Last week Dean “Rocket” Hall expressed grave disappointment over the outcome of WarZ, the knockoff game that tried to steal DayZ's thunder. Well, the good news is that Dean “Rocket” Hall and crew at Bohemia Interactive have decided to take it easy after the fallout, and by all means they really should. In fact, everyone at Bohemia Interactive needs to really take their time on the DayZ standalone...as much time as they need.
For those of you who don't know, PC Gamer has a recap about Dean Hall's trepidatious response to the malfeasance that befell WarZ.
Just to get you up to speed: Hammerpoint Interactive announced WarZ just around the time Arma II had moved more than a million copies thanks to the DayZ mod for Arma II. It became a race to see who would get their open-world survival, post-apocalyptic standalone game out first: Hammerpoint or Bohemia. Well, rumblings in the fanboy circles claimed WarZ was in development long before DayZ and that it wasn't a ripoff. However, after rushing the WarZ to the market gamers realized that a lot of the content on the fact sheets weren't in the game; the team got caught in some information flubs, and basically they were called out on a scam that resulted in their game being pulled from digital distributors. It turns out that WarZ really was a tossed-together idea trying to cash-in on the fame of DayZ.
Anyway, the entire time that Hammerpoint's mess unfolded for the world to see, Dean “Rocket” Hall and crew have been slaving away on the standalone version of DayZ, originally planned for release just before this year ended...but thankfully it looks like it's going to make an early 2013 release instead. To this I say, good!
Let's be real about all of this, a lot of gamers want DayZ to succeed. We want to see the idea fully realized and the potential maximized in a way that could never happen in mainstream gaming. Heck, if the alpha is solid and playable I'll pay extra just to play it! The main thing is that the base is solid, the gameplay works and the groundwork is laid out. Most gamers won't mind paying an entry fee so long as they know the good stuff comes down the pipeline, a little like Minecraft.
While I imagine Hall is kind of feeling like he's under an anvil of stress, I think it's important for the team and gamers to remember that DayZ was first. The concept is already there. All the come-along, cash-in games announced are just that, and they're all trying to reshape their experiences to suit what gamers fell in love with in DayZ. Realistically, these imitators are far off from completion because most were attuned to a different kind of experience and they're now trying to get a re-mold to become something else. Realistically Hall has nothing to worry about, he and his crew know exactly what kind of experience to deliver and DayZ is the only one that seems to have the right formula worked out for the time being.
Now this isn't to say that somewhere in mid or late 2013 another competitor won't emerge, but it is saying that the WarZ was a perfect example of a product rushed to the market to cash in on another game's foundation, and publishers wasting time, money and resources to "cash in" just isn't profitable in the long run. Now, it's to easy imagine most publishers will want to get a slightly more sound base established before dethroning DayZ, and this gives Hall most of the first half of 2013 to get things in order.
I know gamers might seem impatient...begging for info, screens and media all the time, but in reality gamers just want a solid product to stand behind. Now if DayZ is legit then it'll easily become an iconic and historic landmark in the annals of the historic cultural of interactive entertainment. I'm really hoping it hits that benchmark, too.
Bohemia Interactive has one shot to launch DayZ right and they need to launch it with solid gameplay. It was pretty obvious the standalone version of the game wasn't going to make the 2012 release window but here's hoping Dean and crew takes their time and releases DayZ when it's ready and not because a scam artist is trying to compete for a little market share value.