Developer Bohemia Interactive feared a fan backlash when it announced plans to launch a standalone DayZ game.
DayZ is a free fan-made zombie mod for the PC game ARMA II and has been a huge success, helping the three-year old ARMA II sit atop the Steam charts for several weeks earlier in the summer. It has been downloaded over 1m times.
The title was created by Dean Hall, who now works for ARMA II developer Bohemia Interactive, and he is being tasked with creating a paid-for standalone game.
As a result, Bohemia CEO Marek Spanel told MCV at Gamescom this week that he feared fans would react negatively to the firm charging for the title. But in fact, the company’s consumers understood the need to split the product out from ARMA II.
"We feared how they may react," he told MCV.
"Because they might feel it was not fair because they had to pay money for something that was initially free if they owned ARMA II. But we have been really surprised because they have been really positive and really supportive.
"To support DayZ properly, making it a standalone game was the only way ahead. As a mod, we can only really take it as far as we have now. That doesn’t mean we are abandoning the mod or that we won’t try to support it further, there will be quite a few updates for the mod as well to keep it alive. But there are many limits that we cannot just overcome with it being just a mod. So a standalone game is the only way ahead for us to make a game better.
"As a mod, you have to think about all the other mods as well and ARMA II itself it can become a nightmare. If you change something just to serve DayZ, and then you break another mod. Or you break the campaigns. In ARMA II you have five or six major campaigns now. So this is difficult. We just need a standalone DayZ so we can work on it. That’s the reality. And we are really happy that users understand it."
Spanel says there’s no release date yet for DayZ, but says he hopes to get something out as soon as possible. And has called on fans to help work on the development.
"We want to do an alpha the sooner the better, and then fast iterations and build. And we want our users to be part of development. That is how we have been doing it on ARMA II for years. The users are in the middle. We really need them. ARMA II would not be what it is if it weren’t for them."