The War Z: Alive And Kicking?

By Alec Meer on September 3rd, 2012 at 5:00 pm.

What's that coming over the hill?

I hear some very strange rumours about DayZ, er, contemporary The War Z‘s genesis and fears about the speed and timing at which it’s apparently happening, but I am reluctant to detail/opine upon them until things seem more sure. In the meantime, I can wave you cautiously at a bunch of in-game footage of the open-world zombie survival MMOette (sound familiar? Of course it does) from PAX, and leave you to draw your own conclusions about whether this is a goer or not. We’ve seen very little of it in action until now, and now we, er, do.

Well, it would seem to prove that something exists, which has been one of the sources of discontent around this sudden project. It is alpha footage, or at least that’s the description, so hopefully the finished thing would involve much more polish and hopefully an option to turn off that distracting blue item glow for those who like it hardcore. I will continue to watch this project from a safe distance, with a furrowed brow.

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74 Comments »

  1. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. says:

    “…fears about the speed at which it started charging for pre-orders…”

    You know, except for the fact they haven’t.

    • golem09 says:

      This. No Preorders and no Donations.
      Preorders will start once everything is in a place and put together in gameplay videos.

      • Sarissofoi says:

        Actually I am more afraid about DayZ standalone being forever broken alpha than The War Z being a scam.
        Looking for what happened with mod it wouldn’t be so surprising.
        DayZ is infested with bugs and hackers.
        Ironically it is to safer and more enjoyable to play on private servers than on master hive.
        Not mentioning that some modders fix some bugs that Rocket ignore(like glitching bug) for months.
        So yeah.
        I don’t have high hopes for WarZ but my hopes for DayZ aren’t high either.

        • golem09 says:

          So until both of those games are fixed, we’ll play State of Decay ;)

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        • varangian says:

          >I don’t have high hopes for WarZ but my hopes for DayZ aren’t high either.

          Judging by the numbers few people do have high hopes for DayZ as interest is waning fast. Having read Jim’s good opinions of it I gave it a go for a few weeks but, crucially it appears, after an update whose effect appeared to be a step backwards. Instead of a zombie survival challenge with a chance of random encounters to form spontaneous alliances/feuds with other players it was just deathmatch. I gave up soon enough but out of interest kept an eye on the numbers. A month or so back it had 200k odd unique players per 24h period but it’s been dropping steadily since and now stands around 109k. Perhaps everyone has legged it to private servers where, I assume, the gameplay can be tweaked to make it more fun.

          • Sarissofoi says:

            Indeed.
            My old DayZ group play only on Lingor now. Only few hardcore remain.
            Private servers have much better defense against hackers and some bugs are fixed.
            Its more fun.

  2. Torgen says:

    ” I will continue to watch this project from a safe distance, with a furrowed brow.”

    And perhaps a suitably long stick with which to gently prod it after a while, to see if it still lives. (un-lives?)

  3. bikkebakke says:

    I don’t know… Guess I have to see more, but atm it looks like he found guns veeeery easy, might just be the area he is in or something. Also after watching this it just feels like a random shooter, might be different later but I can’t really sense the survival part of the game with that video.

    Hooooowever, as I said earlier, might just be this little video that screws up my view of the game… or it might exactly how I think it is.

    • povu says:

      The whole video feels staged to me.

    • LR100 says:

      One of the devs made a post after that video came out explaining a few things. He said that the video was recorded on a dev test server, so loot/gun spawns were much more generous and a subsequent playthrough on a server with regular spawns he only found a knife and a gun with 1 mag in several hours of play. He put up a small, second video to show a few things off that clarified stuff people had a problem with in this alpha video.

  4. gorgonaut says:

    I feel Polish is a factor that should appear to a much greater extent in today’s games. I don’t speak it myself, but I do feel it really adds to the atmosphere.

    Edit: added “Edit: added” Edit”

  5. LR100 says:

    I spent £20 on Arma just for DayZ, so I can take a punt on War Z for $30 if that’s the final price. I don’t think it’s much money to gamble on a game that may or may not be garbage, at least i’ll know myself for sure.

    I do like the look of it (don’t care if the video is staged or not, or how long the game has supposedly been in development for), it’s like L4D mixed with Dead Island which is no bad thing in my eyes. Once this becomes beta/gold we’ll all have a better idea of how this game will work, how it’ll match up to DayZ and other games and if it’s any good. I’m not going to be sceptical over this game, I like what I’ve seen/heard so I will definitely check this out at some point if not at launch. Who knows, it might actually turn out to be quite good.

