Post-zombocalyptic multiplayer survival game DayZ has finally left Early Access after 5 years, following a troubled and heavily protracted development cycle.
DayZ “1.0” brings with it base-building, a newer engine, and, perhaps most tantalisingly, the start of modding support. According to community manager Tim Pulsmeier, “the 1.0 launch should feel like a fresh new start for anyone who has not played DayZ for quite some time”.
To celebrate the launch, DayZ will be free to play all this weekend. If you’ve never experienced what it’s like to be held up by a group of bandits who demand you give them your clothes before force-feeding you disinfectant, now’s your chance.
DayZ began life as an ARMA 2 mod back in April 2012. Its unique blend of harsh survival elements, human player interaction, persistent servers and the ever-looming threat of permadeath saw it achieve huge mainstream success, and a standalone version was eventually announced in August of the same year.
However, subsequent to the release of DayZ standalone on Steam’s Early Access program in December 2013, a plethora of issues befell the project. The mod’s creator, Dead “Rocket” Hall, departed the studio in early 2014, recognising in an interview with Eurogamer that, “[DayZ] was a fundamentally flawed concept”. This caused widespread anger amongst fans, and the future of the standalone was left in the balance.
A short time later, after a developer reshuffle, a decision was made to rewrite the engine being used to power DayZ, which was originally running on ARMA 2’s dated Real Virtuality engine. Called Enfusion, this bespoke engine would purportedly be better equipped to realise the potential of DayZ – something that the existing engine could not achieve. This decision is generally considered to be the cause of the game’s prolonged development, and the eventual results have been received poorly by fans.
DayZ’s price on Steam will rise to £31.99/$44.99/€27.99 on Monday, 17 December, owing to its full release. Bohemia Interactive have assured players that the game will continue to receive support indefinitely.