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Sony's H1Z1 - A new challenger to DayZ's crown?

Carl Phillips
H1Z1, John Smedley, MMOs, PC games, Sony Online Entertainment

If DayZ and PlanetSide a baby - SOE unveil new F2P survival sandbox H1Z1

It wasn't too long ago that SOE president John Smedley was teasing an upcoming reveal for a previously unannounced title, and last night the veil was well and truly lifted. It's called H1Z1, and it's a survival horror sandbox title that will utilize the Forgelight engine - the same engine used to power PlanetSide 2 - with some tweaks brought over from Landmark to provide players with the tools to build safehouses and fortresses.

So in short it's DayZ + Rust x PlanetSide 2. But there's going to be more to it than that, if the initial reports are correct, although we do know for certain that the entire game will be Free 2 Play. We've got the initial video reveal for you to watch above, but we've gathered up all the interesting bits of info for you to look over after the jump.

Sony's H1Z1 - A new challenger to DayZ's crown?

As explained in a rather detailed post on reddit, H1Z1 is an MMO "in which players fight for survival in a world where death is the only sure thing", according to John Smedley. Set 15 years after the H1Z1 virus has decimated the population, players will need to scavenge to survive against zombies, wildlife, and other players in what is a sandbox experience. However, unlike some of the other online survival horror titles out there, H1Z1 will utilize persistent servers that will be able to host around 2000 players at the same time. This is mostly thanks to the Forgelight engine powering the game, as those of you who have played PlanetSide 2 will be able to confirm that SOE are able to create huge, seemless areas for players to explore.

Of course, with all that space you're going to need something to do, and H1Z1 has some very ambitious goals to ensure there is something to do besides the slaughter of zombies and other players. For starters, the creation tools in H1Z1 mean player will be able to build safehouses and put up barricades to defend themselves from the outside world (with Smedley even suggesting players could create their own Woodbury or take over a prison to relive their The Walking Dead fantasies.) On top of this, Smedley confirmed that the game will have a very rich and deep crafting system that will match the scale of the one formally used in Star Wars Galaxies, with farming mechanics to be included as well if players wish to take a more peaceful approach in between the slaughter. In fact, Smedley event went as far as suggesting that crafting would be one of the biggest aspects of the game.

Sony's H1Z1 - A new challenger to DayZ's crown?

The example of crafting that Smedley gave also confirmed the use of vehicles - players may find a repairable car, but will need to get a battery for it. To do that, they must find a new battery, charge it up ("maybe wait for a lightning strike or something," hinted Smedley), get some spark plugs, and even recover (or create) some bio-diesel just to get the car running. It was explained that aircraft could "very easily" be added to the game, but Smedley later clarified that there were no plans to include planes or helicopters at the moment.

Of course, slaughter will always be on the horizon, and the danger of perishing is something players will want to avoid thanks to a full loot system. What that basically means is that when you die, all your stuff remains on your corpse, ready to be looted by the first person to reach the decaying body in question. In short, it's a PvPer's wet dream. (What? Eurgh! - Ed.)

Sony's H1Z1 - A new challenger to DayZ's crown?

Those of you that have played PlanetSide 2 will know that the day / night cycle provides some intense night-time battles, but H1Z1 will up the ante by making the night ever darker, with an emphasis on torches being key to survival to ensure players aren't swarmed by a horde they had no idea was even there. That said, flaming torches have a secondary use that makes sense - they can be used to set things on fire. Smedley explained that most things such as trees and buildings (including player made structures - yikes) will be flammable, adding yet another tactical element to the gameplay.

And potentially horrific sieges. Oh god, I can see the flames destroying everything I virtually hold dear already.

Some other details to emerge from the reveal included that there will be customizable characters, that if you can run Planetside 2 "you can run H1Z1 better," and that hunting would also be a key part to the game thanks to the wildlife in the open world. On top of all of that there were three rather significant pieces of news to emerge. Firstly, while a PS4 version isn't currently in the works, Smedley rather blunted stated "Well, we are Sony," and considering PlanetSide 2's imminent arrival on the console it isn't too far fetched to think H1Z1 could make the jump as well. Secondly, the game will have an early access period where early adopters can help test out the game for $20-ish. Lastly, while we would be getting a steady stream of screenshots, trailers, and livestreams from now on, Smedley stated that everyone will have access to the game within the next four to six weeks.

Sony's H1Z1 - A new challenger to DayZ's crown?

And there you have it - pretty much all we know about the game so far. It certainly is am ambitious project for a game that will be F2P, and utilizing the Forgelight engine should ensure a stable foundation upon to build the game, but the proof really will be in the pudding, and frankly we can't wait to find out what it tastes like (yes, I clearly need some food right now.) While we will be keeping a close eye on this one, the questions right now is whether it will be able to overcome the existing survival zombie simulation king of DayZ, which hasn't had the smoothest of times recently. More importantly, is SOE's survival horror simulator with a heavy crafting aspect something you would be interested in playing? Let us know if H1Z1's reveal has piqued your interest in the comments!

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