Hyperbole for effect.
DayZ, like Star Citizen, occupies a mostly negative space in the Gaming Consciousness, if you will – it is understood as everything wrong with the Early Access model of development exemplified, made by greedy money-hungry developers that over-promise and under-deliever, and sure, there's an element of truth there – but I would contend that DayZ is in fact one of the most influential and unfairly criticized game's of the past decade – hyperbole, again, for effect.
In 2012 DayZ was a phenomenon – I don't think you can really overstate not only how big DayZ was, but that it seemingly exploded out of nowhere. You had a niche, unwieldy and rough-around-the-edges milsim that was suddenly selling more copies than the entire franchise combined up until that point – all for a mod that delivered a janky, awkward, and bug-filled experience – but more important than all that, the experience was novel – it was new, unique, and special.
There was nothing else like DayZ – the tension of its social aspect, its sprawling map with the rogue-lite elements of loot and permadeath, and the emergent gameplay that just happened as a result of the aforementioned qualities – DayZ was really something out of the ordinary, especially if you had only ever really played games on a console before. I remember RoosterTeeth did a video on DayZ and, I know nothing about the channel but I'm fairly certain they only really focused on console games, that goes to show you just how popular DayZ was becoming – I remember someone being amazed at Arma's deformable grass that flattened as you crawled through it.
So you had a (relatively) small developer that was receiving attention unheard of in the gaming world unless you were somebody like Valve making an announcement for Half-Life 3, and your niche game is selling more copies than it has ever sold before and already other developers are taking notes and are keen to take advantage of the hype – anybody remember The War Z?
Any Arma player could have gone into great detail as to why DayZ would never really work as a full standalone game using Arma's engine – the desync, the stiff animations and general feeling of movement, the awful AI pathing.. there are plenty of issues that even Arma players have with Arma's engine but they put up with them because there is no other game that offers a similar scope in terms of simulating a battlefield.
Bohemia Interactive – the business entity – could not not find some way to monetize the mod that had materialized in front of them – it would be like asking a lion not to devour the fresh carcass sitting right front of it. Whatever you think about DayZ and its development you have to admit it's nice to see the game was never mired by cosmetics or milked with microtransactions like nearly every other game that iterated on its formula – those things, even as apparently benign as they are, dictate the tone and shape the world of the game and I think they do so in a largely negative way – but that's a discussion for a separate post.
So you're basically stuck with a community that has sprung up over night eager for an experience you have delivered purely by accident – other companies see this and immediately begin work on their own variation to take advantage of the craze and if you miss or fumble your opportunity you don't get another chance.
DayZ was destroyed by its own community before it was even released – it was destined to be the progenitor of a genre, but one viewed with disdain for all it "could have been", but it already was that thing – it was new and it was unlike anything else.
As to the state of DayZ now I can't really speak, but I also don't think it matters – DayZ wasn't just a mod released in 2012, it is a fragmented reflection of 2012 itself and separating it from that context robs it of part of what it is – a brief period in 2012 where DayZ was the game that produced more sleepless nights and prolonged play sessions than any other.
It's time we put some respect on its name – I've played the standalone for maybe 100 hours and haven't touched it in a year or two and might not ever revisit it, but I don't begrudge it for what it was or what it became because I don't think it could have been anything else.
DayZ isn't an example of a game damaged by its own development, but the result of a community with expectations that could never be realised – you can't capture what made DayZ great by further refinement – DayZ was great because it was so new and so different, and that only lasts so long past your first exposure – you can chase the dragon but you'll never catch it.
DayZ was a free mod that influenced an industry – two of the (currently) most popular games on earth can trace their lineage directly back to DayZ – an entire genre was spawned from it.
Anybody remember this video?
Source: Original link
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