The latest H1Z1 producer’s letter has arrived, this one focusing on the Just Survive half of the now-split zombie survival sandbox. Daybreak begins by saying that it will continue to balance trade delays, which were instituted to help the devs “deal with significant organized fraud being attempted against the marketplace.” The studio aims to “make changes going forward to try [to] find that balance between convenience and fraud control.”
As to Just Survive, Daybreak says it had planned to push out its zombie update on Friday, but things didn’t go to plan.
“This update failed internally and as we started to unravel it, we determined that it would be easier to cease that effort and begin getting ready for a full update to our test servers which had not happened in some time. We are in the final stages of testing that update right now.”
The new patch will include those zombies, plus better zombie AI, a test for base building restrictions, and a visual upgrade. Expect it on Wednesday.
Last month, we asked Daybreak Senior Game Designer Salim Grant about the state of H1Z1 and the split.
Massively OP: How long had the split been planned? Why did Daybreak decide to charge $20 for each half rather than $10?
Daybreak’s Salim Grant: H1Z1 has really progressed since its release on Steam Early Access last year. We’ve sold more than 2.5 million copies, it was the number four top selling game on Steam of 2015 releases, and it was the 6th most watched game last year on Twitch. During development, both the game and the community grew tremendously, evolving into two really unique gaming experiences. Our players even started to notice just how different the games and communities were, and they repeatedly suggested on the forums, through social media and on YouTube for us to split the games. Because of all this, we decided to separate H1Z1 and as of the 17th, we now have two games: fight-to-the-death spectacle, H1Z1: King of the Kill, and open-world zombie survival game, H1Z1: Just Survive.
Our audience has seemed more interested in the more MMO-like survival sandbox half of the game, and now there’s hope that it won’t be left in the dust of the more popular battle royale module. Can you discuss how much support each team will be getting? Are players correct in believing the teams are roughly equal and that both halves will receive the same development time going forward?
We plan to fully support both titles and have separate, dedicated development teams for King of the Kill and Just Survive. We are establishing a Just Survive roadmap that is independent from King of the Kill and with two teams, we can refine our focus on creating a persistent, open-world zombie survival experience. Additionally, the longer development cycle will really benefit the game by allowing us to create really robust scavenging, crafting and base-building features for Just Survive.
We also asked Daybreak about the rationale for the abandonment of the original F2P plan, whether that was part of Daybreak’s anti-F2P shift in general, and what it would say to players who purchased the game a year ago on the belief that the game would stick to its planned model. In response, Daybreak directed us to another interview, in which CPO Laura Naviaux is quoted as saying,
“At that point in time there was the thinking that this game would potentially be free-to-play. However, as the market landscape has changed, I think that us as a publisher, in addition to the rest of the industry, has seen how quickly business models are evolving and we’re paying a lot of attention to that. Let’s face it, we live in a democratized world where players and consumers have so much that they have to choose from and at their disposal. … We need to pick appropriate business models on a per-product basis, and what’s best for H1Z1 is to have a modest download fee with optional microtransactions.”