Watching gameplay videos for the ARMA 2 DayZ mod throughout 2012 had us excited at the idea of open world survival in a zombie-filled environment, and so when Hammerpoint Interactive announced The War Z back in July, we were hoping for a polished, complete and feature-rich version of the fan-made mod. We were so, so wrong.
Let’s talk about the release of The War Z and why hackers may be attacking it right now.
Long story short, The War Z released on Steam in late December and after an onslaught of negative feedback and accusations of false advertising and plagiarized images from The Walking Dead, Valve took it down, offering refunds to those who purchased the game. Here’s a sample of why:
The issues boiled down to listed game features not actually being in the build of the game being sold. The game’s description on Steam was simply not accurate, and instead was very misleading, and the situation was made worse when The War Z executive producer Sergey Titov continued to blame gamers for misreading, claiming “there’s a difference between false claims and perception of the text.”
Some fans were vocal about forum posts about refunds being deleted/censored, while others accuse the developers of scamming the community for releasing a ‘version 1.0′ game that didn’t include many of the key features fans cared about (and were listed as included). The few reviews that made it up to Metacritic are rather reflective of this sentiment:
2000+ user scores averaging just over a 1/10 must be a record.
Titov could only take so much bad press before he changed his tune, apologizing for being “arrogant” in an open letter to the community, and now they’re on the road to recovery. He fessed up to the issues, admitted he agreed with Steam’s decision to remove the game for the time being, and said – believe it or not – it was an internal communication error between marketing and the devs as to why the listing was so inaccurate.
Players who wanted a refund through Steam could get it, players who wish to keep playing can do that too, while Hammerpoint continues to develop the title. For its short time on the platform, it sold very well.
The War Z now faces a new challenge: hackers. Hammerpoint’s community manager took to the game’s official forums to post that “over the last few days we have been under attack by various forums of malicious attempts to shut down our servers.” The servers were knocked out of commission intermittently but as of a few hours ago, are back up for the time being.
The timing of the hacker attacks are probably not a coincidence, but we’ve seen Sony, Ubisoft and others attacked for various reasons that in the end, hurt the gamer, so who knows. No matter what, it’s painful for the players who bought the game and want to play it.
It’s been a sad month for The War Z, a game that seemed so promising. Whether or not you believe Hammerpoint can evolve it into something special remains to be seen, but hey, Bohemia Interactive is working with DayZ creator Dean Hall on a standalone DayZ game and you can be darn sure they’re learning a lot from this.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.