It was only a matter of time before a large game publisher decided to take the Zombie-infested post-apocalyptic storyline and turn it into an MMOG. That's what is going on with Sony Online Entertainment's H1Z1, an upcoming game that sounds like an MMOG version of The Walking Dead.
Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley told Game Talk Live in a podcast this week that H1Z1 is a free-to-play MMO that allows players to take on the role of an apocalypse survivor who is in a world filled with zombies. He emphasized the word "world."
"When you see a zombie coming up to you with nothing out but a highway flare," he said. "But here is something you're gonna be able to do that you can't do in these other games: Light things on fire. We are in the middle of putting that in so you are gonna be able to burn down trees, burn down stuff, and that's gonna be a lot of fun. The idea is that these players [are] building these forts and all of a sudden these other guys coming in lighting it on fire and waiting till they come out of the fortress ... is awesome."
In addition to a zombie infestation, players will also be required to deal with the day and night cycle. They'll need to be prepared for when the sun goes down, including lighting torches, finding a good hiding place and so on.
"In this game it matters a lot more than in others because it gets really dark at night and you need to have a torch and you will be ganked by other players, zombies. So we [have] vehicles in here," he said. "We can actually have aircraft if we want. Our goal is to build out this entire massive, massive world that is this apocalypse of the United States."
According to the story, the H1Z1 virus laid waste to most of the humans on Earth. The people that are left standing unaffected must deal with not only the zombie population, but with each other. Players will be forced to find their meals, find a safe place to sleep, and keep one eye open for a possible attack. Players will also be required to scavenge and craft anything that will help them get through the day.
"Our focus is building a sandbox style of gameplay where players can build shelters out of resources in the world," he told PC Gamer. "They can even work together to make amazing fortresses complete with weaponry to help defend against both the Infected and other players. Players also have access to a very deep crafting system that can let players make a huge variety of awesome stuff, including weapons and things like Molotov cocktails, explosives… and other fun surprises."
Later on in the interview he added that there will be no skills in the game, no leveling up.
"It's a persistent MMO that can hold thousands of players on servers we host. Why is that a good thing? It means a thriving economy," he said. "It also means you have potential allies in the all-out war on the Infected... and many an enemy as well. It uses our proprietary next-gen Forgelight engine and that means we've had a lot of really cool technology to work with to make the game we wanted to make."
Sounds like fun. When can we sign up? The game will be playable soon, he said via Twitter. "You can play it yourself soon. And by play I mean play fully."