Rumor: Z1 Battle Royale, H1Z1’s PC version, seems to be in big trouble as devs confirm layoffs

    
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Note: We’ll be updating this piece at the end with the latest, and we’ve also put out a second piece here with NantG’s statement.

It sounds as if Z1 Battle Royale might be in big trouble today. Multiple developers on the PC version of the game formerly known as H1Z1 seem to be out of work, we’re presuming ahead of a major announcement regarding the game. It’s not currently clear whether the game is shutting down or we’re looking at some sort of restructure of the staff.

Here’s the former combat designer:

Here’s Arclegger:

And here’s former Daybreak CEO John Smedley, who hasn’t yet publicly explained his comment:

Other former developers on the game have dropped the game from their Twitter bios.

Just last month, the game saw a major patch that was essentially an homage to the old-school game. It also promised negotiations were continuing on the fate of Just Survive, which sunsetted last year. However, the game also saw the departure of Jace Hall just a few weeks ago; he’d been brought on as the project lead to rescue the game. The characterization of his role and its abrupt end was always bizarre, and on his way out, Daybreak said he’d not been paid for his work. And then last week, the company said it was “currently in planning mode discussing many things” and that it would deliver more info Tuesday. (It did not, save to briefly announce it was removing ranked pro.) That’s all in addition to the collapse of the game’s professional esports league and wild accusations of financial mismanagement from last fall.

We have no reason right now to believe that any other Daybreak/NantG games, including the PS4 version of H1Z1, are affected.

We’ll update when we know more, but in the meantime, our condolences to the rank-and-file devs and players affected by whatever this situaton turns out to be.

Update
Former community rep sup3rson1k confirmed on his stream today that he was specifically laid off, along with at least some other employees, but he doesn’t know exactly what’s happening with the game.
Update
NantG has put out a statement saying that it’s adjusted staffing in preparation to refocus its efforts on mobile. Z1 Battle Royale has been returned to Daybreak.
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Danny Smith

Not remotely surprised. This is one of the last holdovers of the Day Z generation of battle royales which spawned off the thankfully dead open world zombie survival fad that turned steams early access section into a trash filled swamp for years.

Its not secret the moba bubble burst, hero shooters tried and failed to replace it but battle royales did and often they cannibalised the hero shooter along the way. But a game where its just rando dudes ganking each other in a world of “see player, move to player, attack player” barebones ai from map edge to map edge? thats a novelty that had its day.

I mean shit i look at Sony pushing Days Gone and just think “boy they are really struggling for stuff at the end of the console generation” and thats the stuff with a big budget. H1Z1 was a clone of a clone of a clone. This was never going to last.

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IronSalamander8 .

Not even remotely a surprise but man, so many game devs getting laid off is depressing.

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Jon Wax

The industry is about to contract. Same as music biz in 90s

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Jon Wax

Still a Russian mob front company or no?

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Akagi

I can’t wait for BR games to start dying off one by one… this stupid fad is long overdue.

Pepperzine
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Pepperzine

MOBA bubble 2.0

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

According to steamcharts, the PC version of H1Z1 has more than quadrupled since the patch update. So it’s odd how Daybreak is having another round of layoffs.

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

You mean about 4000 people are playing it. Which is insignificant compared to major BR games like Apex or Fortnite ;-)

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

True, but still, but before the patch that they only had a measly 1k MAU. If Daybreak did these layoffs because 4k is too small, I’m wondering why they didn’t just layoff even more people back when it was 1k players.

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Christmas Dog

It really isn’t surprising. They didn’t have layoffs at 1k players because they were investing money and wages into this update. The update came out, brought underwhelming results, and now the development money is gone and they aren’t willing to invest more into a game that won’t show any returns.

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dthblayde

The layoff was likely already planned before the patch’s deployment. The spike in players ( typical especially in the early access scene) is due to people logging back in to “see what changed”. Look at the numbers in another week or so, I’d wager they drop off just as fast.

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Danny Smith

Simple answer: the patch was probably the answer to a make or break ultimatum and it didn’t pull in the resurgence numbers it needed to.

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*Powers

It’s about time restructure within the company happens. The game has all but died because or poor development and poor coding. Idiots should have been let go 2 years ago. No more sushi Tuesdays!

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Troy Leatherman

Most of their games seem to only last a few years anyway. So never surprised.

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Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

H1Z1’s PC version, Z1 Battle Royale, sees another leadership reshuffle as Jace Hall steps down

God damnit, I hate it when my cynical shitposting turns out to be right : (

As unsurprising as this is, it’s still a big bummer, especially for the folks losing their gigs. I feel like a broken record given how often I type this, but I hope they can land on their feet and find good work locally so they don’t need to relocate.

I actually spun up EQ2 over the weekend for…you know, I haven’t the foggiest clue why (other than my occasional “update ALL THE MMO’S!” days). Logged into my baby shadow knight, completely forgetting everything about my class and everything else beyond the fact that I was at the same point in Butcherblock that I’ve played a bajillion times so could redo pretty much by muscle memory.

I was kinda enjoying myself, but after a little bit after the “oh, this is new(ish) and fun!” wore off I found myself remember all of Daybreaks issues and worrying how much longer would they stay afloat? How much longer will EQ2 get new content? Or even be active? Because they have yet to have a single real big “win” since forming Daybreak, it’s just been a string of blunders, closures, layoffs, and bad news (like them forgetting who owned them for the past 3 years). At this point I don’t even know if I can enjoy a Daybreak game, because the issues and uncertainty with that company are so pervasive in the back of my mind any time I load one up (which at this point is just down to EQ2 and DCUO, neither of which I play much anymore).

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

So they finally realized the fact that they lost to PUBG, Fortnite and Apex and it would be a waste of money trying to do anything with their own game?

Looks like Arclegger (a developer who was active on Twitch, when streamers were still streaming it – I remember him from Lirik’s channel) also got fired:

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Wilhelm Arcturus

Actually the company did deliver some of the info promised on Tuesday via a Tweet that said:

“Update: We will be removing the Ranked Pro from the game. Still currently working out details of the showdown/qualifiers.”