Survival sandbox H1Z1: Just Survive [official site] today receives a big update but also loses its name. The update will bring a new level, a new base-building system, a revamp of weapons and melee combat, and more. At the same time, H1Z1: Just Survive is now named simply Just Survive. Developers Daybreak Game Company don’t state a sensible reason for the rebranding but I’d guess they’re trying to avoid people confusing it with H1Z1: King of the Kill, the massively popular Battle Royale ’em up spin-off designed by the creator of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds.
First, new things to do! The new maps is Badwater Canyon, not to be confused with TF2’s Badwater Basin. Replacing the game’s original map, it’s rolling out in pieces as development is finished. It’s starting with Pine Mill Reservoir, a forested region which fills about a quarter of the planned map, then will expand over time. It looks quite nice.
Base-building is overhauled with the new ‘Stronghold’ system, which has natty modular building and attack/defend events. Daybreak say that weapons “have been rebuilt from scratch, introducing tiers to each weapon type while fine-tuning them to look and feel unique.” Melee combat is also improved “with a new hit registration system and attack animation overhaul.”
Full patch notes are over here.
As for the rebranding, Daybreak gab on about how “Just Survive is about more than just killing zombies, it’s about the player’s survival journey” and how it “reflects how Just Survive is developing into a more mature and polished game”. Call me a horrible cynic, but I’d guess it’s more that Just Survive drags King of the Kill down.
Both the survival and Battle Royale games were once modes within one singular H1Z1. But since they split into standalone games, King of the Kill has become the fourth-most-played game on Steam and Just Survive has dropped out of the top 100. People mistaking Just Survive for King of the Kill surely causes problems for the more-successful game.
I can’t think of any other reason why Daybreak would cut Just Survive off from one of the biggest new brand names on PC (as generic as ‘H1Z1’ is), leaving it to strike out on its own with an unmemorable name. Other games with Survive-y names already on Steam include Survive, How to Survive, Survive the Nights, Go To Bed: Survive The Night, and Learn Japanese To Survive! Katakana War. Okay, it’s unlikely people will confuse Just Survive with the last one, but sheesh.
Our last look at Just Survive was back in March 2016, when Rob Zacny found it too much of a grind. More recently, Rich McCormick last week revisited King of the Kill to see how much that has changed over time. Not enough, is the answer.