“Not going to give some politically correct dodgy b.s. answer,” SOE president John Smedley wrote on Reddit. “[H1Z1] is a survival in a Zombie Apocalypse game. So is Day Z. [Bohemia] have made a brilliant game (first I might add). They have a great vision for it and can count myself and most of the people on our team as fans and contributors.”
So, how do they differ? Well, for one, SOE can spawn zombie hordes on servers whenever they’d like.
“Long term we plan on making this about a persistent world with a big landscape with thousands of players,” Smedley continued. “The way we would like to see this roll out is much more like players building small enclaves or pockets of territory and hold out against a legitimate zombie threat that's ever present while others go it alone taking their chances.
“We also want to make sure we have a deep in-game economy that is heavily dependent on crafting. Players will be able to become manufacturers - sell bullets, arrows, etc. The in-game economy will be entirely player driven.
“So this is our take on the Zombie Apocalypse with a lot of friends and hopefully some great enemies both living and dead. We're proud to be upfront and say we love Day Z and the job they've done and we hope they enjoy what we make too.”
Let’s get onto the important bits of what H1Z1 does that DayZ doesn’t. Because SOE are using the same technology that drives Planetside 2, their zombie game can have up to 2,000 players in a single instance. That means if you’ve built up a fort and it’s coming under attack from another player faction and a zombie horde at the same time things are going to get hectic.
Answering a question about how zombies will spawn in H1Z1, Smedley revealed that SOE will have the power to spawn zombie hordes whenever they like. “Zombies can be anywhere. We can spawn hordes live.” Meaning your fort could be attacked from the inside or you could be out scavenging in the plains when out of nowhere a few hundred zombies come over the horizon. We’re certainly going to be kept on our toes in H1Z1.
Unfortunately, Smedley also said that there are currently no female characters in the game. But “they will for sure be added however in a short timeframe (I can't say for sure when yet).”
One of the exciting plans for development is that, while the game’s Early Access release will be set only in rural America, as the game expands and develops, SOE will be adding abandoned cities for players to fight over. Within a few years they want to have a full and varied America to fight over.
You can read more of Smedley’s answers in the Reddit AMA. Expect to see the first release of H1Z1 on Steam towards the end of May.