SOE Live 2014: When you can expect H1Z1 early access
Since H1Z1 has been announced two questions have surrounded it: if it'll be coming to PS4, and when we can expect early access on PC. One of those were answered last night, when SOE confirmed a PS4 version. As for early access on PC, well, looks like we'll have to wait.
“When we've got it to the type of acceptable quality level where the game's ready to go,” said technical director Tom Schenck when we asked him about early access. “That's the only answer we have.
“We've tried to put that out there as much as possible. We like to say things like 'soon', but that can be taken a lot of different ways. Point is, we have a list of stuff on the board. We've got to go through that list and there's got to be a quality product.”
“We have a status meeting every week and every week things get checked off or they don't get checked off because they're not ready yet,” added game designer Adam Clegg. “A big one being, zombie wearables. So a zombie can put a shirt on that is the shirt you are wearing. So they kind of look different and that's a big thing in the game so zombies don't all look the same. We want to make sure the quality level is there, so if it doesn't get checked off then we're not announcing a date. So we honestly don't know until we get checked off.”
A bit part of the development roadmap, according to Schenck, is making sure the core systems for H1Z1 are “somewhat reliable.”
“They don't have to be completely finished,” he said. “We don't have to have 100 different shirts in the game, but we need to have the system that makes 100 different shirts in the game and that's the first step. So once we have all those things in place we can go into early access.”
Clegg admitted that they technically could have released early access a long time ago, but it wouldn't have been anywhere near where it needs to be. As it is now, the core gameplay mechanics for a fun experience are in place, but it's still very raw.
“What we want is a game that people play after they play it day one,” Clegg said. “We could've released early access a long time ago, but I think it would've been in a state where a lot of people play it, they play it once and they're like 'okay, it's not there yet, I'll play it later,' and that never happens. They just never come back to it.
“We need player feedback,” he added. “We want to make sure it's an early access game where people are playing it every day and we're getting the feedback we need. So we can't release a game or product until we feel like it's an MMO standard of early access.”
After playing H1Z1 for about an hour, I can say that the core mechanics for a fun game are certainly in place, but there's certainly some work that still needs to be done. I don't think it's quite ready for early access, but it's getting there. Check out my full preview here.