Copycatting isn’t a crime. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Good artists copy, great artists steal. I did a bit of a double-take when I first heard about The War Z, a zombie survival MMO-shooter with deep similarities to Day Z, the almost 700,000-strong Arma 2 mod.
But how does the creator of Day Z feel about the sudden appearance of a game that talks and walks (hobbles?) like his Frankenstein of permadeath and open-world survival? I asked Dean “Rocket” Hall.
Hall shared this response via email when I asked what his reaction was to The War Z:
“I think competition is a healthy thing, and their list of features is ambitious. I’m have been hoping that the gamer response to Day Z has made a few developers, and even a few publishers, raise their eyebrows and question what we consider absolute truths in the industry. Maybe this is the start of that, in that case it is a great thing.”
“But if it is a list of promises, then it’s a bad thing. Because those things are hard to do, and Day Z is only possible because it rests on the shoulders of ten years of development in a fantastic engine. It is one thing to speculate for comment, but it’s something else to promise a feature that hasn’t been developed. Gamers react really badly to that, even when the end result is a good product. They remember and they are harsh critics.”
“In terms of Day Z’s future, I think the success of Day Z is less in the features and more in the approach. You could take the same features, plop them in any engine and a team with a different approach, and it wouldn’t work. DayZ has the great position of already being out there, and (as shown in the IGN interview) everyone will compare and contrast everything about it to this, sometimes quite unfairly. The same thing happened with World of Warcraft and the similar MMOs that came out afterwards. Certainly, the soldier in me relishes a bit of competition, a bit of edge. So I think it’s great news, gamers!”