The furore around SimCity’s always-online release tipped scales, snapped rulers, blew barometers and sent celestial calendars spinning in their sockets. But cosmic balance must be maintained. And so Bohemia find themselves in possession of an online game that, released today, would be always-offline.
We were told to expect a DayZ Standalone open alpha release in June, and we’re already braced for it to be “riddled with bugs”. So what’s behind the hold-up?
“The awkward thing is the only thing we’re waiting on is the core network architecture,” Dean ‘Rocket’ Hall told Joystiq at Gamescom. “That’s the kind of thing only a few people can work on.
“It’s very specialized,” he explained. “It’s like, you can’t throw more pilots at a plane. You put a thousand pilots in a plane it’s not going to fly any faster.”
In the meantime, the dev team’s artists, animators and designers are finding useful work for their idle hands. The enabling of blood slaves, for one thing. But once the architecture is done? “Bam, it’s go time.”
Don’t all rush in at once, though.
“I think the best thing that could happen is if DayZ fell off a little,” mused Hall. “I think if DayZ has a soft launch it’s the best thing that can happen to it. Because then a few people will play it and say, ‘This is cool, I want to play it with my friends’. The best thing that could happen.
“If most of the community who maybe thought DayZ was cool a year ago and now they think it’s lame, I think that’s probably good for us,” he added. “We don’t need to sell that many copies to break even. We want to be a hardcore game and I think if we make a good game people will come back.”
Do you reckon that’s realistic thinking on Hall’s part? Once the secret’s out and the rave articles and threads written, I’m not sure it can really all be stuffed back into the box marked ‘Relative Obscurity’.