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Sony Online Entertainment's open-world, zombie survival game has finally landed on Steam's Early Access platform. However, it's not playable just yet. The long wait for the game requires a bit more patience, as the Early Access page makes it known when the game will become playable.
SOE kept their promise of announcing that the game would head into Early Access this month. Today, the game arrived on Steam's digital storefront for Early Access but the game itself won't unlock until January 15th. This means you'll get to spend some time in the community forums and scoping out the brand new screenshots.
Of course, being in Early Access doesn't mean the game is complete, it means that the game has a long ways to go before completion but the developers want player feedback and build a reputable roadmap based on what works and what doesn't.
As mentioned on the Steam page...
“At Early Access launch players can expect to see initial iterations of crafting, base building, combat, vehicles, circle-of-death, day / night cycle, weather, player vitals, hunting & forging, and, of course, Zombies, in the game. Players should anticipate an evolving feature set, bugs, incomplete content, missing features, and potentially game breaking issues. The H1Z1 development team will continue to create new features and may make significant changes based on the needs of the game and feedback from the players.”
You have to admit that they've set about to offering a bit more depth to the gameplay right out of the gate than Bohemia Interactive's initial launch of DayZ's standalone. Then again, it's not entirely fair to compare the two given that SOE is known for making MMOs and Bohemia Interactive specializes in military simulators. Quite naturally, the biggest hurdle Bohemia faced was getting the MMO-style network infrastructure setup for DayZ. In fact, the whole network setup set them behind by nearly a whole year as they struggled to get the software up to par to what they needed it to be able to handle.
In the case of H1Z1, SOE already has the network groundwork laid out nice and clean. They've been working with MMOs for years and have successfully launched titles like DC Universe Online and Planetside 2 in recent years, so this sort of thing is right up their alley.
The real question is how well the survival simulation elements will play out. SOE may be known for MMOs of various types, but the emergent survival genre is uncharted territory; killing on sight and the randomness of player behavior without safe zones and restrictions really changes the mood of the game.
Right now a lot of gamers are very excited about the possibilities of H1Z1, even though president of SOE, John Smedley, mentioned that their game won't be better than DayZ's current state, which has improved greatly since it originally became available back in late 2013.
H1Z1 already has a few features going for it right out of the gate, such as crude base building, a dynamic ecosystem where the animals and zombies fight each other as well as attack the player, and a weather system that will affect the condition of players.
You can check out H1Z1 over on the Steam page right now. The game doesn't fully unlock until January 15th.