  6. Palindrome says:

    It looks OK to be honest, better than I was expecting. From the looks of things it won’t be much like DayZ (wandering round with a torch on and a distinct lack of zombies), I will probably give this a go though.

  7. Myros says:

    It’s pretty clear that “WarZ” is nothing more than a name change and story mutation of “WarInc” the game they were actualy working on till DayZ became so popular.

    Screenshots comparing the two:
    http://imgur.com/a/SvNg5/

    Pretty much the same game with a survivor makeover. Not that it means the game will be bad, but it does have that sleezy feeling to me. Is trying to blatantly cash in on another games success and name sleezy? I guess it could be just the standard industry ‘me-too’ stuff, but at least be honest about it.

    • Eophasmus says:

      Thanks for the comparison image; it certainly does look like they fiddled with War Inc slightly, then proclaimed that they’d been working on The War Z for ages. It smacks of ‘cheap knock-off’ to me.

    • felisc says:

      yeah thanks for posting this.

    • Grey Ganado says:

      I knew I’ve seen those assets before.
      Thanks for saving me from a night of research.

    • Mad Hamish says:

      In fairness though you could replace those screens with DayZ stand alone(when released of course) and Arma shots and make exactly the same point.

      It’s pretty much flat out copying DayZ, right down to using the assets from a previous game, but so what. From what they are saying it’s not going to be as hardcore as DayZ is. Different market in my opinion. If it’s good, all the people that think DayZ is a bullshit walking around then die simulator can play WarZ.

      Masochists like myself are still free to torture ourselves in Cherarus.

      Some people are getting so negative about this game it’s almost like they don’t want DayZ to spawn a genre and more games like it appear. One of the reasons DayZ exists.

      • Zelius says:

        But at least they’re honest about DayZ. I am very sceptical that they’ve been working on War Z since before DayZ came out. And there would be nothing wrong with that (competition is good after all, even if they’ve just imitated the concept), but at least be honest about it.

        • dontnormally says:

          Would it be ridiculous to consider that perhaps Rocket got an early look at this and in fact his mod is the dupe?

    • cool4345 says:

      I know this is an alpha build and all, but i had low expectations for this and it barely even met those. It looks like a slightly reskinned version of War Inc with zombies, like you just showed.

      The only difference from day z that this even shows is the outlining of items, different graphics and a different UI.
      The animations are still just as stiff as they are in War Inc, too. I think i read somewhere on the site that this would be at least £20.

      I could get The Dead Linger which is in about the same stages as this, and yet still manages to sound much better, and more unique, for £16. I think i know which one i’ll be getting.

    • Kinth says:

      They have already said this themselves in several interviews. They had made most of the engine but they never really knew what to do with it, they started making War inc and then when Day Z released they knew that the engine would be much better suited to something like that so they started converting what would fit.

  8. Salt says:

    Gosh, that looked much more like DayZ than I was expecting. How charmingly naive I must be.

    Mainly it’s the buildings being strangely emptied of everything except a small pile of practical zombie-survival items in the middle of the floor that does it for me.

  9. Bensam123 says:

    Maybe it’s the way he’s playing, but it just looks like he’s hobbling around like a drunken hobo / penguin. I honestly don’t really have any love for DayZ or any of it’s variants till it improves on the zombie combat. Zombies aren’t really any sort of threat in DayZ. People concentrate mainly on cornholing people rather then the zombies, which isn’t what makes a zombie game good IMO.

    • fyro11 says:

      Some would argue that zombies just provide the backdrop to a post-apocalyptic world, where humans and interactions between them are the more interesting element for a game like this.

      Personally, I think a fine line needs to be walked here. If zombies are buffed, they will be an insurmountable threat and I envisage spawn, die, spawn, die, spawn, die to happen a lot. There’s just far too many zeds, especially when you fire a shot in town. Instead, negligence/carelessness around zombies should be what’s penalised.

      Also, the current state of DayZ doesn’t depict how the game’s actually meant to be played out. Bandits that have a city on lock is more so because they’ve scripted items in. I know it’s anecdotal, but after playing for tens of hours, I’d say more servers are hacked/scripted-in than not.

  10. Muzman says:

    It’ll all depend on how instanced and open it is I guess.

    On DayZ: If the general videos you get these days are anything to go by, the standalone needs to work on making zombies/infected a threat again. It’s all just 90% players shooting each other these days it seems. The decay of civility is supposed to come from the scenario, not just because it’s what people do now.

