The War Z, a zombie-infested PC game with an upcoming closed beta was announced on July 19th, and in just 24 hours more than 100,000 people signed up to test it.
When you hear it, The War Z’s premise might sound familiar to you if you’ve had your ear to the virtual ground of the gaming world of late. That’s because its been hugely influenced by ArmA2 mod DayZ, probably the most successful mod of the twenty teens, or whatever we’re supposed to call this decade.
What’s worth bearing in mind before drawing too many conclusions about copycatting, is that the game has been knocking around as an idea in the minds of its makers for a couple of years now, as the FAQ on The War Z’s site will tell you. It’s also worth taking into consideration that developer Hammerpoint’s Eric Nordin has said “yes, of course some of our latest design decisions were influenced by the DayZ community forums" in an interview with IGN. So it’s a bit of both in terms of influence and originality.
The War Z is a massively multiplayer online hardcore game in which players are tasked with surviving a zombie apocalypse for as long as possible, like DayZ. It’s a sandbox title without any set quests by the devs, like DayZ. The world is massive, and completely open to exploration from the off, like DayZ. Players must find food, water and proper medical supplies in order to survive, like DayZ.
There are differences however; this has a dedicated dev team behind it, has been in the works for a while and is bound to be much more of a polished affair within environments built for purpose (though there are plans for DayZ to become a standalone title). DayZ has influenced some of The War Z’s finer elements but the main basis of the game seems to have been a simultaneous idea within the heads of Bohemia’s Dean Hall and the Hammerpoint team.
Players will be able to create quests and create rewards using in-game tools to facilitate the exchange of goods. People can leave notes about (don’t touch my cereal you thieves) for others to find and storyline is thus created through user experience and actions rather than pre-defined game lore. This has proved to work with DayZ incredibly well, and has spawned hundreds of thousands of interesting stories based on events in the game.
What’s cool to those without the spare cash to spend on a monthly installment is that the game’ll be a one-off payment. There’s no paid-for DLC, yet Hammerpoint plans to expand on the “Colorado” setting of the first map; New York, Los Angeles and Paris are already in the pipeline, and it doesn’t sound like they want to stop there.
There are micro-transactions involved, but these have deliberately been limited to making gameplay more convenient; you won’t be buying bigger guns.
There are two types of currency, Dollars and Gold Coins, and according to the FAQ: “Both can be used for barter between players if you want or to purchase certain consumables (food, medicine, ammo) at the General Store in one of the safe settlements and in the Marketplace in the frontend. Not all items that you find in the world will be purchasable, and by no means do you need to use the store at all - everything can be found in the game world.”
The War Z is currently in alpha. The closed beta is expected to be ready to play at the end of the summer. Sign up here if you fancy your chances.
Will you be buying it?