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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

H1Z1 vs DayZ - Which Will Survive

John Smedley, President of Sony Online Entertainment, recently posted a few more details about H1Z1 on the game's subreddit. He was upfront and frank about the questions that were asked, giving refreshingly honest answers. He did however gloss over a few and didn't answer some more. 

Luckily these were smaller worries addressed by redditors; aesthetic issues like kill notifications and glowing loot (although, I do hate glowing loot). There is also almost an hour of footage online which I will include after the jump. 

John Smedley really knows how to market a game. He just has a no bullshit approach that is pretty nice to see for a change. For example, check out his response when people compare H1Z1 to DayZ: 

"How is this different from Day Z? - saw this a lot. Not going to give some politically correct dodgy b.s. answer. It is a survival in a Zombie Apocalypse game. So is Day Z"  

He went on to say, "We're making the game we're making. Long term we plan on making this about a persistent world with a big landscape with thousands of players (...) [and] player built structures, forts and towns are one of the ways the players try to carve out some small space in a dangerous world."

Smedley confirmed that there will be first and third person views in the game, but that the third person view won't give you an advantage by having line of sight over obstacles as you do in DayZ. He also did mention that for now vehicles are third person only and that there are no female playable characters in the early access version of the game but that they will be added within a short time-frame.

The in-game economy will be entirely player influenced.  It will rely heavily on players crafting items to trade, like bullets or arrows.  They are really promising a lot with this game.  Let's hope that SOE can deliver here, I guess if anyone can they can.  The framework is already there from PS2, it's simply a case on building (a lot) on what is there already.

The early-access will be $19.99, or you can wait for the full release and pick it up for free. I know that I will be paying for early-access, I have to get my HQ up and ready, start acquiring colonies and prepare for a full scale invasion of the entire map. I'm coming for you Smedley.

So then the question becomes: "Can H1Z1 be a DayZ killer?"  Well I don't think that it wants to be, not overtly at least. I do however believe it will.  The development of the DayZ standalone is not exactly rocketing along (that just happened) and the mod for Arma II is still the more superior experience. SOE have the expertise and assets to get this done and to get it done right.

Make no mistake about what John Smedley has been saying up until now, he is under no illusion that for H1Z1 to be a huge success they need to take a huge bite out of the DayZ market. They are coming in strong with some early footage, tons of information, and a transparent marketing approach. It's a much different philosophy than what we have been seeing with DayZ recently.

I think that Bohemia have gotten a little too complacent with the spot that DayZ holds.  It did it the best when it originally came out, that doesn't mean it will keep that place.  A gauntlet has been thrown down by SOE and Bohemia really need to up their game by a large margin if they want to compete.

I'm not one for making judgements based on few facts, but right now it's not looking good for DayZ.  With that said, SOE aren't home free and clear yet either.  They have some serious work to put into this game, but they don't have a previous standard to meet. When DayZ launches proper this could all turn around but the way things stand now, unless Bohemia announce something huge that will be in the game (persistent worlds/a map the size of Russia) in the coming months we might just witness the death throes of a game that everyone, including myself, loves.
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