  11. EvilMachineDad says:

    I know it happens all the time and that my most treasured gems of purity are probably ripoffs of older things.

    But when it is THIS thick with imitation (not plagiarism) I can’t do anything but hate its guts out.

    • EvilMachineDad says:

      Just being an angry internet man. sorry :)

      But that fake dialouge! jesus! it angers me! just put a guy there who hasnt played it before. or be a dev and act like you know your game!

  12. Etherealsteel says:

    I signed up for the Closed Beta, hope I get in, but the game does seem similar to Day Z which I’m sure this developer probably worked on it longer and had the idea before Day Z. What I noticed in War Z is the menu system is certainly better and easier to navigate.

  13. dmastri says:

    The FAQ says closed beta by “end of summer” and release “this fall.”

    This is all the gameplay they could muster? I’d bet this thing fails spectacularly.

  14. celozzip says:

    had no interest in dayz at all on account of the lame running zombies i’ve seen in the vids. thewarz’s zombies seems slower but this idiot was just spraying all over them like l4d or something. how boring. they should’ve showed off how using a gun brings tons of zombies around you and melee weapons are best. something like a mashup between dead island and the walking dead is what i want.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      lame running

      Need I say more?

    • LR100 says:

      One dev said that because the guy sprayed instead of taking careful headshots, the zombies he ‘killed’ will re-animate eventually. So it seems bodyshots take them down for a while, good to help you make an escape if things are too tricky, but only headshots will put them down for good.

  15. Wooly says:

    Looks like DayZ but fun.

  16. Fwiffo says:

    There’s an air of iffyness about the whole thing. I don’t like how it’s garnered such a rabid fanbase willing to defend it, simply from a press release and some staged yet pretty screenshots. People should be a little more skeptical than that.

    Personally I’m waiting till I see more, but judging from that video the movement and gunplay seem a bit simplistic for my tastes. The connection between the gun in your hands and where the bullet flies is very satisfying in DayZ, and this just looks to be boring hitscan nonsense.

    • Mad Hamish says:

      Well I think it’s all rabid DayZ fans facing off against rabid DayZ haters and this game gets stuck in the middle.

  17. ahmedaak88 says:

    Is it using dead island engine ? . because it look exactly the same .

  18. Kinth says:

    It looks better than Day Z to me.
    Going to don my flame suit here. Because I know speaking out against Day Z is like hanging yourself in the gaming community at the moment.

    I got bored of Day Z very quickly because once the novelty wore off (which happens fairly fast because every area looks the same and running through forests for 2 hours is boring) there is just nothing to do. Once you have found the best guns it then becomes an over glorified death match. You spend 2 hours running around for 10 minutes of action. Want to start near your friends? Well fuck you because this is ultra realism land and apparently realism means friends don’t live close to each other and everyone magically appears on a beach. None of this is helped by how unbelievably clunky everything is within Day Z, yeah I know it’s only an “alpha” but you can only use that excuse for so long. Plus they’re building the standalone in the god awful Arma engine and not even in the latest iteration of the Arma engine.

    Instead of fixing the major problems that are already there Rocket just keeps adding pointless stuff that’s exciting for about a minute, he only just started working on the graphical errors that have plagued the game for months because he was too busy pissing around with the dogs feature. He is basically doing what Notch did with Minecraft. Made a brilliant game then used the “it’s an alpha/beta” excuse for two years while adding loads of pointless things that don’t extend the game for longer than 5 minutes and then leaving them unfinished. I don’t get why you are complaining about the blue glow, it’s not like Day Z’s loot is hard to miss.

    The war Z is actually a proper alpha (I.e not publicly available because it is still not fully playable) and so far looks great, more varied environments including a big city. It reminds me of Left 4 Dead with Day Z style game play. The zombies already look far better. The guns obviously need work, but overall it looks far more interesting than Day Z.

    Everyone jumps on the bandwagon calling the War Z “softcore” or a copycat. The only thing that makes Day Z hard or “hardcore” is it doesn’t bloody work properly. Zombies are only hard to kill because they glitch when they move, that isn’t a planned feature for the game that is just a problem with Arma’s engine. If it all worked like it was supposed to the game would be pretty easy. The war Z has every survival feature of Day Z so why is it suddenly considered Softcore? because you can shoot the enemies easier due to them having proper pathing routines?

    Seeing people complain it was too easy to find guns is ridiculous. You have no idea of the context of where he found those guns in relation to the map places and he only found a pistol and one magazine next to a police car. The other gun was on a dead player.

