After quite a bit of teasing from Sony Online Entertainment’s president John Smedley, the other MMO in the works from the studio – besides Landmark and EverQuest Next – is revealed as H1Z1 by Smedley himself, who also added that we will be able to “play it soon, and by play I mean play fully.” The game is built on the Forgelight engine, same as PlanetSide 2 and EverQuest Next.
John Smedley described the game in a Twitch livestream and it is confirmed as a free-to-play sandbox MMORPG that is set in “Middle America”, 15 years after the H1Z1 virus has devastated mankind and left nothing but death and destruction in its wake and a world nearly empty of human life, resulting in a zombie outbreak. It seems to have a lot in common with DayZ, but that may be just the initial impression and the overall tone of the game.
In H1Z1, players are free to start anywhere on the map and set off exploring “the urban cities and desolate wide open places”, all seamlessly, gathering resources, building shelters and even working as a team to create huge fortresses to protect them from the frequent danger, including wild animals, zombies (the Infected) and the most dangerous enemy of them all: other players. Being a sandbox MMO, players are able to use and create a vast array of weapons, from molotov cocktails to other explosives – crafting is said to be extremely in-depth, much more than in rival titles, which we assume would be DayZ.
Smedley detail the game further in a Reddit post. H1Z1 is a persistent MMO that can hold thousands of players on servers, there will be trading, social features such as grouping, proximity voice chat, voice chat for your gang, multiplayer vehicles and an emergent gameplay that can result in many different approaches to the game world – from peacefully farming to killing everything in sight. There are no skills or leveling, since the gameplay is freeform.
H1Z1 is in development for PC but other platforms aren’t excluded and early access should cost around $20. The official H1Z1 website is already open and sometime next week there should be a livestream of the game. You can watch the first H1Z1 screenshots here.