H1Z1, Sony Online Entertainment’s newest MMORPG, is getting onboard the hype train and is successfully riding itself through gamers brains getting them all excited for the upcoming paid Alpha test. Whilst lots of small tidbits are flowing out of SoE like a small burst drain pipe, the question of its origins is still being raised.
H1Z1 is a clear reaction to the popular, multiplayer, zombie, survival horror game DayZ. DayZ started off as a mod for ARMA 2 (a military simulation game), however has since grown into its own standalone game. John Smedley, President of SOE, admits that the game is based off the hit title saying “We’re proud to be up front and say we love Day Z and the job they’ve done and we hope they enjoy what we make too.” He also added that the benefit of this game from SoE is that it’ll have a dedicated team behind it who’ll be able to produce consistent content for the game. This is something that will resonate with fans of DayZ, as wait ever longer for the game to officially come out of “Early Access” status and launch.
John Smedley even tweeted to a fan: “I happen to think Day Z is an incredible game. H1Z1 wouldn’t exist if not for Day Z. I don’t want to run from that.” So SOE are open about H1Z1’s relationship with DayZ, and how the chicken came before the egg (or is it egg before the chicken?) which is a lot better than how most developers/publishers operate within the mobile gaming sector of the industry. Those guys will copy/paste everything from another person’s game, and then pretend that they’re the original developers. Smedley has to be applauded for his honesty and open nature. It’s refreshing, and something which the gaming section of Sony has done an awful lot of recently.
But does that make the fact that H1Z1 is a clone of DayZ okay? Well first off, that’s how capitalism works, so we can’t really fault it. That aside, it seems that H1Z1 is taking the DayZ template and appears to be building on it quicker than DayZ’s developers are. H1Z1 is adding elements, such as fire, crafting and structural building, which seem a long way off from DayZ (if they’re going to be added to the game at all!).
H1Z1 isn’t a flat out copy from DayZ then. Rather it’s building on the foundation laid out by DayZ.
Of course even if H1Z1 wasn’t building on DayZ’s foundation from a gameplay perspective, the fact that the world is larger, and can house more players, bringing a certain MMO element to the genre, is surely more than enough.
In fact what gamers seem to be reacting less positively to is that H1Z1 is another game with zombies in it, which I can understand. Then again zombies are safe. They’re mainstream, generally a large portion of players will never grow tired of zombies, and games with the monsters in tend to sell pretty well.
Fortnite, the upcoming free-to-play game from Unreal Games, is a multiplayer, zombie, survival game as well. However instead of adopting a “realistic” art style like H1Z1 and DayZ, it goes for a more cartoony style. This change in artistic direction makes the whole experience feel refreshing. The zombies in the game aren’t also stereotypical zombies, but rather a merging of zombies and monsters. Of course Fortnite, as a game, feels more like a cross between Mincraft, Left 4 Dead and Orcs Must Die! This is different from H1Z1 which feels more like a straight-out clone.
I do feel excited to play H1Z1 though. Having played DayZ and determining that it is just to “hardcore” for me and I’ll admit the various walls the game throws up, stopping you from playing with friends annoyed me a lot. In between the constant dying from either zombies or other players, and the horrible controls and UI, I didn’t have a lot of fun with it. It just wasn’t a game I could get into, just like the Dark Souls series.
If SOE can get rid of some of those annoying features of DayZ, I’d be a happy man if they just fixed the horrible, clumsy UI which feels like I’m stabbing myself in the eyes with forks every time I use it, then I’d a happy man and a happy player.
So then, is it okay that H1Z1 is a “clone”, I use the term loosely in this particular case, of DayZ? In my honest opinion yes. Though there will be, without a doubt, those DayZ fans who won’t move from the game no matter what other titles get offered to them, however I feel like there is a large enough audience who want something like DayZ, but without the drama/issues that come with the standalone version of the game.
Of course I’m not going into H1Z1 expecting some watered-down version of DayZ, the SOE developers have made it very clear that their version of the multiplayer, zombie survival horror game will be just as “hardcore” as it’s competitor. However what I am expecting is a better version of DayZ. I feel slightly awful writing that, because DayZ is already pretty good (good enough to sell over a million copies on its first few weeks on the market), it’s just there could be so much more.
In this case DayZ has provided the foundation, and SOE are taking the developers up on the challenge and building ontop of it. Let’s just hope that they don’t mess it up.Related: DayZ, H1Z1, Sony Online Entertainment, Zombies