DayZ, arguably the game that started the explosion of battle royale shooters, is becoming one itself. Or at least adding one as an optional mode. To Bohemia Interactive's credit, Survivor GameZ doesn't sound like the standard 'closing circle of death'. Instead, it's more inspired by the original Battle Royale film and novel, with players constrained to looting, shooting and evading zombies in a series of safe areas. Matches end in a rush for a final objective with the power to wipe other players off the map. The first public alpha test begins soon, DayZ owners can sign up for it here.
While Survivor GameZ is an official Bohemia-developed mode, its name was first used in a DayZ mod community-run PvP event dating all the way back to 2012. Brendan "PlayerUnknown" Greene even cited it as an inspiration for his game of battled grounds and plunked bats. The new, official Survivor GameZ seems a bit more structured, and sounds similar to the original Battle Royale. Players are equipped with explosive collars that keep them within play-areas, but during 'intermission' phases, they can explore for lucrative gear in caches outside the combat zones.
The rules change in the final phase, with players guided to a final point. After a time, the further away you are, the more damage you take. Claiming the point for yourself makes you immune. It sounds like Survivor GameZ will be using the full survival rules as regular DayZ, but with a few tweaks. Medical items - normally fiddly to use - work to instantly heal yourself or revive unconscious teammates. Judging by the banner art on the official Survivor GameZ page, it's not just your fellow man that you're trying to murder, either. The undead are around, and like to home in on gunfire.
While many wrote the much-delayed game off as it left early access, Bohemia Interactive have supported DayZ well, and it seems to have finally regained its footing. It'll never be an earth-shattering mega-hit like Plunkbat or Apelegs, but player counts have been steadily rising since launch, and a mixture of good official support and modding keeps players around. It's always sad to see a multiplayer community fizzle out, so knowing that a game as influential as DayZ is on the up-and-up is nice to see.