In a move that surprised very few people who have been paying attention to the teasers and hints, SOE is creating a zombie sandbox MMO called H1Z1. Lots of crafting, building, fighting against zombies — where have we heard that before?
My initial reactions:
- H1Z1 is a terrible name. Just terrible. It’s not only annoying to type, but there’s no way I’m pronouncing all four letters and numbers every time I’m going to talk about it. I’ve already decided that I’m calling it “Hizzy” until and when SOE realizes how bad the name is and changes it.
- Smedley so should not have promised that this game would fill in the gap that was left by the cancellation of Star Wars Galaxies. He probably looked at the crafting systems and player-built towns in that statement, but man that was a dumb thing to do. Reactions from the ex-SWG community has not been kind so far, which is understandable. Zombie sandboxes are not science-fiction sandboxes with a strong IP tie. Smed’s statement will haunt this game for a while to come, mark my words.
- Nobody, SOE included, can deny that this is coming out into a crowded field. There are a lot of zombie survival games, both single- and multiplayer, both out there and in the works. Some see zombies as overused, but I think they can be pretty fun as long as the setting and game is done well. There aren’t a lot of zombie MMOs right now, not on this scale, and that could work to SOE’s advantage. I’d love to see a State of Decay-like MMO (which makes me wonder how Undead Labs is taking this announcement, since it’s most likely working on a zombie MMO too).
- Smed’s passion for PvP and its strong mention in this announcement worries me. I don’t care for another DayZ gankfest that encourages cruelty and a zerg mentality.
- What does interest me is a contemporary, post-apocalyptic setting, especially if it’s not 100% about fighting and avoiding zombies. Exploring, surviving, and making tools to increase my life expectancy has strong appeal.
- Free-to-play is good, if expected from SOE.
- Playable soon? I’m pretty amazed that it’s far enough along for this, especially with all of the other projects at the studio. Between this, Landmark, and EQN, I’m not surprised that SOE felt it had to cut out four other MMOs to make room for future development. Of course, trading Free Realms for a zombie MMO is no great consolation for the studio’s younger set. Or maybe it is, who knows.