I was quite disappointed by E3, but only in the sense that we didn’t get any announcements on Class 4, the Xbox One’s up-coming zombie based game. We did, however, get a little bit of information, as well as a cool looking gameplay trailer, for H1Z1, the PS4/PC’s zombie MMO. It’ll also be coming to Steam quite soon, so look alive PC gamers; it could well be Sony’s answer to DayZ.
The game that I’m most excited about is the untitled project by Undead Labs known only as ‘Class 4’. This game is destined for the Xbox One, with possible release on the 360 and PC, though none of this is confirmed. But, what do we know for sure?
It will definitely be a zombie game – Undead Labs have made their name by creating the incredible survival horror game, based on zombies, named ‘State of Decay’. If you’re a casual gamer and you’ve not played State of Decay, then you’re missing out. If you’re a zombie fan, or a fan of the survival horror genre, then I can only assume that the reason for you not playing State of Decay rests solely in your lack of an Xbox 360 or PC. Anyways, I can’t speak highly enough of State of Decay; it’s a masterpiece of a game. But, if you want to know more about my love of the game, why not check out my review? It’s a bit unconventional, but then so is State of Decay. So, Undead Labs are well known for their love of the zombie survival genre, so it’s safe to say that ‘Class 4’ will indeed be a game that at least features zombies.
I do, however, have reason to believe that it’s going to be more than that. Possibly much, much more. When State of Decay was first in development, in the very early stages, it was codenamed ‘Class 3’. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that ‘Class 4’ is the successor to ‘Class 3’. So I think it’s safe to assume that ‘Class 4’ is going to feature more than just zombies. I’ve got a pretty decent feeling that it’s going to be State of Decay, but bigger and better. Perhaps with bigger maps and environments, more zombies, more survivors, more detailed interactions with other survivor groups, perhaps even greater levels of customisation. As it’s destined for the Xbox One, these are all incredibly safe assumptions. My next few assumptions, however, are based on reading between the lines.
It’s going to be an MMO – if this isn’t your first time reading one of my articles, you might have already browsed through the predecessor to this one – ‘PS4 and Xbox One – battle of the zombie MMOs’. If you’ve not yet read it, and you’re interested in this sort of thing, then I give a round-up of ‘Class 4’, as well as H1Z1, that you might enjoy. However, I must admit that we now know a tonne more about H1Z1 and pretty much exactly the same of ‘Class 4’ – and by “pretty much exactly the same” I actually mean “Jack shit”. Still, as I’ve already said in the previous article, we do have good reason to believe that ‘Class 4’ will be an MMO. My reasoning behind it stems mostly from reading the blog post of a new employee at Undead Labs, which you can check out here. The new employee, Pat, talks about how he used to work on Guild Wars and how he was drafted in to Undead Labs to help out with a project that he’s not allowed to talk about. He goes on to say that he’s working with other ex-Guild Wars employees at Undead Labs. This ‘nondisclosure’ agreement was part of the deal with Microsoft when they agreed to finance and produce ‘Class 4’. It’s a tad complicated, but it suggests to me that Undead Labs are brining in a lot of new employees with MMO experience, something that they would otherwise be lacking at the company, should they want to make an MMO. I really hope that it’s an MMORPG, because I’m a total geek when it comes to creating my own character. Still, there’s a lot of excitement brewing for this game, even though it’s certainly a couple of years from completion. I’m going to put it out there and say that we won’t be seeing it until E3 2015. I think we’ll get a bit of a teaser trailer as well as the game’s true title and then they’ll slap a 2016 release date on it. That’s my predication, anyway.
It’s safe to say that Undead Labs are really taking their time with this one. They’ve only just released another piece of DLC for State of Decay, which is still going incredibly strong. I think that they wanted to complete their commitment with SoD before really getting into ‘Class 4’, which is incredibly admirable in my books. I’d much rather them deliver the best game that they can, and take a few years to perfect ‘Class 4’. The last thing that I’d want is for it to be a port of State of Decay on the next-gen. I want to see bigger and better. State of Decay was a beautiful stepping stone for Undead Labs, and I really hope that they’ve learnt from the game and are preparing to blow us away with its sequel.
But that’s enough about ‘Class 4’, let’s talk about H1Z1, a game that we actually know something about. When I first wrote about H1Z1, in the March of this year, we knew a little bit about it. Though, again, by ‘little’ I of course mean ‘almost Jack shit’. My predictions that ‘Class 4’ would be at E3 this year were a little misguided, but assuming that H1Z1 would be there was spot on. We were treated to some actual gameplay footage, as well as a little bit more information about the game itself. So here’s what we know so far.
