Taking place earlier this year, Gamescom 2014 was a massive boon to the gaming industry. Coming off the back of an incredibly strong E3, the European event still managed to hold its own with big announcements from Sony including the reveal of Tearaway Unfolded for PS4 and Microsoft’s showcase of the indie titles they would be bringing to Xbox One.
What both companies also had is the announcement that some games from Steam’s Early Access program (which lets developers release games that are still in progress) would be releasing on their consoles. For the Xbox One, space colonization title Space Engineers would be a timed exclusive while the hugely popular zombie MMO DayZ would be coming to PS4.
However, there are lots of questions about bringing Early Access games to consoles and what state they would possibly be in at launch, especially considering how feature-lacking and unpolished many of these titles are on PC. But while these things are all being considered, DayZ creator Dean Hall has put forward some answers of his own, also suggesting that DayZ will be coming to Xbox consoles too.
Asked outright about DayZ coming to Xbox One at EGX in London, Hall told Eurogamer:
“DayZ is definitely going to be a multi-platform title – that’s the firm vision from Bohemia’s standpoint. But we’ll announce what all the other platforms are as we get to that point.”
‘When’ they get to that point is currently up in the air. In early 2015 DayZ will get a brand new graphics engine in preparation for the console versions of the game which is just one of the reasons why “It’s not going to be [released on consoles] next year,” with Hall also adding that “there’s just too much work remaining.”
Hall also explained that “It would be a very bizarre universe where there would be a 1.0 release of DayZ on consoles before PC” as well as noting that they are redesigning the game’s UI (user interface) to accommodate both console and PC players. There will be “fundamental differences” in the new UI but these changes won’t be for the worse as was the case with Skyrim where some players felt that things were dumbed down on PC to appeal to console gamers.
“That’s a good example of something we absolutely do not want to happen” Hall says, with his words on the console and PC differences hopefully doing their bit to appease players of DayZ on PC who worry that they may be getting the short end of the undead sandbox’s stick.
But while those will soothe minds, Hall’s concerns about Early Access games on consoles will only trouble them. He has previously called Early Access a recipe for disappointment but now he only adds to that.
“I don’t think [Sony have] said anything about… Everyone’s said they’re thinking about [Early Access releases].
There’s a lot of problems with Early Access on PC that definitely are at the forefront of people’s minds. So when DayZ will release would depend very much on what Sony offers in terms of if it was going to do an Early Access program, what it looks like. Then also the state of DayZ – does it make sense to do it through that?”
While it seems as though DayZ will be in a mostly finished state by the time it launches on consoles (if that post-2015 release date is anything to go by) these are all valid points. If DayZ makes the jump from Early Access to console, will other games follow? Will they be “complete” or will consoles also suffer such issues as developers taking the money, running and failing to provide the finished game that they said they would?
These are important questions to address given the increased support of indies by Sony and Microsoft and the way that those indies bring their titles to gamers. So even though DayZ‘s release is a long way off, both platform holders will want to come up with an official Early Access policy sooner rather than alter.