what do you know, it’s a PC exclusive (for now), first or third person, free to play, open world, zombie-themed, MMO called H1Z1. Â It looks at first blush to combine the scale of Planetside 2, the base building of Rust, the fire tech of (hopefully) Far Cry 2 and the corpse running of Demon’s Souls. Since the announcement the developers have been bombarding the H1Z1 subredditÂ with information about the gameplay systems, technology and release information, which will supposedly be in the next two months, at least for a playable Alpha.
The game looks solid, the systems seem interesting, the graphics are of a generally high quality considering the scale of the game, but it simply brought to mind something I was thinking about with regards to film, why do all the little guys have to be the torch bearers of innovation when the gigantic companies that have less to risk by investing in new ideas simply iterate on that little guy’s ideas if he somehow manages to succeed?
The first playable alpha of H1Z1 will be released on the PC in the next 4-6 weeks.