SOE announces zombie survival MMO H1Z1 for PC, PS4

Sony Online Entertainment's take on DayZ.


Sony Online Entertainment’s next game is H1Z1, a free-to-play massively multiplayer online zombie survival game, company president John Smeley announced on a GamerTalk Live stream tonight. 

The game will launch first for PC, with a PlayStation 4 release to follow.

Writing on Reddit, Smedley shared further details.

It’s been 15 years since the virus was first encountered, leaving the world devastated with nothing but death and destruction its wake, and what’s left of it overrun with the Infected. Humanity, hiding in the shadows, must search desparately for food, water, and other resources to survive, at the same time dealing with the Infected and other dangers, like animals and the brutality of other survivors. Scavenging and crafting via a “deep crafting system” are essential.

“Our vision for this game is very simple but ambitious,” Smedley said. “We are starting with what I would call ‘Middle America’ – an ‘anywhere and everywhere’ town. The world is massive as you’ve come to expect from our games.

“Over time we will grow the world until we have our own version of the U.S. after the death and destruction brought on during the H1Z1 epidemic. It will be our own version of America. We’ll have urban cities and desolate wide open places. All connected seamlessly.”

The focus is to create a sandbox style game where players can build their own shelters out of resources found in the world, as well as work together to make “amazing fortresses complete with weaponry.”

But zombie survival games are not new, and Smedley recognizes this. As for what makes H1Z1 different, Smedley offers the following:

  • “It’s a persistent MMO that can hold thousands of players on servers we host (yes there will be multiple servers with very different rule sets)…. It means a thriving economy (oh yes… there’s trading). It also means you have potential allies in the all-out war on the Infected… and many an enemy as well.”
  • “It uses our proprietary next-gen Forgelight engine and that means we’ve had a lot of really cool technology to work with to make the game we wanted to make.”
  • “It’s also designed from the ground up for our players to become part of the design process. The Roadmap system that we built for PlanetSide 2 will be used extensively to clearly communicate what features we’re working on and what you can expect and when. You’re also going to be getting awesome access to our developers. We’ll be opening it up for Player Studio creations too so expect player-created items to make their way into the game.”
  • “The main thing that differentiates H1Z1 from the other great games in the genre is the emphasis we are putting on player ownership and building. We want you to be able to form roving gangs that are headquartered out of an abandoned warehouse that you’ve taken over… or a house you’ve built from scratch after having cut trees down and secured the resources to make it. We are giving players the tools to make their own towns, camps and defenses, and they can decide how to set up their base (which is in the world btw… not instanced).”

All the social features you’d expect from a Sony Online Entertainment game will be present, including “grouping, proximity voice chat, voice chat for your gang, and many other cool social features.”

According to Smedley, the goal is to provide “emergent gameplay” that will allow players to make the world their own any way they want to.

“If you prefer a quiet life as a farmer raising crops… we’re going to make sure your zombie apocalypse fantasy is complete,” Smedley said. “If you’re like me and you want nothing more than to kill everything that moves, by all means see how that goes.”

View the first screenshots at the gallery, via NeoGAF. Sony Online will be live streaming the game next week in its most current form.

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