We're finally about to see some meaningful progress on DayZ, the beleagured survival game that spawned a dozen imitators. Eugen Harton, lead producer at developers Bohemia, says it will relaunch with a new engine on PC "in a couple of weeks."
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Speaking with PCGamesN at [email protected] - an event for Microsoft's indie label - Harton says:
"We're releasing DayZ on a new engine in a couple of weeks on PC, and it's gonna be coming to Game Preview on Xbox this year. That's basically our aim. I would almost say it's a reboot of DayZ on PC."
Harton shied away from confirming that this constitutes the game's long-awaited launch from Early Access, where it has dwelt for over four years. Last we heard, they were aiming to achieve a 1.0 release later this year.
A few years ago, DayZ was all the rage, but it has long since been overtaken by its many imitators and spin-offs. First there was H1Z1, and then PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, which is fitting: just as DayZ began as a mod for 2010's Arma II, so did Brendan 'PlayerUnknown' Greene make his first battle royale game in DayZ. Circle of life.
Asked if he's worried about the surge of competition, Harton is happy to admit that "the hardcore simulation we're working on is not gonna compete with PUBG. It's not gonna compete with Fortnite." But he argues that Fortnite appeals to children, and PUBG to competitive types. "I think we have a different customer. I'm pretty sure of that."
What he does hope to see is old-school streamers, who perhaps started in DayZ, coming home and introducing the relaunched game to a new audience. "It might not become a mainstream thing, but that's not our customer. I'm okay with that. I know what game I'm making - I don't want to appeal to everybody."
Appealing to consoles, where the choice of battle royales and survival games is thinner than on PC, is another part of the plan. "I still feel like we have not hit our peak. This is the year of DayZ."