Reports are coming in that something — and it’s not good — is happening with Z1 Battle Royale, the rebranded PC version of H1Z1 under the auspices of NantG and Daybreak Game Company. Several developers for the game have appeared to have lost their jobs or been reassigned, such as its former combat designer:
End of an era guys. Been a fun ride overall. Onto the next thing!!
— The Nottus (@iNOTTUS) April 4, 2019
And its community manager, who said that “it was a layoff for me and affected a couple of other people on the team as well.” Executive Producer Anthony Castoro is now calling himself “Former Executive Producer of @Z1battleroyale.”
Former CEO John Smedley, who no doubt still has contacts within Daybreak, also chimed in with his condolences:
sorry friends at Daybreak and NantG 🙁
— John Smedley (@j_smedley) April 4, 2019
As of this writing (about 6 p.m. Eastern), there’s no official word from Daybreak or NantG. We’ll update our piece when new information comes to light.
UPDATE: Lead Designer Adam “Arclegger” Clegg has been laid off.
Got laid off by NantG. Will write a tweet longer soon. We tried very hard to make it work and I couldn’t be more happier and proud of the people we worked with trying to make this happen. Love you all <3 H1 community will always be in my heart just like Planetside will.
— Arclegger (@Arclegger) April 4, 2019
UPDATE #2: Clegg has posted a much longer goodbye via TwitLonger. He thanks the players and most everyone else involved with the game, ranging from Anthony Castoro to John Smedley to Jimmy Whisenhunt to Jace Hall — about whom he said the game “would’ve been shut down a while ago I can guarantee that.” He also talked a little bit about the split of the H1Z1 BR mode from its survival roots, saying that he understood the move but “I don’t like how the survival team was handled afterwards and I feel like they deserved a better opportunity to thrive.” He also chimes in on the controversial Combat Update, saying that he “Was very against it” but “Pressure was on the executives to make a move, it was just the wrong one.”
UPDATE #3: NantG has posted a message to the Z1 Battle Royale Steam page, in which it states that it will be returning the game to Daybreak Game Company because “the road is still paved with many challenges that preclude us from long-term success, including the confusion it caused by having both NantG Mobile and Daybreak managing the same game under two separate brands.” The message also stated that, during the transition back to Daybreak, they “don’t foresee any issues of this affecting your experience with Z1BR.”
Sure, that part might be true. The game’s transition back to its old owners might go smoothly. But in the long term? The game no longer has a lead designer, executive producer, community manager, and countless others. Like a shambling, decaying zombie, Z1 Battle Royale or H1Z1 or whatever you want to call it is unquestionably dead — it just doesn’t realize it yet.