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DayZ will leave early access next year

A new DayZ will dawn in 2018

I'd forgotten all about DayZ, but being reminded of it's existence brings the memories flooding back. That moment when I broke my legs, and my friend had to put me out of my misery and inadvertently became a bandit. That time when I was stranded, weaponless on a rooftop and the same friend arrived just in time to save me. The session where I was playing with Pip while she was streaming, and got taken hostage by two of her friends who convinced me they were random strangers.

The devs have written a status report, containing news both good and bad. The bad: the next major update isn't coming until next year. The good: DayZ will come out of early access in 2018. Maybe then I'll dive back in and try to get myself kidnapped again.

In the status report, after announcing that build 0.63 won't be ready to go this year, lead producer Eugen Harton highlights some of the many, many features that are currently in the "broken internal version" of 0.63. The team insist that the build, which will take DayZ from its alpha stage into beta once it reaches the stable servers, isn't ready for even the experimental servers - though it might might be frustrating to read that Eugen finds it "very hard to go back to 0.62" after playing the latest build.

I'll leave you to go through the full list yourself, but highlights include new crafting, zombie types, map changes, diseases, and herding behaviour for animals. Ok, it might mainly be me who's excited about herding behaviour for animals.

He adds that between the release of the build on the experimental and stable servers, they'll also be adding vehicles, helicopters and base-building. That leads into another massive list of stuff that they're planning to add during the beta, with more overhauls to everything from the movement system to modding tools.

Eugen then lists the features that won't be coming until after version 1.0, and explains the reasoning behind that for each of them - which in every case is a variant of 'this would take us too long and we want to focus on something else'. One feature that's been entirely scrapped for the time being are animal companions, which was apparently just too ambitious.

In what might technically count as my games journalism debut, at the first ever Rezzed I asked Dean Hall when I'd get to run around DayZ with a dog by my side. 'Soon', he told me, with a thumbs up and a grin - in 2012.

It's worth bearing in mind that this isn't the first time Bohemia have talked about a release window for DayZ - the 2015 development roadmap had the final release pegged for the first half of 2016. Eugen says that they've committed to a 2018 release while "taking all of (their) previous scheduling mistakes into the account", but I wouldn't be too surprised if the date ends up slipping yet again.

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