Daybreak has announced major changes for its open-world, zombie survival game, H1Z1. The studio has been on parallel development paths with two core concepts, the sandbox survival game and a battle royale mode. Those are now splitting into two separate early access products.

The two games, H1Z1: Just Survive and H1Z1: King of the Kill will be developed by two different teams. The split will happen on February 17, and the 2.5 million people that already own H1Z1 and those that purchase between now and then will get both for the existing price of $19.99. After that, each game will carry that price (essentially doubling the cost for people who want both after February 17).

The battle royale game will be out first, with more modes (including one focused on vehicles) to be introduced on the road to its release this summer on PC, but also Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Betas are planned on console before release, also.

The survival game continues to undergo development and changes. H1Z1: Just Survive does not have a specific window for leaving early access just yet.

“We have a real clear understanding of what the King of the Kill experience is and how we’re going to bring it to market in the summer,” says Daybreak creative director Jens Andersen. “I think that with the survival mode, the great thing about early access is that we really have a chance to understand what our players like about the game, not only anecdotally, but by looking at the data to see what their activities are. We’re really embracing that. So we’re going to be looking at adding elements to the survival game that play to what players enjoy doing. That’s going to need more time. We’re going to let that bake until it’s ready.” 

Daybreak is working to ease the transition for existing players. The company will be duplicating most items purchased with microtransactions, giving users a copy in each of the two games. The only ones that won’t be replicated are game-specific.

Additionally, Daybreak is planning to add new zombie types to the survival game and adjust how unlocking crate drops works. The developer will be adding a skeleton key to the mix that can be purchased to open any crate containing wearables and other items.

H1Z1 is currently in early access and is available on Steam.


Our Take
On the plus side, Daybreak is splitting development into two teams so as to ensure both titles move forward. However, for those that jumped in because of the game’s original premise, the idea that the vision for it isn’t quite clear might not be the best news.

For those that have gravitated to the battle royale mode, this seems like the best case scenario. In terms of how Daybreak is handling this, the company seems to be doing everything it can to retain value for those that bought in early.