It will be a zombie based MMO – so we know for sure with H1Z1 that it’s going to be an MMO set in a post apocalyptic zombie infested sandbox town, somewhere in America. The game is going to be all about survival, which you can do with or without the help of other players. You can band together to survive, or fight amongst each other over supplies, it’s really down to you. There hasn’t been much mentioned in the way of character creation as of yet, but I’d imagine that it’s safe to assume that you will be able to create your own character – as is the way with most online MMOs. It seems as though you’ll be able to set up your own dedicated servers, with your own set of rules or play on SEO’s pre-made servers… but I guess we’ll find out more when it comes to being released, perhaps in the alpha testing stage. Something that I’m not so keen on is the fact that it will be based heavily around micro-transactions. What these might entail has been kept rather quiet so far, but I’d imagine that you’ll be seeing a lot of the ‘cooler’ items being sold off for real money, as well as supplies and blueprints for things, I’d assume. You’ll probably be able to get by in the game without micro-transacting, but I’d imagine that it’ll be a right pain in the arse if you keep getting dicked over by other groups of survivors that have purchased their stuff rather than grinded for it. I guess we’ll have to wait and see on that front.
There are tonnes of customisation and crafting options – crafting works a lot like Minecraft, in that you need certain materials to make certain things, and some materials have to be crafted into a different shape to make different objects; i.e. wooden planks can be made into wooden sticks which can then be made into arrows. It seems as though the game will heavily revolve around collecting materials and crafting objects, there will be few items just ‘ready made’ in the environment. For example, in most cases cars will be in disrepair so you will have to craft items to repair them. Cars will also use gas, so you’ll have to scavenge for fuel if you want to use our four wheeled friends. Buildings can be placed anywhere on the map, and the foundations are stored in your inventory. It looks as though you have to craft the foundations out of x amount of wooden planks and x amm0unt of wooden sticks, for example. Once you’ve got the materials you can craft the stilt foundation, then use that as a base for building shacks, sheds and walls around it. There are also cool little things like dew collectors, so that you can collect fresh water. You can also collect dirty water from streams, ponds and lakes and then filter the water with charcoal. It seems as though Sony Online Entertainment have really sat and thought long and hard about this game. It looks like H1Z1 will really be putting the ‘survival’ into survival horror.
It’s an open, ever changing and intelligent world – weather affects the world, as does the time of day. Low light will glisten off of wet pavements after heavy rainfall, for example. There will be different types of rain, perhaps even snow, so it really seems like an intelligent world. From the gameplay video, it looks as though the weather and time of day really changes the look of the world, which is a great addition to make the game feel a bit more realistic. There also seems to be a functioning eco-system of animals and zombies. Zombies will chase and attack deer, as will wolves, so it sounds as though everything needs to eat; including you! Most of the events in the world seem to be randomly generated, and there will never be the same amount of zombies, or other animals, in a single area. This is a brilliant idea, in my books. The last thing you’d want is for an abundant supply of certain animals in one specific area, as it’d end up that everyone will crowd around that area and nobody will go out ‘exploring’.
This was just a quick roundup of what we can expect from H1Z1. If you want more information, I suggest checking out their website as well as the gameplay video, below.
So there’s the update on the battle of the zombie MMOs between Microsoft and Sony, on the current-gen consoles at least. On the PC you’ve also got DayZ in the mix, which could well come to consoles too. There’s a problem there though; what if the market becomes a little too over-saturated? This being a bit of an issue for Undead Labs and Class 4 – by the time they release the game, people might be too invested in DayZ or H1Z1 to care. I guess only time will tell. The excitement for H1Z1 is really building, and the game will be upon us in no time whatsoever. ‘Class 4’, however, is still a bit of a way off, and we might not be getting any solid information about the game until next year. As far as the ‘battle’ goes, it looks as though the PS4 will beat the Xbox One to the post, which is great news for zombie fans on the
PS4 PC who will only have to wait a few months for H1Z1 to be released on Steam, where it will almost be trailed before its PS4 release, rather than a couple of years like the One fans and PC gamers who follow Undead Labs. Here’s to late 2014, and 2015, I guess. It won’t be until 2016 that we really know which Zombie MMO is the ‘better’ zombie MMO and, by then, I’m sure that Sony Online Entertainment will be in the process of making H2Z2! (assuming that the world hasn’t crumbled into anarchy after a real life zombie apocalypse, by then).
I made a mistake or two in the ‘conclusion’ where I stated that H1Z1 will be coming to the PS4 in the next couple of months. I actually meant that it’ll be coming to the PC in the next few months on Steam, where it will be trialed in a sort of open alpha/beta, before its release on the PS4, probably next year I guesstimate.