New H1Z1 Producer Wants To Add Tension & Challenge, Improve Gunplay To Unlock Untapped Potential

Alessio Palumbo
Posted Feb 10, 2016
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Last Friday, Daybreak Games announced that H1Z1 would be split in two different games, Just Survive (the persistent world survival experience) and King of the Kill (the fast paced arena shooter including modes like Battle Royale).

Current owners of H1Z1 on PC will get both games in their Steam library when the split officially happens on February 17. H1Z1: King of the Kill will also be fully released on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One this Summer, while Daybreak is also working to do the same for H1Z1: Just Survive at a later moment.

There’s also a new H1Z1 Producer at Daybreak Games. Chris Wynn, formerly Senior Development Director at Bioware for Mass Effect Andromeda (he also previously worked at other key publishers like Epic Games, Microsoft, Hansoft and Electronic Arts) is now the H1Z1 producer for both King of the Kill and Just Survive.

Yesterday, Wynn engaged in a Reddit AMA session which shed some light on the new direction the games are going to take. First of all, he clarified how he was recruited in this position and that he feels like the game has a lot of untapped potential:

Joining Daybreak was an interesting process. They reached out to me about the opportunity and in discussing it I found a really great alignment in the game and the industry (both current day and the future of each). This is something that is really important to me as a decision maker. If that alignment is not there, your stress increases, and then you drink a bunch of whiskey.
I played H1Z1, had some fun it, but really felt like it had a ton of untapped potential. Not only do I feel like I can tap that potential, but just as important, I felt Daybreak would support that process.

Among the most important things that the H1Z1 Producer intends to bring specifically to Just Survive are tension and challenge.

The number 1 feature for Just Survive is also a little high level. I want there to be more tension and a higher challenge. That will manifest itself through several features as opposed to just one.

I think it is important that the zombies present a real challenge to the player. Having some variation in there is key to providing different challenges to achieving that. As far as how “supernatural” it gets, that is tough to define. If it is fun, adds challenge and tension then we should consider it. If it is gimmicky, then I would push back on the design team to try some other variations.

The tension and ability to forge my own goals. I want to double down on that in the short term to really maximize that aspect of the game. I definitely want to make the game more tense and challenging.

Wynn particularly intends to double down on polish, as he feels that H1Z1 can benefit a lot from that, while increased depth will be explored later.

Top 3 applies to both as it is a bit high level: 1) Solidify the foundation 2) Polish what’s there 3) Expand with cool new features

Not necessarily just from BioWare, but I really think that I can help the team achieve a higher quality bar. What I have learned is that quality is a result of team culture.

Right now, I am excited about polish. That may sound weird, but the game overall is going to get so much better with the right amount of polish. There are some long term ideas that get me pretty excited, but I don’t want to lose focus on the short term.

Right now it is about focus and priorities. After that, then we can start looking at depth and breadth of the feature set. The core gameplay is great, but we need to polish it before expanding out.

Improved gunplay will be critical in that regard, apparently.

Gunplay will be receiving a lot of my personal attention. It has to be more satisfying than it is now, it needs to be more consistent, predictable, and rewarding. At some point, I want to expand on the current weapon set. But not until the ones that are there are balanced, consistent, and predictable.

A few minor details emerged from Wynn’s AMA are that enhanced base building and vehicle modification will be done in the future but won’t happen any time soon, particularly the latter. As for H1Z1: Just Survive, there may be different types of servers and even player servers, but these decisions have not been finalized in one way or another yet.

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