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MMORPG.com Staff Blog

The staff of MMORPG.com gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

Author: staffblog

Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

Rocket Leaving DayZ to Make a More Perfect Game

Posted by BillMurphy Monday February 24 2014 at 2:12PM
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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.
MindTrigger writes: Good for him.  There are too many control freaks in this industry who make ludicrous decisions that end up destroying their games.  He's an idea guy, and he should run with that. Mon Feb 24 2014 2:25PM Report
Entinerint writes:

Part of being a good leader is knowing when to take your hands off the reins.

 

Another part is surrounding yourself with talented people who are better than you at the jobs you hire them for.

 

Sounds like he's doing that too.

Mon Feb 24 2014 2:29PM Report
Jaychi72 writes: Yes I would love to be known for ditching unfinished projects. Mon Feb 24 2014 2:30PM Report
tomyzr writes: he should have released a finished product and then leave, thats my 2 cents Mon Feb 24 2014 2:38PM Report
Righteous_Rock writes: He loved her so much he had to leave her. LOL - weak and it's going to hurt his new business as well Mon Feb 24 2014 3:05PM Report
Eladi writes: pff. .. sounds like a sailor on land , always knows whats best but never realy sails. Mon Feb 24 2014 3:29PM Report
goatfight writes: He talked fast and got the money, why wouldn't he bail? Maybe he can do it again before anyone notices. Mon Feb 24 2014 7:03PM Report
RebelScum99 writes:

Sounds like the guy isn't very dependable.  He also sounds like a bit of a head case.  

 

Mon Feb 24 2014 8:24PM Report
Hokie writes:

Some of the ideas Ive heard him throw around had me shaking my head and saying, "WTF is he thinking...?"

So I think its a good thing for both Bohemia and Dean that they part ways before there is a conflict of vision.

 

I wish him the best of luck, and like Bill Im looking forward to seeing what he comes up with.

Mon Feb 24 2014 8:24PM Report
Wylf writes: I wish him well, but frankly based on his own words there is nothing to be proud of , he's a bit full of himself and not courageous enough to finish what has been started.. Mon Feb 24 2014 8:43PM Report
Wylf writes:

I want to add, this game isn't even in Beta yet, they are selling access to the Alpha for 29.00 (USD) on Steam. And this Hero has announced he is going to leave. Must make his mates feel pretty special.

 

Mon Feb 24 2014 8:57PM Report
aRtFuLThinG writes:

Smart guy quits while they are ahead.

 

Dumb people sticks around until everything falls apart.

 

Clearly Rocket is a very smart dude (Probably will be a very successful entrepreneur someday)

Mon Feb 24 2014 9:34PM Report
freakky writes: Don't know that much about all that happen and who he is but those statements are so dark. Sounds like sociopath. I'm sure or hope there is better context for it all. Heck I couldn't even do it either the pressure would get to me also. More so with general feeling people have for the game. Mon Feb 24 2014 11:12PM Report
Solar_Prophet writes:

He's just emulating what Ken Levine is doing.

"Hey guys, thanks for being part of my team and playing a huge part in my success. By the way, all but 15 of you are fired."

Not quite the same, but the idea is similar enough. They're both essentially taking the money and running; but at least Ken had the common courtesy to finish the game first.

Mon Feb 24 2014 11:50PM Report
nilden writes:

So what happens to DayZ now?

I find it kind of funny that he doesn't want to be know as "the guy who made that zombie game" so now he's "the guy that made that zombie game and left it".

Will be interesting to see his next game and if that gets put in a basket and pushed downriver.

Tue Feb 25 2014 3:07AM Report
delta9 writes:

i hope the mass blind faith in someone who has done nothing except prove that he is a cash grabbing anomaly who has not got 1 complete or finished game out dies out soon, from gamers and the media industry alike.

I can understand why he is so confident - he has had huge praise from the industry (rightly so in the early days) from his mod although it is so unfinished - all that praise has clearly gone to his head and he does not have the mental ability to control it - devs who are humble and not up their own behind are much more personable than this guy

 

i expect this is not the last shock story to come for DayZ

Tue Feb 25 2014 4:13AM Report
mmoguy43 writes:

How come after all this time Dazy never became a complete game?

 

Tue Feb 25 2014 12:52PM Report
sketocafe writes: I would certainly invest in this guy's ability to lead a team in developing a game after he demonstrated his capability of doing so with Day... oh wait. Nope. Tue Feb 25 2014 1:53PM Report
Jupsto writes:

DayZ mod was AMAZING, but we gave it alot of slack because it was a free mod.

The standalone is the opposite; has a big studio working for over a year to improve on already tried concept, and frankly failed to do so in any meaningful way that makes it worth buying.

So sorry dean, in my eyes you are a great visionary but failed to deliver in the end. Modders seem to be making better sequels to dayz on arma 3 engine, with no budget and smaller time frames.

Tue Feb 25 2014 5:55PM Report
Jupsto writes:

DayZ mod was AMAZING, but we gave it alot of slack because it was a free mod.

The standalone is the opposite; has a big studio working for over a year to improve on already tried concept, and frankly failed to do so in any meaningful way that makes it worth buying.

So sorry dean, in my eyes you are a great visionary but failed to deliver in the end. Modders seem to be making better sequels to dayz on arma 3 engine, with no budget and smaller time frames.

Tue Feb 25 2014 5:55PM Report

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