Daybreak splits H1Z1 into two games, drops free-to-play model

H1Z1 split into 'King of the Kill' and 'Just Survive'

Daybreak Game Company is shaking things up with its post-apocalyptic, zombie-survival title H1Z1 in a big way. In short, Daybreak is splitting the game into two indepedent, unique games that offer completely different experiences. 

H1Z1: King of the Kill is being billed as "large-scale, high-intensity multiplayer shooter" comprised of numerous "fight-to-the-death" game modes.

H1Z1: King of the Kill

“H1Z1: King of the Kill is all about the spectacle,” said Jens Andersen, Executive Creative Director of Daybreak Games.  “All of the game modes will feature unique gameplay elements that invite prowess, chaos, glory, and a little bit of ridiculousness all into one fight. The next game mode we introduce will make vehicles an important part of the exhibition, adding another layer of energy and turbulence to the mix as players have to move rapidly to different areas of the map in order to stay alive.”

H1Z1: King of the Kill

H1Z1: Just Survive is focused more on the survival aspect of the original game, "delivering a persistent, post-apocalyptic, open-world zombie experience where scavenging, crafting and base-building are the difference between life and death."

H1Z1: Just Survive

“H1Z1: Just Survive development will remain focused on creating an open-world survival experience," Andersen added. "We are working on creating a world that’s immersive, that captures the mindset of the last remaining humans trying to survive a post-apocalyptic zombie-filled wasteland – what does it feel like to be forced to scavenge for resources, to have to construct shelters to live, to aid or hinder the last remnants of human civilization? It’s a richer gameplay experience and we want to make sure we do it justice.”

H1Z1: Just Survive

Here's the real kicker, though; Daybreak Game Company is no longer planning to make H1Z1 free-to-play in the future, as was the original plan. H1Z1 was originally billed as a free-to-play game (with microtransactions), allowing fans early access to the game for just $20. That no longer appears to be the case.

Both games will be available on PC through Steam Early Access fror $19.99 each on February 17, 2016. However, if you already own or purchase H1Z1 on or before the 16th, you will be granted both games upon the separation, so that's cool. 

As for the reason behind the split, Daybreak Games' Chief Publishing Officer Laura Naviaux issued the following explanation:

“Since its release last year on Steam Early Access, we’ve had more than 2.5 million downloads of H1Z1 and rank as the number four top selling game on Steam of 2015 releases. We launched H1Z1 as an Early Access title to allow the player community to help shape our development. Over the course of development, we discovered it had evolved into two unique gaming experiences, appealing to two distinct communities. Fostering lasting communities is the bedrock of our organization, and by allowing these worlds to exist independently and grow in their own distinguished ways, we can better deliver on a consistent vision and clear roadmap for each game toward official release and beyond.”

Both games are being developed independently of each other with dedicated teams assigned to each. King of the Kill will come out of Early Access and launch simultaneously on PC, the PS4, and Xbox One this summer. Just Survive will remain in Early Access through the end of hte year.