In his own words, Dean Hall's presence on DayZ is like "a grenade." So much so, that once the game's out there he'll be transitioning out of Bohemia and all DayZ development to start his own studio in New Zealand.
"I am a grenade," he begun, this time sat in the DayZ office in central Prague. "I have a specific use. I'm really good at risk-taking and making other people take risks, I've always been good at that in my life. Like you say, maybe I've got the gift of the gab, so I can talk, I can explain something, I can talk people up to the ledge and get them to jump off it.
"That's what I did with DayZ; I've done it twice now [once with the mod, again with the standalone] - two new code teams have separately done it.
"But eventually, that's the bad person to have. Eventually, you don't want the guy telling you to go over the top and get through. So at some point I'll be a disaster for the project, at least in a leadership role."
Now those are some serious words, coming from a man many idolize in this industry. Heck, we've met Dean on several occasions, and have nothing but praise for the guy. He's passionate, smart as a whip, and absolutely filled with vision for his project. But I'm of the mind that he's also not keen to keep riding the same horse through the desert for the rest of his career.
Some might think this is because he "couldn't handle the pressure" of developing a game that grew into something so monstrous so quickly, and indeed Dean stated multiple times that a lot of the pressure and ire of the gaming community was getting to him. But I look at his departure in a different light.
We've all been at jobs that we love, and we think we could do them forever. At one point in my life, I was a Medical Biller. I loved the idea I was helping folks get their insurance to cover their healthcare in a roundabout way, and I loved that I was able to "lone wolf" a 9-5 job and go home with little stress. But eventually the repetition got to me and I realized my heart wasn't in it.
Now, you might wonder why Dean would want to leave a dream job. Bohemia had the ARMA series before Rocket, but it grew into a mighty company with the addition of DayZ. He's a very important part of the company, even if it's only as a figurehead. But just because something "made his career" like DayZ did, doesn't mean he wants to be known only as "that guy who made that zombie game" for the rest of his life.
So for me, the biggest news about Dean Hall's eventual departure from DayZ isn't that he's leaving. It's not about what's good for DayZ (this probably will be, if Dean's own words are to be believed). What I'm excited to learn more about is what he'll do next. Dean's a designer at heart, eager to take risks on new projects. Perhaps he became stagnant and fearful trying to make the standalone survival game live up to its potential.
But maybe, just maybe... Rocket's got a few more tricks up his sleeve and wants to do it all his own way. I can get behind that.