Fans of the buggy, yet unique DayZ zombacolypse mod were excited for jumping into the standalone game before the holidays, but that estimated date was entirely realistic. It’s now February with the game still unreleased and still without any deadlines for public testing. The trade-off for the worthwhile delay, is that DayZ is poised to offer a legitimately improved standalone experience.

Dean “Rocket” Hall and Matt Lightfoot of Bohemia Interactive’s DayZ standalone game dev team shared a 15-minute gameplay video yesterday to showcase a few major changes from the ARMA 2 mod, from the user interface and improved gameplay mechanics, but keep mum on many of the game’s basics.

They stress this is a very early and many of the features are intentionally disabled for this video blog entry so Hall can showcase some of DayZ’s basic features.

  • Player avatar and equipment visual maintained from last server they were on – they see this on main menu
  • Focus is to make player character an important part of gameplay – there will eventually be viewable stats for that character
  • From the menu players and switch between servers.
  • Over 100 clothing items with plenty of variants. There’s a focus on functional items first, more cosmetic personalization stuff will come later.
  • Maps include new types of terrain not seen before in Chernarus – the game’s fictional world. The example in the video highlights beautiful countryside lands and a swamp.
  • New loot spawning mechanic replaces piles of loot from the mod. Specific items will spawn, often in partially hidden areas within buildings and such. It will force players to be observant and take their time to scavenge.
  • Settlement ruins have been increasingly varied and provide more opportunities for hidden loot.

With the amount they’re not showing in the video, it’s rather evident that the game is far behind schedule and won’t be ready for sale anytime soon. The main reasons is because of the redesigned engine and focus on improving not just all of the game’s systems, but the art work as well. When will it release? Hall says:

“We don’t know. We’re going to take our time. I feel fantastic about the situation, more than ever I feel like we’re doing something really interesting with this development. Now is not the time to rush things, but we do need to ensure our pace is kept up. Our development blog and getting players in and testing as soon as possible will be key in ensuring we succeed in making this a great game.”

What is promising is that they’ve begun closed testing by working with Valve and their Steam infrastructure. From this first look at gameplay development however, players will note the obviously vastly improved graphics and animations, from the more detailed and varied open-world environment to the characters’ clothing options (and head movements). The new inventory screens however were hidden from viewers, likely saved to generate more buzz among dedicated fans and the media as future blog entries are released. Free publicity!

It looks great and we at Game Rant want to walk around in Chernarus as soon as possible, but where are the zombies, the weapons, etc.? And what’s next?

“We’re working very hard on the inventory system even more, and it looks like the crafting system is close in next in our development. It would be fair to say that inventory and crafting are the key development objective currently, second only to the client/server architecture (makes DayZ more like an MMO), and new zombie AI mechanics (an ongoing task).”

Head to the official DayZ blog for more detailed updates.

DayZ will release for PC at some point in the future. If it’s a hit, it could eventually hit consoles since it won’t be supporting mods at launch.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Source: Bohemia Interactive