Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment
Developer: Sony Online Entertainment
Platforms: PS4, PC
Release Date: 2014
H1Z1 us an upcoming Zombie Apocalypse Massively Multiplayer Online game (that’s free to play, to an extent due to the inclusion of micro payments that are yet to be detailed) set in a large persistent sandbox world in “middle America” that is currently in development by Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) who will also be publishing the game upon it’s launch.
The game, which is running on the Forgelight engine (an internally designed propriety engine) which runs the free to play powerhouse first person shooter PlanetSide 2, will be launching on PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows at some time in 2014.
Given the secretive nature of the development of H1Z1 due to the relatively recent release of its primary console platform, there isn’t much known about the development cycle surrounding the game (as is the case with many current generation titles so early in the console cycle).
H1Z1 was first announced on April 11th of 2014 by Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley who announced that the group was developing a Free to Play MMO centred around a viral zombie incident and that it was to be called H1Z1. Since then however, it has come out that despite the free to play model being the initial claim, the game will instead operate on a free to play model that relies on micro payments (more commonly known as micro transactions).
It’s worth noting that the micro payment model that will monetize the game has yet to be detailed and as yet there has been no payment scheme announced to the public, there is however a spirited and public discussion covering exactly that on Reddit, a conversation that was started by John Smedley, the above mentioned president.
There is another conversation running alongside this one that covers the subject of servers, this is a conversation of note due to the fact that the Forgelight Engine can house up to 2000 players in a single instance. [Instance – an area of gameplay sometimes referred to as special areas or dungeons, in the case of H1Z1 this likely represents an “instance” of middle America. Instances allow for players to be packed into a server without all appearing in a single area, thus preventing server crashes]
H1Z1 has expectedly been compared to many other open world Zombie games including the unstoppable behemoth “Day Z” and the lesser known but community loved “State of Decay” (Developed by Undead Labs who were originally rumoured to be making a Zombie MMO for Sony in mid to late 2013) but Adam Clegg of Sony Online Entertainment has said that it’s not going to be like those other titles. In a community meeting he stressed that the focus would be on player interaction and cooperation rather than a PVP (Player vs Player) environment inhabited by zombies.
While we are yet to see a video documenting the game being played in its finished format, what we know so far is that the game will be focusing heavily on player interaction with an emphasis on cooperation rather than the usual PVP scenario with zombies tossed into the mix.
Players will make use of a variety of weapons ranging from tomahawk like axes to small arms (pistols etc), players can also craft items to help survive in the land that is out to kill them by working with other players to craft more weapons and even some defensible structures.
H1Z1 is set in an un-named Middle America location that serves as the backdrop for a larger catastrophe. John Smedley had this to say about H1Z1, “It’s a massively multiplayer game in which players fight for survival in a world where death is the only sure thing,”, “The H1Z1 virus devastated mankind and left nothing but death and destruction in its wake and a world nearly empty of human life where the remnants of humanity are in a fight against extinction against those infected with the virus.”
Given the MMO nature of the game, players will not be taking control of a set cast of characters or a primary protagonist, they will instead most likely create their own character that will servs as their on screen avatar.
The following portion of this article is based on speculative information gathered from various sources and is not confirmed yet.
Given the strange combination of cooperative player interactions in a Zombie MMO it’s entirely expected and plausible that there will be no class system in H1Z1. This would immediately solve the problem of class balancing and exploits being found in character traits that could be used en masse to fundamentally break the game.
With this being said, a class system is something that the community is being very vocal about and would very much like to see introduced to the game. From a business standpoint (and a purely financially inclined one at that) if classes were to be introduced, they would be hidden behind a pay wall [Pay wall – A pay wall is a fictional barrier that represents the need to pay for a certain piece of content, an example being unlocking certain classes in Elder Scrolls Online. Certain classes must be bought rather than being afforded readily to the player, they are hidden behind the “pay wall”] as this would incentivise the install base to make use of the micro transactions that are to be included thus monetizing the game.
Note: This wiki will be updated once we have more information about the game.