Zombies certainly got their fair share of action in video games over the course of 2012. The Walking Dead thrilled, Resident Evil 6 spilled, and ZombiU chilled. While there was no shortage of options for the devoted undead fan, DayZ stood above the competition as potentially the most revolutionary and unique game about flesh eating monsters. It’s not even a game per se. As of now, DayZ is still a particularly impressive multiplayer mod developed by Dean Hall for Bohemia Interactive’s military sim ArmA II. The mod proved so popular, though, that Bohemia wanted to make it a full game and release it in time for Christmas. That may not happen according to Hall.
“Due to the success of the development so far, and the interest in the project in general, we decided we want to do things properly,” says Hall in the latest update on the official DayZ site, “ This means we have been very bold with our architectural changes. We are moving to the server-client MMO architecture model. We are making weapons and items ‘entities,’ meaning we can support customization and variables assigned against items.
“This is a massive departure from the previous engine,” Hall continues, “While the graphics may look the same (for now), under the hood so much is being completely rewritten.”
Naturally changing DayZ into its own game rather than an alteration of an existing game and its assets is an involved, complex process. The undertaking may well push DayZ into 2013.
“We are still working towards a target for an initial foundation before the end of the year. But we will slip this date if needed, we will not compromise the project for the short-term gain of meeting this date.”
Hall and Bohemia’s willingness to keep the development process transparent, as well as to miss out on a potentially lucrative shopping season for games, is laudable to say the least. An online multiplayer game of DayZ’s scope needs to work as good as it possibly can before it’s released in order to build the best possible community, and there are only so many lessons it can use from the extended beta test offered by the mod-playing community to build a perfect standalone game.
DayZ should be a success even if it misses its 2012 release date. The mod gained more than 1 million players over its first six months.