It had been hinted at for some time that Sony Online Entertainment was working on… something sandbox-flavored. Today, we finally got confirmation and some juicy, juicy details, direct from the mouth of John Smedley, who went on Game Talk Live to spill the canned beans.
The name “H1Z1” refers to a virus that spawns a plague of — yep — zombies that players will have to outwit, outrun, and outmaneuver to survive. Oh, and there will be other players trying to do the same — while also trying to kill you and take your stuff.
“Everyday life in the Apocalypse means dealing with all kinds of wild animals and the brutality of other survivors,” Smedley said, “as well as finding your next meal and a safe place to sleep. It also means scavenging or crafting anything that can help you live just one more day.”
If all of this sounds familiar to you, well, you’re not alone. “Zombie survival” is a still-new genre essentially created by DayZ and continued by games like Rust, Project Zomboid, and (sadly) The War Z/Infestation: Survivor Stories. In addition to the basic “kill or be killed” gameplay, SOE will include tools, via their Forgelight engine, for base-building, weapon-crafting, and a player-driven economy, and will also be hosted on centralized servers, some potentially supporting different rule sets. While the world will start out as fairly small, Smedley promises that it will grow to a truly massive size, including “urban cities and desolate wide open places. All connected seamlessly.” You can read Smedley’s description of the game here.
Also, you can set things on fire. Because why not?
So, we’ve got a free-to-play DayZ, in the PlanetSide 2 engine, with elements of EverQuest Next/Landmark. That sounds pretty good to me. How about you?
UPDATE: John Smedley has taken to Reddit to ask about people’s opinions on how H1Z1 can be monetized. Make your voice heard here!