DayZ Standalone is open-world survival horror hybrid-MMO video game. The much hyped follow-up to the award-winning Arma 2 mod of the same name. Development began in 2012 when the mod's creator, Dean Hall, joined Bohemia Interactive to commence work on the standalone version of the game. Much of the game's development has been focused on rebuilding the engine to suit the game's needs, with the end goal being a fully reworked but rock-solid foundation on which to create an experience that was not possible with the previous technology.
The game places the player in the fictional 225km² post-Soviet state of Chernarus+, one of the areas hit by a new and presently unknown infection which has wiped out most of the world's population. The player is one of the few who have survived and now must scavenge the world for food, water, weapons, and medicine, while killing or avoiding infected, and killing, avoiding or co-opting other players in an effort to survive as long as they can in the harsh post-apocalyptic landscape.
The goal of DayZ is to survive during the conditions of the zombie apocalypse that have befallen the in-game world. The player begins equipped with only simple clothes and a road flare, and must begin exploring the massive and beautiful landscape of Chernarus+ to investigate loot locations such as houses, barns, and apartments to scavenge supplies. These supplies include food and water, which are basic keys to prolonging the player's life. Beyond the bare bones of survival, players can find various forms of clothing, which not only allow the player to customize their character, but can bring the benefit of extra storage space for supplies and better protection from both damage and the elements. Found throughout the map are a variety of melee and ranged weapons, allowing players to protect themselves from zombies or other players if necessary.
While travelling around the map, players can also find various medical supplies, as the environment poses a range of threats to their character. Planned features include diseases such as cholera, dysentery and hepatitis, which can be caught by ingesting dirty water or rotten food and must be cured with the appropriate medicine. If a player is shot or otherwise hurt, items on their person may be damaged. The player may also start bleeding and must be bandaged quickly to minimize blood loss; excessive damage or blood loss will result in serious deterioration of vision for the player and will eventually render them unconscious. The game also includes hundreds of public domain books throughout the map for players to read, including titles such as War of the Worlds and Moby Dick.
On 14 August 2012, Dean Hall (aka "Rocket") announced that DayZ would become a standalone game that does not require Arma II. Initial development of the standalone version was headed up directly by Hall, in conjunction with Bohemia Interactive, the publisher of Arma II. Following this announcement, he turned the mod version of DayZ over to the community for continued development. Some of the main goals in creating the standalone were to fix bugs and prevent hacking, two things very difficult to do under the previous Arma II architecture.
DayZ Standalone began its development by utilizing the Take On Helicopter engine, which is itself a branch of the Arma II Operation Arrowhead engine Real Virtuality.. Since its initial release into Steam's Early Access program, the game engine has been heavily modified to the point of being almost unrecognizable from its roots -- even including code from the follow-up Arma III title from parent company Bohemia Interactive.
Efforts towards recreating the game engine almost entirely from scratch are not only to benefit DayZ, but also to serve as the basis for development of future titles from BI. This was not the original plan when DayZ was first made public, however it was decided during the process that it was not worth the effort to keep revising old technology.
For additional information about the history of DayZ, see: Development
Release Date and Pricing
The game was released on 16 December 2013 as part of Steam's Early Access program at a cheaper price than when it is finally released. Initial pricing was $29.99, and the price will steadily climb as development progresses towards the full release of the game.
This alpha release is an early access build with a large amount of the features still in progress and the development team is targeting the release at an audience who want to be involved in what Hall called a "very barebones experience that is a platform for future development." An official date for the final release is yet to be set.
- When DayZ Standalone was originally announced Rocket had originally indicated the desire to see a release by the end of 2012.
- An Alpha version of DayZ Standalone was playable on the floor at E3 2013 and allowed attendees their first actual playthrough of the standalone game.