When it comes to the success of failure of a title within the zombie survival genre, the first thing that no doubt comes to players’ minds is the effective presence of the zombies themselves. Close behind this though, is the mood that the game is able to evoke. It’s one thing to drop a player into a hostile world and make them fear for their life, but it’s another to use simple, everyday features to aid in inspiring dread. H1Z1 is one such game that has its eyes on capturing this elusive sense of mood.
Still making its way through the early stages of development, H1Z1 represents Sony Online Entertainment’s foray into the realm of zombie survival titles. Having got our hands on the title at E3 2014, the game’s potential easily managed to shine through its early coats of paint. One feature in particular that caught our eyes was that of its dynamic weather system. Combined with a massive world to explore, this could be a shot of adrenaline that zombie titles need.
Each in-game day, the game will randomly select an assortment of variables that will govern the weather for that particular day. Rather than having scripted weather types that the game cycles through, this will allow the game to craft a more realistic portrayal of weather from slightly cloudy to sunny with light showers. It may not seem like a game-changing mechanic, but the prospect of a system like this opens the doors to a greater degree of change between each day, forcing players to adapt their survival skills on a daily basis. To highlight the varying of H1Z1‘s weather, a series of screenshots were posted to the game’s official Twitter account.
With SOE president John Smedley intent on making H1Z1 unique to the zombie survival genre, this is definitely a step in the right direction. A sense of unpredictability goes a long way towards establishing a world that never truly feels safe. Rather than knowing exactly what to expect when going out on an expedition in one of the game’s vehicles, this added series of variables will add danger to even the most mundane of actions.
While this dynamic weather system is sure to throw a new wrench into the works for players, it also opens up more possibilities for the game’s custom servers. Given this deep control over the game world’s inner machinations, it will be interesting to see how the developers and players see fit to manipulate it. Still existing in an early state, H1Z1 raises a host of questions about its future but also does a great deal to alleviate worries about its quality. It’s evident that a great amount of care is going into the development of this title, so it will be interesting to see how it is received when it reaches early access.
Do you think the sense of unpredictability provided by its dynamic weather will benefit H1Z1? What changes to the zombie survival formula would you like to see with this upcoming title?
H1Z1 is still in its development stages but Sony Online Entertainment intends to release an alpha soon, once a solid framework has been established. It will be releasing on PC with a possible PS4 release to follow.
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