Viral Sensation: A Sloshing Syringe Of H1Z1 Footage

By Nathan Grayson on April 29th, 2014 at 11:00 am.

A quick primer for those who’ve been living under a rock: 1) SOE’s making a spiritual successor to Star Wars Galaxies that is also a zombie game, 2) yeah I know, and 3) zombies have transcended mere fad-dom and become immortal cultural icons for reasons I’ll never be able to fully comprehend. H1Z1‘s impressively ambitious within a very narrow lineage, though. Think DayZ or Rust, but with thousands of players per server, huge areas for them all to build on, and realistic fire to purify all that the unholy hand of man has wrought. Or piss off your friends/enemies. Whichever. Quick trailer and lengthier recording of a recent Twitch stream below.

The trailer is a trailer, but the stream’s a fair bit more revealing. Vehicles are already in, as is the Promised (Very, Very Big) Land. Zombies, meanwhile, seem vicious but idiotic, and the whole thing (rather predictably, given the lack of other players) feels pretty empty otherwise. Also clunky.

H1Z1 is clearly quite early at this point, so we largely have to take SOE on good faith for a lot of the less derivative features it’s been promising. On the upside, a more public alpha should be arriving soon-ish, so hopefully the wait to build, form relationships that could last a lifetime, and then flippantly burn it all down won’t be too long.

For the time being, how are you feeling about SOE’s rapidly progressing case of zombie fever? It might not look like the freshest corpse in the mausoleum, but what about on its own merits? If SOE delivers on its promises, do you think H1Z1 will be worth one quick look or more than a few Zs?

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33 Comments »

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  1. razgon says:

    I’m unsure where you get clunky from…I’ll give you empty, but for an early alpha, the game already looks quite good.

    I think SOE is one of the few companies with the expertise, money and balls to actually do this right regarding scope , and Smedley seems incredibly sincere in listening to players so this could become quite interesting.

    • Flopper says:

      A company like SOE is dangerous… They have the money and talent to be ambitious but not beyond their limitations…

      Planetside 2
      Landmark
      EQ Next
      H1Z1

      Gonna be a massive next few years for SOE.

    • Monkeh says:

      Exactly. I would even say that, to me it already looks a lot less clunky than DayZ.. (you can walk through doors normally, wow!)

  2. AshRolls says:

    SOE have a good track record of implementing impressive technical platforms. Look at Everquest Next and Planetside 2 as great examples of pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in MMOs.

    However I am less than impressed by their lacklustre general art direction, (mis)management at higher levels, and appalling support services. If you give the company money be prepared to be treated terribly.

    • Naed says:

      Everquest Next you say? Track record you say?

      Would you look at that, I was fairly certain that track record required that there was something to track.

      and you know, not just marketing

      • EveryoneIsWrong says:

        He probably meant landmark…

        • Naed says:

          Doesnt really matter which one he meant, it doesnt really make much sense either way :)

          • AshRolls says:

            You’re arguing that the impressive technology of SOE’s Everquest Next (Landmark) is purely marketing when this very site has covered hands on with it? Strange.

            http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/11/11/i-built-a-giant-ice-cream-in-everquest-next-landmark/

          • Naed says:

            Nah, no argument as such, merely mentioning that a company that promises big isnt the same as a company that delivers big.

            I thought people kinda had learned their lesson from the multiple games in recent memory that have promised big and delivered so very little :/

          • Flopper says:

            Except the editors of this site and many users including myself have put our hands on Landmark and know how good it is… It’s not a mythical game that no one has seen or touched.

  3. FriedrichSchritt says:

    Only thing I dislike about this game so far is that it’s going to be a Free to play, I really dislike them in general.

  4. Deadly Habit says:

    3:)) zombies have transcended mere fad-dom and become immortal cultural icons for reasons I’ll never be able to fully comprehend

    Someone hasn’t seen Romero’s Living Dead saga and the social commentary it covers so well.

    • Terragot says:

      The thing with Zombies as social commentary is that it works with any setting.

      “Oh the zombies in a mall, it’s a commentary on the mindlessness of consumer culture.”

      “Oh Zombies at the theme park, it’s a commentary on the mindlessness of human desire for thrill seeking.”

      “Oh zombies on the moon, it’s a commentary on the mindlessness of human ambition.”

      “Oh, honey I shrunk the zombies, it’s a commentary on the mindlessness of human sci-fi narrative, and the constant barrage of ham-fisting pop-culture references into established franchises.”

      • The Random One says:

        Yeah, well, of course. Zombies are a narrative tool, and anyone who’s skilled with a tool can use it for several purposes. Do you also complain that handymen use a hammer to build a table and then also use it to take down a wooden beam because it weakens the purpose of the hammer?

        • HiFiHair says:

          lf only you could talk to these creatures, then perhaps you could try and make friends with them, form alliances… Now, that would be interesting.

      • Ada says:

        I think honestly zombies as a cultural phenomenon reflect the idea that somewhere deep in our culture we still want to be the strongest person with the biggest gun, running around killing off the hordes of weak people.

        Pathological fear of death/decay/disease + desire for big guns + an excuse to use them on lots of people.

      • MechanicalPen says:

        Zombies also happen to be a safe and easy enemy for developers to implement.

        Zombies are people shaped, so one can reuse the animation rigging and possibly even the models of the people shaped people in the game. Just slap a bloody coat of paint and a stumbly walking animation on it and call it a day.

        Zombies are also dumb, and dumb AI is cheaper and easier to write.

