H1Z1 used to be one game, but it split into two over the course of development - the competitive flavored King of the Kill, and the MMORPG survival Just Survive. The latter has been slow in receiving updates, leading some to believe it was forgotten. Now it has a new game director and big plans for the next year. We chat with Daybreak's Ben Jones about the silence and upcoming plans.
MMORPG: Well, let's start with - where'd you come from!? Who is your daddy, and what does he do?
Ben Jones: I got my start with Day of Defeat and I’ve spent the last 15 years kicking around the industry at places like EA DICE and SCEA working on some of the biggest names in the shooter genre, including Battlefield 4. If I had a “daddy” it would be Cheetos snacks, as I’m rarely able to avoid doing exactly as they tell me…
MMORPG: Seriously, what's your vision for Just Survive?
Ben Jones: We view Just Survive as a diamond in the rough, simply awaiting the refinement and polish it truly deserves. Our vision is a compelling survival experience heavily focused on elements like rich base building and dangerous encounters. But before we get to system overhauls and feature introduction, we’re squarely focused on delivering optimization and stability to the existing game. The patch we released last week establishes our commitment to quality, and we’ll work to increase the community’s confidence level over time by delivering that consistently.
MMORPG: When the game's alpha first launched, I loved playing it but knew it wouldn't be finished for a while. Now that work's really resuming again, how long will it be before players start noticing development?
Ben Jones: I think they’ll start to see the meatier aspects of what we’ve been planning hit sometime early next year. In the meantime, we’ll continue to update the game with quality fixes that address the current state of the game.
MMORPG: Our readers specifically were looking forward to the MMORPG aspects of Just Survive. But when KotK took focus away, they lost hope. How do you think you can recapture MMO players' attention and good will?
Ben Jones: We don’t expect this to happen overnight, as our plans to improve Just Survive extend out a good clip, but we can start by giving them consistent and purposeful rewards for their actions and putting great energy into the areas they love most like crafting, base building and lore.
MMORPG: What sorts of changes can we expect in the coming months?
Ben Jones: We’re planning another update for December that addresses a number of bugs and continues the balance tuning we rolled out last week. Beyond that, we’re working on several things that ramp up the base building experience, such as modular building pieces, that should empower players to build some really interesting structures!
MMORPG: Anything you want to tell our readers that have been waiting patiently for Just Survive to get updates?
Ben Jones: Just that we’re dedicated to making Just Survive an awesome experience. It needs to be deep and balanced, but most of all it has to be fun, and we’re doing everything we can to make that a reality.