H1Z1 promises 'persistent' zombie-infected worlds

By Andrew Yoon, Apr 09, 2014 5:30pm PDT

As promised, Sony Online Entertainment has detailed its upcoming zombie MMO, H1Z1. Set fifteen years after a deadly virus outbreak, the free-to-play online game will take place in SOE's vision of America--starting with an "anywhere" town in Middle America. From there, the game will expand across cities and desolate places. "Our focus is building a sandbox style of gameplay where players can build shelters out of resources in the world. They can even work together to make amazing fortresses complete with weaponry to help defend against both the Infected and other players," SOE president John Smedley said.

Of course, there are tons of zombies games, and Smedley addresses how SOE's game will stand out from the pack. "First off, it's a persistent MMO that can hold thousands of players on servers we host," he said in a public letter on Reddit. That means there will be multiple servers with "very different rule sets." It means that there will be an economy with trading between players. Like EverQuest Next, players will be able to make lasting impressions in the game world with their actions.

Ultimately, SOE wants to enable player agency. "We want you to be able to form roving gangs that are headquartered out of an abandoned warehouse that you've taken over... or a house you've built from scratch after having cut trees down and secured the resources to make it. We are giving players the tools to make their own towns, camps and defenses, and they can decide how to set up their base," Smedley said. "One of the best things about H1Z1 being an MMO is the fact that with a lot of people playing, we're able to see all different kinds of gameplay. If you prefer a quiet life as a farmer raising crops... we're going to make sure your zombie apocalypse fantasy is complete. If you're like me and you want nothing more than to kill everything that moves, by all means see how that goes. It's going to be a blast!"

Like SOE's recent games, H1Z1 will use their ForgeLight engine. Taking a page from PlanetSide 2, SOE promises to offer their Roadmap to the community. And like Landmark, Player Studio will be integrated so that players can create items that make their way into the game.

Obviously, SOE will share more on the game in the future. For now, take a gander at these screenshots:

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