It’s hard to deny the toll that the proliferation of open-world zombie survival titles has taken on gamers of late. While genre juggernauts like DayZ and Rust have managed to stay ahead of the pack, the sheer saturation of the market has led to a sort of “zombie fatigue.” Despite this, there are still some titles which manage to stand out and inspire excitement. One of those games is Sony Online Entertainment’s upcoming title H1Z1.
One of the key features that can make or break an open-world title is the effectiveness of its environment. In the case of zombie survival games, a balance must be established between the oppressive and the wonderful. While gamers should be inspired to wander the world and explore, there should always be that underlying fear of danger. In the newest images discovered for H1Z1, it looks as though this balance is very much in place.
While the game’s official site seems somewhat devoid of life, crafty Reddit users rholk and Super1d discovered a mysterious flashing light in the pictured landscape’s background. It didn’t take long before this was discovered as morse code and invariably led to a URL containing the following beautiful panoramic screenshot of the game.
It may not show off gameplay of the player fighting off hordes of encroaching zombies, but it certainly hits home the fact that the game’s environment will set it apart from other games in the genre. If everything that is shown in the screenshot is traversable in-game, then the word sprawling is an understatement. It’s hardly a monumental reveal as the smaller details are the ones that will really draw the player in, but the promise of something with this sort of scope is exciting news indeed.
In addition to the discovery of this screenshot, players who repeatedly refresh the game’s site will be welcomed by the face of a strapping young zombie by the name of Fred, as pictured above. Little else is known about this zombie though. While it could be an image of the game’s regular breed of undead, the fact that its file was given a unique name could hint at some sort of individuality. If this is the case, then gamers may end up seeing either special breeds of zombies akin to Left 4 Dead‘s special infected or zombies with a greater degree of procedural generation.
Poised to stand out from the zombie survival crowd, H1Z1 draws on elements from two of the genre’s biggest success stories. From Rust, it borrows the resource acquisition and base-building, and from DayZ it borrows the massive open world that puts a focus on player survival thanks to a touch of “realism.” It may not be the most original premise, but it’s clear that Sony Online Entertainment is putting a great amount of care into developing a world for their upcoming zombie survival title that is unlike any gamers have seen before and will put the “living” back into “living dead.”
Do you think H1Z1 will manage to stand out from the multitude of other open-world zombie survival titles saturating the market? What do you think it needs to do to set it apart from the competition?
H1Z1 does not currently have a release date, but is promised to be “fully playable soon.”
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