Admitting that DayZ has a long way to go before it’s even a good game, let alone a great one, Dean Hall took to the stage at EGXRezzed to present for the first time anywhere his plans for the game in 2014 and its impressive sales so far.
DayZ is a zombie survival game, currently in its alpha testing phase. It started life as a mod for war simulator Arma 2.
The next update for DayZ will arrive in 2 weeks at best, or the end of April. Hall admitted that road-mappping and delays had almost become synonymous with the game, but hopes that realistic goals for this year will improve matters. The update will introduce crossbows and bows and arrows, and the arrows will stay in their targets, allowing you to retrieve them if you want.
Fireplaces are also on the way. They will allow you to cook, and can be upgraded into permanent ovens where ‘you can bake bread’. Hall joked that he could stop his presentation after such a major announcement!
For the rest of the year, lots of features are on the way. Throwable items, rag-doll physics and weather stood out for me. You’ll be able to throw any item you can pick up, and they will have ‘realistic physics’ that depends on what they are made of. Rag-doll physics means that all players will look better when they fall, and it will also allow you to drag bodies around, and should result in better looking injuries.
Weather, like snow and wind, will affect your player. You’ll feel the cold, and wind will affect your aim. Hall said how they illustrate wind direction while keeping the experience ‘immersive’ is still to be decided.
DayZ’s artifical intelligence is also being improved. This is good news, as currently zombies sometimes try to attack through walls. This will be fixed with improved path-finding for all AI beings in the game, including animals.
Six new animals are planned for 2014, but Hall didn’t reveal what they will be. One point is to allow players to go hunting to improve their chances of survival (or get killed by aggressive predators). As well as hostile and passive animals, there will be companion animals too.
Other features coming to DayZ before its planned ‘finished’ release in Q1 2015 are barricading, vehicles, modding support, Steam achievements, and persistent horticulture. He said that a challenge for his team was to balance realism with fun in DayZ. Some people might find a hyper realistic apocalyptic game fun, but Hall thinks that such a game would be too hard and draining for most players. Nevertheless, DayZ has to be believable – the survival and immersion elements of the game are essential for him.
Dean Hall also announced the game’s download and sales figures. The original mod, which can be downloaded for free has over 2 million downloads, whereas the standalone version which is being developed by Hall and his team has already sold 1.7 million copies.
Stay tuned for more news from EGX Rezzed 2014.