Day Z has been a bit of phenomenon for a while now in the video game world. Where zombie games are a dime-a-dozen, the game that started out as a mod for ArmA II has become a stand-out in the genre.
Possibly the main reason for this is that it is not just a game about zombies and the killing / avoiding thereof. It’s a game purely about survival, and what that goal can do to other people. Play a few hours of Day Z and you’ll soon stop being afraid of Zombies (sometimes they turn into a mere annoyance). What you will become afraid of is other players.
Probably the complete opposite of what creator Dean “Rocket” Hall intended, when gearing the game towards helping people band up and deal with the undead threat. “This is one of our big issues. So this is what we found, why so many people are bandits: I think it’s because they’re bored, and there’s nothing to do,” He told Kotaku. His new implementation of survival into the game – making it easier to be hungry, thirsty, ill or exhausted – he hopes, will encourage more co-operation. “Now, notice I didn’t say forced to cooperate. Because I think that’s a key difference. They’ll be forced to interact, maybe on a neutral footing, so there’ll be sort of these very high-tension trades occurring between groups of people.”
Everyone has a story of meeting someone in Day Z only to be murdered on sight and viciously robbed. There are literally scores of dead players with their trousers looted in the big cities of Day Z’s huge map.
I once met someone who followed me through a number of towns, wordlessly, as we looted food, clothes and makeshift weapons. About twenty minutes in we came across a gun – something quite rare in the Day Z standalone – and my erstwhile ally bludgeoned me over the head with a fire extinguisher before I could pick it up.
Not that this has diminished the appeal, for me or for any other player. Many love it for what it is, a raw uncompromising survival simulator. One that will only get more deadly as the game reaches Beta.