SOE on what makes H1Z1 different from other zombie survival games
Despite 432 Call of Duty games, 523 Battlefield games, and countless other generic first-person shooters, it's the zombie-survival genre that's oversaturated, according to many gamers. After all, we already have DayZ. Isn't that the end-all, be-all of zombie-themed games? You'd think so based on some of the comments I've seen about H1Z1. Gamers want to know what makes SOE's upcoming game different. So while I was getting a hands-off look at H1Z1, I asked senior designer Jimmy Whisenhunt exactly that -- what makes H1Z1 stand apart from DayZ or Rust.
"One of the biggest things is depth of crafting, and character in general. It's personal crafting with the world so you're affecting the world and constantly crafting things with yourself in an MMO space. It's not a smaller server, you're dealing with lots and lots of layers in a growing world," Whisenhunt said. Comparatively, DayZ is server-based on a smaller scale, so the aspect of H1Z1 being an MMO with thousands of other players is one of the key differences.
Being an MMO with massive servers won't necessarily restrict the types of gameplay experiences you can have with H1Z1 either.
"On top of that, we're leveraging Planetside and the Forgelight Engine," he continued. "We have so many systems that we can flip on and off, and per server we can do a lot of things. One of the coolest things is we can leverage anything from a squad, to a platoon, to an outfit if we need the social features later on. We feel very modular about it. We love the genre, look, it's a playground for us."
One of the key selling points, for me at least, was SOE's server rule sets and the ability to launch additional servers with various settings based on what the players want.
"We will allow players to vote on what the next server will be," Whisenhunt told me, explaining that they have the ability to tweak aspects of the game, like the number of zombies or the difficulty of them based on what players want. "So if they want a PvE server where people are less common and zombies are less hardcore, or more hardcore, we can do that," he said.
Whisenhunt told me they are "really close" to an Early Access for H1Z1, and as we learned yesterday it is already playable in Steam. SOE is waiting to announce a date until more features are complete, but company president John Smedley said it should be "fairly soon."