About a year ago, a floundering Sony Online Entertainment saw the success of survival games, and decided to try their hand at one, and so H1Z1 was born. It went into Early Access January 15th, 2015, and here we are, over a year later, and Sony Online Entertainment went independent, became Daybreak Games, and have been keeping busy since then. How busy? Well I don’t know. I always assumed they were winding down toward some sort of implosion. Maybe I’m a pessimist. Maybe they’re not. Maybe it just hasn’t happened yet.
Regardless, on February 17th, H1z1 is undoing mitosis. You see, H1Z1 was always a strange beast. There was the open world survival stuff, and then there was Battle Royale, a king-of-the-hill game mode in which players “fight one another to the death until only a single player or small group survives. Every player who places first through tenth (First place only in Hardcore) can be rewarded with an assortment of gift bags, event tickets and airdrop tickets.”
So basically it’s The Hunger Games. Kind of. Daybreak Games (DBG) saw that players were either playing only the survival, or only Battle Royale. There is very little overlap between the two communities. Players have found their poison, and play only that.
And so, in response, DBG is taking the game, ripping it in two, and giving each remnant its own development team. Enter H1Z1: Just Survive, and H1Z1: King of the Hill. They go over the finer details in a an announcement and FAQ. But the gist is that after the split happens on February 17th, each version of H1Z1 will still be in Early Access and still be $19.99 US. Anyone who previously owned the game, or buys it before the split (currently $14.99 US thanks to the Steam Lunar New Year Sale), will get both versions. They hope to have King of the Hill out of Early Accesss by this summer, but give no day for Just Survive. They also hope to bring both games to the Xbox One and PS4.
It’s also worth mentioning, since it’s the impression that I had this entire time, but neither game will be free-to-play when it launches. That’s not to say they won’t go F2P sometime down the road, but that’s not currently in the cards. Expect to spend at most $20 on them for the time being.
So yeah. H1Z1 still exists, and despite Sony Online Entertainment exploding and DGB rising out of the ashes, I guess they’re still going strong, at least strong enough to split the game in two and give each one its own development team.
I’m still not sold on H1Z1, either of them, so even getting both versions for the price of one doesn’t entice me much at all, and even if it did, I’d probably only be interested in H1Z1: Just Survive, not King of the Hill.
But I guess I’m the reason DGB is doing this split in the first place.