DayM: Rocket’s Next Game To Be About Mountaineering

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.”


  1. godofdefeat says:

    Is it just me or i haven´t seen a game about mountaineering to this day?

    • KirbyEvan says:

      Vertigo is a pretty cool physics based mountain climbing game.

      • Henke says:

        Heeeey that looks cool. Will have to download it when I get home today. Loved GIRP so I’m sure I’ll like this too. :)

    • P7uen says:


    • Karmakaze says:

      Alpiner on the TI-99/4A was awesome.

    • redd says:

      There was a (National Geographic?) game called Everest that came out about ten years ago. You had to choose and manage a small team to climb various mountains. It got critically panned but I rather liked it.

    • Synesthesia says:

      Boardgames did it! K2 was reviewed by SUSD not too long ago.

      link to

  2. Viroso says:

    A survival game is all I’ve ever wanted from a zombie game. I’d say zombie games without this element aren’t zombie games.

  3. Discopanda says:

    I was pretty afraid that Rocket would die climbing Mt. Everest. Do people still die climbing Mt. Everest?

    • Clavus says:

      He made a blog post about it. On the way to the top they passed a guy that was dead or dying. Quite eerie and sad.

    • Jaks says:

      I know it sounds super internet to say so, but climbing Everest isn’t nearly as difficult as it used to be. The Sherpas make a lot of money on that mountain and have pretty much streamlined a series of ropes to the summit. There was an article in the news a few weeks ago about there being a queue of about 200 climbers waiting to summit and people were getting pissed off at having to wait.

      Also two octogenarians were competing to be the oldest person to summit Everest. And a paraplegic.

      I mean yeah you have to be in pretty good shape and altitude sickness is still going to stop a lot of people, but climbing Everest isn’t the thing it used to be.

      Now am I the only person in the world that is sick of this stupid modder getting 5 articles a day on pc gaming websites? Who cares what his next “game” is going to be. He hasn’t even made a first game.

      • Davie says:

        I like how you went from polite and informative to obnoxious and trollish in a single sentence.

      • MiKHEILL says:

        And you can claim to be capable of climbing Everest or even modding? His mod was less content and more back-end code; it’s closer to a “game” in its own right (in the amount of code that it added and gameplay mechanics that it introduced or altered) than most mods out there could even dream of coming. It was enough to get him working at CCP before the mod was even released to the public.

        Not to mention that his lack of a long and storied career in designing and building games is hardly enough to label him a “stupid modder”. People write about him and listen to him because he is intelligent, insightful, and in charge of a fascinating project. He’s also one of the most approachable game devs out there.

    • spacedyemeerkat says:

      Yes, plenty of people “still die” while climbing Everest. In fact, nine people have died in 2013 and 10 in 2012. It’s still not the walk in the park some would have you believe.

  4. Amun says:

    I hate this guy for his crappy DayZ patches. I don’t care what his next game is.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      It’s a mod. It’s free. And if you’re sick of it, you don’t have to play it.

      So.. why the hate? If you think you can do better, go and be a modder.

    • Jimmy says:

      Haha. While the hardcore 30+ hours per week sedentary gamerz are moaning about patches and EA licensing, this guy climbs Mount Everest.

  5. Cross says:

    That picture does look like he stuck his whole head down a massive jar of cocaine.

  6. trout says:

    Sounds like his next game will be tough to scale – I wonder if it’ll reach the previous heights of DayZ, or if he’s peaked too early..

  7. Richie Shoemaker says:

    I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking MIDWINTER!

  8. fitzroy_doll says:


  9. lijenstina says:

    As long as he builds a bridge between the two mountain tops he will be fine.

  10. Chris says:

    Climbing Everest is still more dangerous than being on death row.

  11. ostrich160 says:

    Cant say this is particularly pleasing to me, it sounds like he wants to rush through DayZ to make this new game, which means as soon as its up and working updates will end. Just stick with one game, if you have other ideas do them later, the game isnt even released and he’s already thinking of new ventures.

    • Clavus says:

      A game designer having multiple game ideas at the same time? How preposterous!

  12. communisthamster says:

    Well, DayZ is already a walking simulator.

  13. Vulgar_Monkey says:

    As a gamer, mountaineer, and occasional climbing instructor, I’ve been waiting a long time for a game like this but didnt expect to see it. I’m sure he’ll make a good job of it. So far the closest we have are the above examples of GIRP et al, but frankly these bare nothing in common with the real thing, physics or not. It’s simply due to lack of technique. No footwork at all, for example.

    As for everest, well…..on the one hand it is more commercialised, sure, but that doesnt make it ‘easier’. Most people die on everest from exposure or being stuck in the death zone too long. This can be due to injury, running out of bottled oxygen due to a screw up or bad rationing, but probably mostly due to weather. A storm blows in unexpectedly and cuts you off from a descent, and you’re stuck at altitude, with your body basically slowly leaking to death.

    As such, it may not be as technical as K2, but there’s still a lot of decision making and judgement required. I think, much like DayZ, this’ll be the crux of the game. I can imagine deciding ‘do I go striaght up the north face and save time but at risk of injury or altitude sickness, or use the western pass slow and steady but risk taking too long and having the weather catch up with me?’ is not that different to ‘do I shoot this zed and alert all his mates, or do I let him eat my buddy but leave behind all the loot he found?’