As DayZ, a mod for ARMA II, grew in popularity, hitting player counts that made the development of a standalone game inevitable, out came the unveiling of a similarly themed online zombie survival MMO-esque experience dubbed The War Z. At the time, DayZ was a buggy and incomplete, early build of a mod, so The War Z, seemingly in development for quite sometime had a real opportunity to steal the opposition’s thunder.

Then The War Z actually released, and it did so without many of its touted features, causing so much controversy that refunds were offered and Valve removed the game from its Steam service. The War Z has since been updated and is back on Steam, but players looking to play yesterday had a terrible April Fools’ Day gag to deal with.

Hackers took down The War Z in early January, just a few weeks after the failed launch, and now barely a month after The War Z returned to Steam, hackers have forced another shut down. Hammerpoint Interactive and publisher OP Productions took down game services for four hours of “emergency maintenance” yesterday as the game and forum databases were hacked. The servers are back online but the forums are still down, replaced with an official statement from the publisher.

We are sorry to report that we have discovered that hackers gained access to our forum and game databases and the player data in those databases. We have launched a thorough investigation covering our entire system to determine the scope of the intrusion. This investigation is ongoing and is our top priority. As part of the remediation and security enhancement process we will be taking the game and forums down temporarily.

We are issuing this Security Alert to all Survivors as a precaution so you can take some precautionary measures on your own. We have already taken a number of steps to increase security and are continuing to work with external advisors and investigators to identify and implement measures to minimize the chance of this happening in the future.

The data accessed included email addresses used to log-in to the forum, forum passwords which we encrypt, email addresses used to log-in to the game, encrypted game passwords as well as in-game character names and the IP addresses from which players log-in to the forum and to the game. If you posted other information to the forum it is likely that such data was accessed as well. We do not collect the names or addresses of our gamers so that information was not impacted unless you posted it on the forum. We are investigating whether additional information may have been obtained.

Emails used to register were accessed, and all players are advised to change their account passwords.

DayZ logo

Since every time there’s The War Z news, there’s also news on DayZ, let’s chat about Bohemia Interactive’s upcoming oft-delayed zombie game. The Escapist caught up with Dean “Rocket” Hall at GDC to talk about the potential of a console release for DayZ, and of all things, the issue of hacking.

 “Certainly I think if we don’t, for want of a better word ‘fuck up,’ the PC release then I would say a console port is almost certain. I know a lot of people get really hot and bothered about it. Like, I’m not a console gamer, I’m a PC gamer, but I don’t think it necessarily has to hurt things.”

“It appears to be the kind of game that Sony are interested in, I think we just have to wait and see. We’ve talked and met with Sony, and they’re very – you know, they’re obviously interested.”

PC games that are successful come to consoles because they’re profitable. Look at the indie darling Minecraft which just topped 6 million units sold on the Xbox 360 alone, and it’s still ranking as the second most played game on Xbox Live. Imagine a polished, low-cost zombie MMO where dozens of players can hop in and out at anytime without worrying about version compatibility, mods, etc.? If DayZ is anywhere near as successful as its mod precessor in terms of the amount of player buying into it, then its release on the PlayStation 4 is practically inevitable. We already knew that if it was a hit a console version would be developed, and really, why else would Sony be meeting with Dean Hall?

On the hacking front:

 “It’s very difficult to be able to turn around and say ‘We have solved hacking’ because of the nature of it and even what [the hackers] are trying to do, it’s a creative thing… There’s kind of now a bubble around the player. So the player only receives updates that are relevant to them.”

Among other things, part of the six month delay on DayZ is to deal with programming around the hacking problem, something that’s plagued the DayZ mod since the outset.

Can we expect a Day Z console announcement at E3 2013 or is that too soon?

Source: OP Productions, The Escapist