Since its inception as an Arma 2 mod, DayZ has been one of the most popular zombie games around. What makes the game so popular, however, isn't because of zombies, but rather the interactions players have with others. After all, you have more to fear from the living than the dead in a zombie apocalypse, or something like that. Now Sony wants to try its hand at a similar game with an even stupider name.
Sony Online Entertainment announced this week that it's working on a new free-to-play MMO called H1Z1. The game will be coming to the PC and PS4 with an Early Access version hitting Steam in the coming weeks. Here's how SOE described it in the game's newly minted subreddit:
Our vision for this game is very simple but ambitious. We are starting with what I would call “Middle America” – an “anywhere and everywhere” town. The world is massive as you’ve come to expect from our games. Over time we will grow the world until we have our own version of the U.S. after the death and destruction brought on during the H1Z1 epidemic. It will be our own version of America. We’ll have urban cities and desolate wide open places. All connected seamlessly. Our focus is building a sandbox style of gameplay where players can build shelters out of resources in the world. They can even work together to make amazing fortresses complete with weaponry to help defend against both the Infected and other players. Players also have access to a very deep crafting system that can let players make a huge variety of awesome stuff, including weapons (I made a 1911 the other day) and things like Molotov cocktails, explosives.. and other fun surprises.
It certainly sounds promising, but it also sounds like pretty much every other zombie MMO out there right now. SOE anticipated that reaction and says that H1Z1 will set itself apart from the pack:
First off, it’s a persistent MMO that can hold thousands of players on servers we host (yes there will be multiple servers with very different rule sets). Why is that a good thing? It means a thriving economy (oh yes… there’s trading). It also means you have potential allies in the all-out war on the Infected... and many an enemy as well. ... The main thing that differentiates H1Z1 from the other great games in the genre is the emphasis we are putting on player ownership and building. We want you to be able to form roving gangs that are headquartered out of an abandoned warehouse that you’ve taken over... or a house you’ve built from scratch after having cut trees down and secured the resources to make it. We are giving players the tools to make their own towns, camps and defenses, and they can decide how to set up their base
While its hard to compete with DayZ these days when it comes to open world zombie games, SOE seems to at least have an interesting concept on its hands with H1Z1. The idea that players can build up the world as they see fit is certainly enticing and may just bring some people over out of curiosity alone. That may not be enough, however, if H1Z1 lacks the emergent gameplay found in experiences like DayZ. Sony is going to have to take a hands off approach with this title and let the player community run rampant if they want it to become as popular as DayZ.
SOE says they'll be showing off gameplay from H1Z1 next week during a live playtest. The details haven't been announced yet, but you can keep checking back at the game's official subreddit to find out more.[h/t: Kotaku] Image via H1Z1.com