DayZ Standalone is a large-scale, open-world survival sandbox game from Bohemia Interactive, a.s. being built within and alongside their new proprietary game engine referred to simply as Enfusion. It is the direct result of the wildly successful fan-created DayZ Mod based on another in-house title: ArmA II.
Originally conceived and planned by the Mod's creator Dean Hall, work on the Standalone version of the game commenced in 2012 with the assembly of a very small team intent on delivering an experience often referred to as a "polished version of the Mod." This would have involved technology changes at a more basic level to support an improved version of the same kind of gameplay users had expected coming from the Mod.
In the time since principle development has commenced, the Standalone has had its vision refocused into something far more ambitious and involved. DayZ now has the full weight of an entire development team behind it, dozens deep with talented designers, artists, programmers, and more. This team is developing the Enfusion engine as part of the game's creation, giving it the supporting structure needed to implement all of the promised features, make room for future goals, and deliver the tools necessary to enable its community to create content as well. This is uniquely aggressive within game development, as most games are built upon finished or, at most, tweaked versions of established platforms.
Players of DayZ are charged with surviving in a world that has been ravaged by the outbreak of a deadly virus. Most of the game world's population has become part of "The Infected," the term used by survivors to collectively describe everyone who has fallen victim to the virus. These poor souls are not the undead, but perhaps worse: living humans who have completely lost all control over themselves, whose only goal is to spread the infection through violent, animalistic attacks. Characters controlled by players of the game are immune to the virus, explaining how they are unaffected by it even when attacked by those who are infected.
Starting out their character's life on the coast of Chernarus, a fictional game world based upon an area of the real-world Czech Republic, players gather items that will be useful to them along the way and generally make their way inland to towns and other points of interest in search of better gear and interactions with other players. They will need to find food and water, clothing, equipment, medical supplies, and weapons if they are to last very long at all in the harsh conditions. Vehicles are able to be found and repaired for quick travel of the map as well.
In addition to gathering items that are scattered about the map, players are also able to hunt, fish, grow plants, cook food, create their own items, and establish a home in order to meet their needs for survival. The game also includes hundreds of public domain books for players to read, including well-known titles such as War of the Worlds and Moby Dick and in multiple languages.
For 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.
Currently in what is known as the "Alpha" phase of development, many of the game's key features are still in-progress and the development team is targeting the present release at an audience who wants 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.