It’s not very often that a mod comes along that is special enough to outshine the game that the fan creation is an extension of. The survival-horror Arma 2 mod, DayZ, proved early on that it was out to do more than capitalize on the popularity of zombies in mainstream entertainment. PC gamers have embraced the mod for the terrifying, slow-paced survival challenge that it is and loads of them are ready to start shelling out money for the standalone version of the game whether it’s ready or not.
The playable alpha for DayZ’s standalone release launched around the new year after suffering through months of delays and bad press surrounding the development. No number of setbacks (or warnings from the creator) were enough to scare consumers away from early access to the game’s alpha though. Sales of the work-in-progress version of DayZ skyrocketed as soon as it hit the Steam store. Sales reached the one million unit milestone within just a few weeks and according to the latest numbers they have continued to climb despite the buzz surrounding its early access simmering down.
The game’s creator, Dean Hall, spoke about DayZ at EGX Rezzed 2014 and revealed that the standalone package has already sold more than 1.7 million copies. Add that to the 2 million+ copies of the original mod that have been downloaded and you’ve got a pretty serious community of supporters for the game.
Hall, who is due to leave Bohemia later this year, also announced that the company has opened a new studio in Slovakia. Bohemia isn’t calling the new studio an acquisition, but it will employ the staff and tech of a smaller developer, Cauldron. The folks at the new studio will likely work on the upcoming additions to DayZ that Hall recently confirmed. The new content will include the addition of animals to the game and improved zombie pathfinding. Cauldron brings plenty of experience with hunting games after working on Cabela’s Big Game Hunter 2012, so the crew sounds like a good fit to expand the wildlife aspect of DayZ.
Although the game is in better shape than it was at launch thanks to some critical patches, players are still experiencing a very early version of the DayZ. The final product (the beta, even) is still likely at least a year away, so the teams have lots of time to work out the bugs. That said, it’s still eye-opening to see how many players are willing to shell out money to be part of a game’s development. There are definitely some very understandable fears associated with dropping money on the promise that a finished product will eventually be delivered, but many members of DayZ’s dedicated community aren’t worried about those kind of concerns. The numbers definitely do the talking when it comes to a product like DayZ and there are close to 2 million PC gamers out there perfectly happy to pay for the chance to give developers their feedback and help identify bugs.
Are you be willing to pay for alpha access to a game you’re looking forward to? Let us know in the comments.
The DayZ Early Access alpha is currently available for PCs.
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