After three years, “a lot of the hard work is behind us.”
The zombie-survival game DayZ has been in Steam Early access for nearly three years now. After all that time, fans have grown impatient for not only the promised console versions of the game, but also just the final release of the PC version. Developer Bohemia Interactive is asking for just a bit more patience though.
Speaking with Eurogamer, Creative Director Brian Hicks opened up about what’s happening behind the scenes. First off, the console version is “not dead at all,” Hicks says, even though the developer hasn’t spoken about it in a while.
“The PC is our flagship platform for DayZ. That is where 99 per cent of our development resources are focused. And while there was a lot of push from Sony and Microsoft to get up on their stages and say ‘yes, we’re coming’, our focus has been exclusively (I want to say exclusively because there’s about a one per cent development resource trying to keep those platforms at a point at which, once we get to our beta and our bug fixing, we can start pushing forward on that) on the PC.
“We can’t really move DayZ over to these platforms, at least on a playable level for consumers, until the base engine, Enfusion, is complete.”
The team is hesitant to even work on an Xbox Preview Program version of the game. “Microsoft has been very eager – I’ll say this much – for us to get it on their platform… We do keep a small group of programmers on making sure that our PS4 and our Xbox One version are at least, tech wise, it’s running on those platforms. But we’re not going to be releasing any announcements on dates for those and I don’t think we ever have.”
For the PC version of DayZ, Hicks promises things are moving along. “We haven’t committed to a physical date yet. We did release a press release saying that our goal was to hit beta in 2016, and release in 2017. Now it remains to be seen if that’s the case; it’s a goal we’ve continued to work for since we set it but … it’s very difficult to predict what is going to break and how severe the change is going to be when we’re moving these massive new engine changes in.
“It’s like taking the spine out of a game and putting a new one in: you can’t be 100 per cent sure if the immune system is going to reject it initially.”
Though avoiding discussion of any hard dates, Hicks admits, “Our focus right now is just the road between here and beta. And beta for us is the implementation of the base features, and then we can switch to bug fixing. I feel like we are… a lot of the hard work is behind us and we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But it remains to be seen how severe the work is going to be once we start pulling those things in. All of our fingers are crossed that it will go smoothly.”