Sony Online Entertainment’s newest endeavor, the free-to-play MMORPG H1Z1 showed off some new gameplay footage via a 50 minute stream. Although server problems on the alpha demo prevented SOE from showing everything they intended to show, they nevertheless showcased the game’s open-world feel, day and night cycles and combat.
In the live demo, game designer Jimmy Whisenhunt and technical director Tom Schenck showcased the game’s environment, which is set in a somewhat rural part of town with large open fields and long stretches of road, with gas stations and small suburbs along the way. Guns and drivable vehicles are also in the game, although they will be hard to find.
The game’s zombies are exceptionally vicious, and night time blankets the game world in pitch-black darkness, in keeping with Whisenhunt and Schenck’s repeated assertions that H1Z1 will appeal to hardcore gamers.
Many in the gaming community have criticized what they have seen thus far as much too similar to Day Z. In response, SOE’s President John Smedley took to Reddit to address these concerns:
How is this different from Day Z? – saw this a lot. Not going to give some politically correct dodgy b.s. answer. It is a survival in a Zombie Apocalypse game. So is Day Z. They have made a brilliant game (first I might add). They have a great vision for it and can count myself and most of the people on our team as fans and contributors.
We’re making the game we’re making. Long term we plan on making this about a persistent world with a big landscape with thousands of players. The way we would like to see this roll out is much more like players building small enclaves or pockets of territory and hold out against a legitimate zombie threat that’s ever present while others go it alone taking their chances.. These player built structures, forts and towns are one of the ways the players try to carve out some small space in a dangerous world.
We also want to make sure we have a deep in-game economy that is heavily dependent on crafting. Players will be able to become manufacturers.. sell bullets, arrows.. etc. The in-game economy will be entirely player driven.
SOE intends to show off H1Z1‘s more unique features in the future, such as crafting, which will allow players to construct and fortify buildings, as well as survival aspects such as eating.
H1Z1 is due out for the PC and PlayStation 4 sometime this year as a free-to-play with microtransactions, but a $20 Early Access version will be available soon.