    • EveryoneIsWrong says:

      The reason I think I enjoy zombies so much is the way they combine a multitude of fears:

      Predators/being eaten, humans/others, disease, crowds, an enemy that cannot be reasoned with and death(in that life in a zombie apocalypse highlights the slow but steady and inevitable pace of death creeping toward us all).

      Zombies provide an excuse for a post-apocalyptic setting which is a fun one that shows us how dependent and comfortable in our societies built upon incredible depths of worker specialization (no one person contains the knowledge of how to keep everything operational, but the specialization allows us to have access to incredible things).

      Obviously this is all the perspective of someone who has been a huge fan of zombies since the first resident evil game (maybe before that too). The “zombie renaissance” we are in right now has been a mixed bag for me. While more attention has been put on zombies and we are clearly getting more zombie media than ever, I honestly can’t tell if it has increased the amount of QUALITY zombie stuff we have.. it may just be volume.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        This is the problem, largely with the video game industry as a whole tbh. It’s just a bunch of bandwagon jumping. Day Z came out as a mod, it was successful, then everybody entered the arms race to make a zombie survival game. The first batch of games to come out have been absolute garbage (namely the War Z/whatever the fuck its called now, also Day one garry’s incident, which while not exactly a zombie game is clearly based off this currently trending genre) they were clearly just cash ins looking to be the first game out so they have a captive audience.

        Maybe the next bunch of releases will be better titles that have had more time taken over them etc. I’m still unsure though whether by the time that happens people won’t just be sick of the genre due to the endless stream of crap zombie games we’ve witnessed.
        Also the situation with Day Z standalone hasn’t helped, people interested in the genre have had to wait from what was supposed to be a 2012 release and still all we’ve seen is a walking simulator. At this point the actual zombie apocalypse may happen before the game is released.

      • iseemonkeys says:

        I completely agree with you about quality. I am completely obsessed with zombies across wide a media (books, movies, tv shows, and games) yet I found so much of the options today uninteresting and garbage for the most part. I am still hoping for a video game to come along that will capture my interest and actual be completed. Dayz was fun as a mod and I could overlook the engine limitations but for a standalone I cant. I now hope a major studio can bring something to life

    • ucfalumknight says:

      I feel that Romero lost his punch on Social Commentary with Day of the Dead. The fact that these inhuman monsters were beginning to remember, emulate, embody, whatever what they were formally really doesn’t make any coherent sense. I still feel Bob in that movie ruined whatever came after. Was Bob conditioned? Was he remembering? Were his emotions and behavior emergent? Romero’s efforts since then: Land, Survival, and Diary were sad attempts to regain what made Night and Dawn so amazing.

      As far as Zombies as an antagonist? They shove in our face things we do not like to confront. Cannibalism and our own mortality.

      Oh, and one more thing: ZOMBIES DON’T RUN!!

  5. Premium User Badge

    cpt_freakout says:

    If anyone’s interested, there’s another zombie MMO being developed by the guys behind State of Decay. Probably still in pre-pre alpha stage, but it’s worth thinking that competition might make a difference quality-wise for these two zombie MMOs (Infestation Stories or whatever the hell War Z is called now doesn’t count).

  6. MykulJaxin says:

    Before I watch any footage, I’m going to speculate on how they pronounce their title. Is it “Hizzie,” “Hai-Zee-Eye,” or perhaps “Aych Won Zee Wun?”

  7. bleeters says:

    ‘Like DayZ but with thousands of players’ sounds nightmarish.

  8. SkittleDiddler says:

    Quality of the final product notwithstanding, I find it ironic that this will be done and released before DayZ Standalone is even close to being considered finished. I guess you could say that about all the other upcoming zombie games though.

  9. Everlast says:

    I know it’s still early, but at least the mechanics of hitting a zombie with an axe looks soooooo much better than DayZ’s clunky mess of a melee system.

  10. Shodex says:

    I’m in a cautious “wait and see” mode. I love SOE and I love DayZ, but the zombie fad is so overblown and there are too many open-world zombie games coming out that are frankly quite abysmal looking.

    Knowing modern SOE, I’m sure this game is free to play right? I’ll check it out when it’s available, but forgive me for not being hyped.

  11. Joc says:

    *grumble grumble* banned by SOE *grumble grumble* false-positives and shitty jaded customer service.

    I’ll stick to DayZ.

  12. Bart Stewart says:

    I am curious: in what way(s) is this game supposed to be attractive to those who enjoyed Star Wars Galaxies before the dark times?

    SWG’s setting of people going about their daily lives on various planets, was — despite occasionally walking into a Tatooine town over a carpet of Rebel corpses — pretty supportive of cooperative play (skills needed each other), creative play (people built amazing things in their homes out of little objects), non-combat play (Dancers, Droid Engineers, Image Designers), and occasionally quite soothing locations (many places on Naboo).

    A zombie game is, presumably, about trying to survive in a disease-ridden, festering hell-hole of insufficient resources and instant death.

    Is SOE really thinking that former SWG players will be lured to H1Z1 for the setting? If not, are they thinking the gameplay mechanics of H1Z1 will seem so similar to SWG’s that they will pull in the refugees?

    I’m not saying “can’t happen”; I’m just a bit skeptical (knowing the high bar SOE faces with inviting disillusioned SWG players to “come home”) but open to being persuaded. Is there any real persuasion visible yet?

    • TimePointFive says:

      Although I’m hopefully optimistic of this game, I’m more upset this was Smedley’s “gift” to SWG vets…