I’ll admit that I’m really excited about upcoming zombie survival game “H1Z1.” I know some people are getting pretty sick of the zombie game genre, but I most likely never will. I’ve loved shooting blood-thirsty zombies long before it was cool and fashionable to do so. Zombie games are fun and engaging because they're all about good vs. evil, but not just an evil bent on killing you, but an especially gross evil that's very interested in eating your brains.
I spoke with Game Designer Adam Clegg during the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles on Wednesday. Clegg is still developing the game, which has a tentative release date of the end of 2014 for the PC.
“H1Z1” is the name of a virus that has spread throughout the U.S., a virus that originally wasn’t taken seriously and infects people quickly – causing a zombie apocalypse scenario that devastates the entire country. Clegg assured us “H1Z1” will have an engaging backstory, one that explains the origin of the disease and how it quickly travels from state to state.
Sony plans to launch an alpha version of “H1Z1” on Steam Early Access sometime this year.
“We’re going to make sure our alpha is super polished. We could go Early Access on Steam tomorrow, but we wouldn’t be proud of it, and it wouldn’t be something we’d want to showcase to the players,” Clegg said. “There’s things we still need in this game. When we are ready to launch the game, it’s going to be a nice, polished version. We want to make sure it’s a solid product, even though it’s alpha. Especially for a survival game. We don’t want things you have to hurdle over in order to play the game.”
“H1Z1” is a survival game, though it features pretty aggressive zombies and a lot of user interaction. “It’s a world player to player game, one hundred percent. Player to player interaction is a huge part of the game,” Clegg insisted.
In the title, players must collect things, hunt animals, find food and water and avoid zombies. “Basically, you get dropped in the game with nothing. You have an axe and a flashlight,” Clegg said. Once you begin playing “H1Z1,” you can chop down trees, collect firewood, search for other survivors and kill wolves and deer for food.
“We’ll definitely have both genders and more races,” Clegg said of the game’s playable characters, though this feature is still in development.
In the game, players will also have access to vehicles, which they can use to raid old, abandoned warehouses as well as run over the blood-thirsty zombies attempting to kill you and other players.
“I’m most excited about the vehicles and surviving, running over pedestrians, that sort of thing,” said “H1Z1” game designer Kris Roberts, who primarily worked on the title’s cars, trucks and driving abilities. “It’s gonna be awesome as far as the massive numbers of players we can support as a real MMO. Sony’s got a lot of background in terms of creating those types of experiences.”
Items you collect in the game can be combined with other items to create new objects. Players use “recipes,” of which there are more than 100 in the game, to craft items like clothing, food, shelters and more.
“It’s definitely all about survival, but there are a lot of zombies, also, and they’re a real threat,” Clegg said of the game. Players will also see a shift from day to night in “H1Z1,” as well as changing weather conditions, like rain. The zombies in the game are attracted to heat and loud sounds. If you make a lot of noise or engage in a lot of activity, it’s easy to attract the undead to your location.
How does “H1Z1” set itself apart from other zombie survival games like “DayZ?”
“This is our own take on zombie survival. It’s set in anywhere America. It being in America already feels different. We’re creating our own persistent world and our own take on zombies. With the vehicles and all the stuff that’s in this game, it feels like it’s our own. It’s not about being similar or trying to be like another game. It’s trying to set the world apart. It’s our own take on it.”