Daybreak’s one-time H1Z1, then H1Z1: King of the Kill, then just King of the Kill, and finally just H1Z1 again, is reported to be leaving Early Access today. There is a Producer’s Letter on the official site full of enthusiasm for this monumental day.
At least they are trying to own the whole naming thing.
Starting as the Battle Royale mode of their zombie survival game first announced almost four years ago was a surprise success, selling in the seven figures and dominating the Steam charts. Rightly wanting to reinforce success, the rest of the game was partitioned off as the aptly named Just Survive while the company focused on the bit that was getting attention.
Of course, what it also did was spawn imitators. We hear all about PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds these days, a title that leapfrogged H1Z1’s success in a way reminiscent of what WoW did to EverQuest, and which spawned its own imitator and competitor, Fortnite and its Battle Royale module.
Meanwhile H1Z1 has slid down the charts, having lost a reported 91% of its player base. Once things looked rosy and there was a deal with Tencent to bring the game to China. Now I wonder if that is in jeopardy.
So it seems like exactly the right moment to leave Early Access I guess. Not that leaving Early Access means anything at all these days. The game was supposed to leave Early Access last year, but then didn’t. Now it has and it doesn’t mean much of anything. There is no launch day bump when you’ve been acting like a shipping product for a couple of years already.
They do have some new features that come with launch, the main one being a car based Battle Royale mode.
Of course, in what I can only see as an ironic twist, they announced a beta feature on launch day. We will see if the updates that Daybreak are bringing to the game with its long past due launch will stem the tide of its fleeing player base. Is it too little, too late?