How H1Z1 takes an internet hoax and makes it real

Sony Online Entertainment is adding a grand lore to H1Z1, centered around ancient and recent historical events. Shacknews dives deep into the story of the upcoming MMO survival game.


H1Z1 may sound like the latest in a long list of survival horror games centered around the zombie apocalypse, but Sony Online Entertainment is doing its best to make its MMO stand out from the crowd. One way in which the studio is helping flesh out its H1Z1 world is through the addition of a rich new lore, a story that's loosely based on the real story of the blighted island of Poveglia, a place Mental Floss refers to as "the most haunted island in the world."

"Poveglia is one of a group of islands with fortifications built during the early Middle Ages," Tony Jones told Shacknews. "Later on, once Venice started falling from power, it became less important to control the waterways, so they used those as stations where ships had to stop and be checked for the Plague. So what it turned into was a place where they took Plague victims to die. It's estimated that over 160,000 people died from the Plague on this island."

Poveglia's story does not end in the Middle Ages. Jones adds that centuries later, the island became home to a mental institution, in which undesirables would be sent to live the rest of their days. Jones and the rest of the H1Z1 team saw Poveglia as a ripe source of material for their game's narrative. In addition to using aspects of Poveglia's history, the team also decided to expand on the very real H1Z1 hoax of 2009.

"There was an internet hoax in 2009 called H1Z1," Jones explained. "The pig swine flu had mutated and become necrotic and it started affecting and raising the dead. There were a number of reports from Cambodia, Mexico, and Malaysia and the hoax got so big that the Center for Disease Control actually had to acknowledge the H1Z1 story. The hoax had spread quicker than the H1N1 virus. So it's our allegation that the H1Z1 wasn't a hoax."

SOE further expanded on their upcoming narrative's game on Thursday with a special two-hour stream, centered around a series of radio broadcasts called Survivor Radio. To learn more about the history of H1Z1, its world, its characters, and the killer virus, check out the full broadcast below.

H1Z1 is coming to PC and is expected to enter Steam Early Access soon.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
  • reply
    May 17, 2014 3:00 PM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, How H1Z1 takes an internet hoax and makes it real.

    Sony Online Entertainment is adding a grand lore to H1Z1, centered around ancient and recent historical events. Shacknews dives deep into the story of the upcoming MMO survival game.

    • reply
      May 17, 2014 3:46 PM

      it's a videogame so its actually not real

    • reply
      May 17, 2014 7:03 PM

      they don't need lore, or history. dayz has already shown that given the options the players will make their own story

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        May 18, 2014 6:25 PM

        In dayz's case, the amount of armed people purposely going to the coast to kill as many unarmed new spawns possible instead of engaging other armed players is the only story I see being told told. It's like a sandy hook/columbine simulator.

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          May 18, 2014 6:39 PM

          I should say, dayz the mod had this better covered. there was more of an end game when tents allowed for persistent storage and vehicles(from dirt bikes to troop carriers to helicopters) could be found that needed parts to be fixed up and then you were hot shit. this kept some of the griefing away from the coast. also different maps where you needed cold weather clothing to survive for long periods.

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