To celebrate the game coming out of early access after five long years.
In honor of DayZ, the popular multiplayer zombie survival game that was actually the precursor to the modern day battle royale games, finally leaving Early Access after five years (no, really, it’s been “early access” for five years now. Entire empires have risen and fallen in that time), Bohemia Interactive have announced that the game’s 1.0 version will be free to play. For everyone. Until December 17.
According to Bohemia Interactive’s Eugen Harton, DayZ’s Lead Producer, the free to play period of the game is meant to demonstrate just how far the game has come from its early access days. I also imagine it’s a way to try and appeal to the once large player base the game had, which slowly bled away over the years, in part to due to the glacial speed of its development.
“Letting everyone try the 1.0 update first hand without any barriers is really the best way to show the progress we’ve made over the Early Access development,” he said. “DayZ is by no means a perfect game yet, but I’m confident that the effort we put into making it as smooth and enjoyable as possible paid off. At its core, DayZ still has all the gameplay mechanics that excited people when it first launched, but today it’s bigger, much more responsive, less clunky, and fun to play when you give it the time. And that’s probably my advice to anyone who wants to try the game – don’t give up the survival too early and use the Free Weekend as much as possible. DayZ can be hard, but since it’s built around emergent gameplay in an open world, it’s as fun to play as you (or other players around you) make it for yourself.”
Whether or not players take Bohemia up on this free weekend, or whether or not they stick around in a world where PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite can both provide a similar kind of emergent multiplayer experience much quicker, remains to be seen.