DayZ creator Dean “Rocket” Hall recently climbed a very big mountain. Many game developers take time off by going on lavish-ish tropical vacations or catching up on two-year game/movie/strained family relationships backlogs, but Rocket – true to his nickname – ascended Mount Everest. (OK, maybe not many real rockets specifically shoot for mountains, but you get the idea. IGNORE MY FLIMSY METAPHOR.) It turns out, however, that he wasn’t just on holiday. Sure, DayZ’s still got a bit of a way to go, but Rocket has his sights set on something new. And no, there won’t be any zombies this time.
“Yeah, [my next game] is one of the reasons I went,” Rocket told RPS during a recent interview. “Mountain climbing’s my next game, I think. I wrote a design while I was up there, but I need to get DayZ done first.”
It wasn’t just about the new game, either. Rocket explained that DayZ actually benefited from the rather daunting change of scenery as well. “I’ve been working on DayZ [almost non-stop]. It blew up in April of last year and went supernova in June. Those were long days, ever since then. I needed a break. I know Everest doesn’t sound like time off for some people, but it gave me good perspective. I came back with even more perspective about taking a climb and making DayZ a good game, even if we lose fans. Even if it displeases people, it’s much better to displease them by being late than displease them by making a shitty game.”
He noted, meanwhile, that an Arma 3 version of DayZ’s not in the cards because the engine isn’t really ideally suited for what the undead destroy-people’s-faith-in-humanity-‘em-up has evolved into. On top of that, he – like pretty much everybody else in existence – is starting to get kinda sick of zombies.
“Yeah, I am [getting tired of zombies],” he admitted. “That’s why I’m doing a mountaineering game next.”
And yet, in spite of the fairly radical change in subject matter, Rocket didn’t treat this like some out-of-left-field leap off the deep end. DayZ, after all, hasn’t really ever been about zombies. Survival is Rocket’s game, whether he’s being bitten by undead hordes or unstoppable frost.
“I don’t think DayZ’s actually a zombie game,” he said. “It’s a survival game with zombies. I think there’s room for us. We’re really pushing into the survival aspect of it. I think that’s what people want. The zombies are a good antagonist, so we’re using them. But it’s really a survival game.”