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DayZ will have a new lead designer soon. Dean "Rocket" Hall revealed today that he's leaving Bohemia Interactive and the zombie survival game he helped build.
In an interview with Eurogamer, Hall said that he'll step down from the Prague-based Bohemia by the end of 2014. He plans to return to his home country of New Zealand to form a new studio. The exact timeline is up in the air, though. He'd consider staying longer if the development team needed him.
"Originally I wasn't going to do this year, but it would be stupid not to, and it would be unfair to the community. I have to be on the project as long as it's important to. Whether that role is as the leader, whether that role is in a more creative sense... But at a certain point there will be diminishing returns."
Hall first released DayZ as a free mod for military shooter Arma 2 in 2012. The game challenges players to stay alive in a zombie-infested country. They have to constantly forage for food and water to stay alive. Players also have to find weapons and ammo so they can defend themselves against zombies or other players.
DayZ's punishing, sandbox gameplay quickly found an audience. The mod made Arma 2 one of the top-selling games on Steam. Recognizing the sales potential of a full-fledged DayZ game, Bohemia hired Hall to develop DayZ Standalone.
DayZ Standalone is currently in alpha, with many features missing or incomplete at the moment. For example, Bohemia plans to add driveable vehicles and player-made buildings in time. Hall's upcoming departure means that the development team will have to finish the project without his guidance. Still, he admits that he'll still play some sort of role in the game's future development even after he leaves Bohemia.
"I'll be always involved," he said. "I would be surprised, and Bohemia would as well - I remember talking about this with [Bohemia CEO Marek Spanel]... I'll always be involved with it; there's no way to escape it."
Bohemia, for their part, told Eurogamer that Hall told them of their departure before the report broke. They expect to make "a lot of progress" in 2014 and in the years ahead.
Hall said in the interview that he already has five ideas for new games to pursue with his unnamed new company. These ideas, like DayZ, are mostly based around multiplayer or survival.