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DayZ shambles out of early access next week

DayZ, DayZ, what are you going to do?

Not-being-eaten-by-zombies simulator DayZ has had a huge impact on gaming over its six years of development, arguably inspiring the all-consuming tide of battle royale shooters. Not bad considering that it's still not out yet. The end is very nearly in sight, though - Bohemia Interactive say it's leaving early access next Thursday, December 13th, after a whirlwind run of beta testing. It recently added base-building, upgraded animal AI and integrated mod support, and began a major round of bug-hunting. Below, a near-final trailer, giving us a peek at its eastern European apocalypse.

For those late to the party, DayZ (pronounced like the Super Smash Bros character) is a survival sandbox originally based on military sim Arma 2. As one of a handful of survivors (up to sixty active players per server) in the huge country of Chernarus, there's been a teensy outbreak of Zombitis. Your goal is whatever you want it to be, whether it's hunting the deadliest game, creating your own little camp with friends or living the end-of-the-world life, whooping and hollering as you gut and loot strangers. You can eat animals, scavenge, craft gear or die from diseases and generally suffer. A lot.

Watch on YouTube

Bohemia are keen to stress that launch isn't the end for DayZ, but rather the culmination of a major push to polish the game until it's stable, runs smoothly and is as balanced as a murder-sandbox can be. Several features were shelved on the run-up to launch, including grenades and other throwable weapons, but Bohemia plan to unveil a development road-map for feature and content updates early next year. The whole situation feels a bit 28 Days Later - games have changed since DayZ began life as a wonky little mod. Will its developers even recognise this mad new world?

DayZ is still in early access on Steam, and costs £23/€28/$35. The price will increase to £32/€38/$45 on launch day.

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Dominic Tarason