After making a huge splash as an Arma 2 mod in 2009, DayZ is slowly developing into its own standalone release. The title is currently in the midst of early alpha testing, which anyone can get in on, and should eventually become readily available from there.
Unfortunately, as developer Bohemia Interactive continues to refine DayZ they will do so with the knowledge that creator Dean Hall is not in it for the long haul. Rather, Hall has already revealed his departure from Bohemia by the end of this year.
In an interview Eurogamer, Hall reveals that his original plan didn't even include staying at Bohemia for this year, but he decided that would be in poor form. But, when 2014 comes to a close, he will be gone.
"I am a grenade. I have a specific use. I'm really good at risk-taking and making other people take risks, I've always been good at that in my life. Like you say, maybe I've got the gift of the gab, so I can talk, I can explain something, I can talk people up to the ledge and get them to jump off it...But eventually, that's the bad person to have. Eventually, you don't want the guy telling you to go over the top and get through. So at some point I'll be a disaster for the project, at least in a leadership role."
Hall also notes that Bohemia is not his own studio, so his departure is not on the level as, say, Markus Persson stepping away from Minecraft. And it's not as if Hall is leaving DayZ in less capable hands either; the standalone game's original development team is still committed to getting a finished product out to the public.
As far as when the public can expect a full retail version of DayZ, Hall suspects it won't be until some time in 2015. He anticipates that a beta test of the zombie survival title will roll out some time in late 2014 or, if issues arise, in January or February of 2015. Said beta test would then presumably be followed by a full release later in the year.
"The roadmap is end of the year. but we don't want to release the beta on, like, December 12th or whatever. The beta date would either be prior to the end of the year, so November or something, or it would be pushed to January or February with more QA."
Hall also teased that talk of a console release for DayZ might be in the cards, or at least he and the developers at Bohemia have taken a lot of meetings. He says that the team will continue to consider a console release and he expects "stuff will definitely develop" there. He wouldn't go so far as to say a decision will be made this year, but he thinks that some form of announcement — be it the game is in development for consoles, or Bohemia has made an agreement — might happen this year.
"I would be surprised if we hadn't made a decision by the end of the year. Whether that means it's being actively developed or released... I'd be surprised if any console port could be developed in 12 months; we haven't fully started developing anything yet for a console, so..."
They say that it's best to go out on top, and it appears that is exactly what Dean Hall is doing. His standalone game has already moved 1 million+ copies as part of the alpha test, and it has become a cultural phenomenon in the PC gaming world, spawning web series and influencing new titles. His departure might slightly impact the game's appeal, but only marginally so. The DayZ train is rolling and seemingly nothing will stop it right now.
Are you surprised that DayZ creator Dean Hall is leaving Bohemia Interactive? Does that impact your interest in the game?
DayZ is available for alpha testing on Steam right now.