    I swear people are just hating on this game because it’s cool to hate everything other than Day Z right now. It’s the Columbus complex (hipster syndrome) everyone likes to think they were there first and they discovered it, whatever it may be. But as soon as something new comes out in the same space it suddenly gets hate despite how it looks.

    • defunkt says:

      All of this.

      I could care less about its lack or originality, just like I don’t mind purchasing any of the many smartphones that are obviously aping Apple’s iPhone. All companies (Day Z is now a commercial project) operate in this way, may the best (value) product win. It’s good for consumers and presumably those that gravitate toward one would be less satisfied if they only had the other to choose from.

      Frankly if you’re worried about haste driving development look no further than Bohemia’s decision to release the stand alone on ArmA 2′s engine and as for re-using assets from their military shooter; ‘duh’, isn’t the same going to be every bit as true of Bohemia’s Day Z ?

    • dbspin says:

      Couldn’t agree more Kinth. Can’t believe I wasted money on the broken, dull mess that is Day Z.

    • Terragot says:

      Same, Jim convinced me into wasting my money on Day Z and it’s the only game I’ve played where newer iterations are actually introducing worse design. Inane spawn points, no starting weapon (statement from the dev was to prevent spawn camping for ammo, I don’t think he understands the concept of greifing there), breaking limbs, animations that cause zombies to walk through walls / impossible to shoot, removal of the bandit system, introduction of losing your weapon whilst swimming but what really, really tipped me over the edge was when I had my leg broken in the forest with no ammo left in my double barrel shotgun and no zombies around for miles and they had removed the re-spawn button. I can’t continue to play the game because of broken design, why this game gets good press from Jim is beyond me.

    • Baines says:

      Day Z makes me want a S.T.A.L.K.E.R. mod for ARMA.

      Honestly, I think Day Z would benefit if it was that mod, instead of a zombie mod. Day Z simply doesn’t have particularly good zombies. It also has a lot of territory with not much to fill it.

      With a S.T.A.L.K.E.R. themed mod, there would be a larger AI bestiary. Various mutant animals scattered about like the zombies in Day Z, but different stronger mutants the further inland you go. Though those stronger mutants could show up even on the outskirts at times. As well, anomalies and patches of radiation would dot the map.

      Suddenly, ARMA real-estate starts to mean something more than just a big map, as different areas would be different in ways beyond “close to the start area” and “far from the start area/less likely to run into other humans”. And if you take the damage system as well, then you’ve got plenty of types of defense to consider, which means more kinds of items to scatter across your map (armor at the least, and artifacts if you wanted to implement such a thing) and more reason to explore.

      Day Z has somewhat limited itself by going with zombies. Even an aggressive wilderness (no mutants, just regular animals) might be more interesting to play in, even though it would certainly be less popular (because, honestly, the zombies are what sell Day Z).

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      Sounds like it’s cool to hate Day Z now, actually.

      Do you realise that it’s the ‘god awful Arma engine’ that allows the remarkable simulation of Day Z to happen? That allows a huge world filled with players and AI to interact in freeform and meaningful ways? That allowed Day Z to become such a hit to begin with because the stories players were making were always unique, interesting, and fun to watch?

      If you prefer a game to hold your hand and point you to the next objective all the time, obviously a genuine sandbox like Day Z is not for you. Stick to Borderlands or something.

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      No, it got boring for you.

      DayZ is a great game, BECAUSE you can wander around for 2-3 hours on a fully populated server, and never see any other survivors.

      And when you do see them, you don’t know how to react, you’re nervous because you have great loot, are they just as nervous? Are they going to shoot you? Are they willing to trade/help?
      The zed are almost barely a placeholder, it could just as easily be aliens or cowboys, or giant worms for all I care, they just make the gathering interesting.
      My real interest comes from the tense situations of meeting other people.

      As for saying which game is better than which, it is impossible to tell, with a few videos and screens of WarZ, ’nuff said.

      • Corrupt_Tiki says:

        As for the people who ‘wasted’ money on DayZ, it was a mod, you bought ArmA.
        You didn’t have to buy it, but you did, suck it up.
        And Rocket said before it was official that he was probably going to turn it into a standalone.

    • varangian says:

      @ Kinth Instead of fixing the major problems that are already there Rocket just keeps adding pointless stuff

      I read somewhere that his latest idea is to get rid of the HUD indicators for hunger/thirst by having stomach rumbles. A while back it was having bandits betray themselves because of their scowling faces – like this would work when most of the time said bandit shoots you in the back from cover 300m away.

