About two-three weeks ago we talked about the then-just-announced zombie-themed MMO titled The War Z, a game that’s been in development since last year but was revealed just as the popularity of the ARMA 2 mod DayZ was seemingly reaching a fever pitch with over over 700,000 players.

As the game continued to break into the headlines of gaming media sites, DayZ creator Dean “Rocket” Hall expressed his desire to turn the mod – currently an incomplete and buggy alpha build – into a standalone game, but he required resources and backing to make that happen and we all wondered why Bohemia Interactive (developers of the ARMA series) hadn’t already scooped up the opportunity.

With the DayZ mod crossing the one million players mark this morning, what better time for Mr. Hall to announce the good news that it’s actually happening: Bohemia will be working with him to develop DayZ into its own game, and just like he said it would, DayZ will embrace a Minecraft-esque model where players can opt in early for an alpha/beta build game for cheap and can follow development that’ll include frequent updates to the game.

He wrote the following earlier today on the official DayZ Tumblr page:

That’s right, this is actually happening – DayZ will be developed as a standalone game, with me as project lead, by Bohemia Interactive. This is the fairy-tale outcome for a mod that many would have said impossible four months ago.

Development and updates of the mod will continue in parallel with the development of the game, so anyone who is playing the mod now will be able to continue to do so. The project will follow the Minecraft development model; fast iterations with the community alpha available for a heavily discounted price.

Hall’s closing line was that he understands fans will have loads of questions and that’ll come with time – he just wanted to share the good news, seemingly on a day when the mod hit a very important (and impressive) milestone. For an idea of what to expect in the DayZ standalone game, Hall previously listed features including “things like base-building, tidying and cleaning up animations and add ragdoll physics as the like.”

Click to enlarge the DayZ concept art by Ivan Buchko

DayZ game concept art

Hall always said Bohemia was very supportive of the mod and they took that to the next level. DayZ now has an official site at http://dayzgame.com/ and the mod can still be downloaded at http://www.dayzmod.com/.

With Bohemia developing ARMA 3 on their newest Real Virtuality engine, ideally that would be used to modernize DayZ and give it the physics and other features Hall wanted to see implemented in the full version of the game.

Are you going to buy into DayZ and/or follow its development?

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Source: Dean Hall