      He seems to be fiddling around with ideas for things that aren’t particular problems, like the HUD, or don’t solve anything like the ludicrous scowly face idea. Meanwhile the zombies are rubbish, the zombie survival game has turned into deathmatch and hackers run riot across the servers. He should focus on the big issues and worry about minor tweaks later but seems to have no inclination to do this.

      • Corrupt_Tiki says:

        @ varangian,

        Ummm, Rocket has said the only way to properly deal with hackers is to make a standalone game, if they did it in ArmA 2 (as they were thinking, remember he is/has support from BI) it would simply hamstring the ArmA 2 engine too much.

  19. Brothabear says:

    This is by FAR the most unprofessional Dev-Team ive ever seen….did you see thier twitter message, about the guy that said the game was a Scam? The Devs posted “EAT SHIT” ……not somthin I wanna see from ppl wanting My money.

  20. ninjapirate says:

    DAYFACE!

  21. johnki says:

    Wait wait wait. If this is pretty much War Inc goes Day Z, then why are they even bothering putting it on Greenlight? War Inc is already on Steam.

    • Zelius says:

      They’ve put it on Greenlight? Do they realize the old way of getting games on Steam (i.e. simply having them be approved by Steam itself) is still valid?

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Greenlight meant for finished games that otherwise wouldn’t be on Steam? It shouldn’t be just another way to create hype for a game that isn’t even released yet.

      • johnki says:

        Well, no. The old way isn’t valid anymore.

        http://www.steampowered.com/steamworks/FAQ.php

        I was simply implying that they’re already on Steam, hence wondering why they’d need Greenlight. If their ArmA’s been approved, why wouldn’t their in-house, commercial Day Z be approved?

        • Baines says:

          I’ve read a few complaints about Greenlight that imply otherwise, that just because you’ve already gotten games onto Steam before Greenlight went into place doesn’t guarantee that you can skip Greenlight in the future.

        • Zelius says:

          Oh. Wow. I did not expect that.

          But surely there must be some way to circumvent Greenlight? I can’t see major publishers having to put up their COD equivalents there. Maybe that’s the thing, though. Large publishers get a free pass, while indies’ only option is to fight for our attention on Greenlight? I can’t say I’m happy about that.

  22. mr.ioes says:

    I have never seen such a stuttering movement in a shooter.

  23. Slinkyboy says:

    DayZ fucked me when I bought it just before they announced a standalone. Fuck Rocket. I’m buying this game if it’s any good.

  24. Johnnyrico says:

    “Aaaahmm there is nothing in the car though” ….

    Oh come on ! Thats so fake !

    He didnt even look half a second inside the car because he knows that the Game
    doesnt place Loot inside cars :D

    • tigershuffle says:

      guess you missed the bit that “useable items” are surrounded in a blue glow – so to him it was obvious nothing was in the car

      back to DayZ……. not sure if Rocket is still on his U2 style world tour of meetngreet industry shmoozing but at least they have finally started posting some news about the state of play of 1.7.3 update.

      Been a negative soul im pretty sure its been all about the profile of the standalone and not the mod.

      The only positive I can give all the people whining about paying for Arma 2 to play an alpha mod is……. play the game you bought or better still check out the mods already out like ACE or Invasion 44. Cos they are far better than an alpha that has used the ai of ‘hares’ for zombies :D

      • Johnnyrico says:

        There wont be Loot in weird positions like a backseat of a car. All loot was generated on the floor around them, like the medikit next to the ambulance … they could have put the medikit inside the ambulance to show their cool feature of generated loot inside vehicles.

        That was pure scam to act like its a realistic situation/game, lets just see when the game comes out .

  25. remoteDefecator says:

    Kind of hard to tell anything significant from this short video, but the one thing that stands out to me is the setting. It’s deep in a highly-developed urban area, under a raised highway, with skyscrapers in the distance. Personally, I think I will enjoy the hardcore survival experience a little more in a dense urban setting, rather than in a mostly-rural, broke-ass post-Soviet backwater.

    • tigershuffle says:

      me too……. give me a setting like I am Legend for zombies/infected.

      Chernarus would make a brilliant Jeremiah Johnson survival mod/game (v. sioux?!) though :)

  26. Codi says:

    I really wish games that aren’t MMO’s would stop calling themselves MMO’s “Choose from over 400 servers or the option to rent your own dedicated server” that’s not an MMO, that’s a FPS with a private server system.

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