DayZ doppleganger The War Z announced

Dean Hall predicted it would happen.

DayZ creator Dean Hall predicted that the incredible popularity of his ArmA 2 persistent online zombie mod would mean that experience would become a standalone game, whether he built it or not.

He was right.

Introducing The War Z, a zombie survival MMO developed by Hammerpoint Interactive and published by Arktos Entertainment Group.

Who?

Hammerpoint was formed last year in LA. It's an independent studio, but it's had a cheque for $4 million from investment firm Arktos.

In The War Z, an MMO, you're up against zombies and other survivors in gigantic open world maps. There's an experience-based RPG progression system underpinning everything, and you can collect and sell supplies to other players.

The War Z has a Hardcore mode where death is permanent, like in DayZ.

Executive producer Sergey Titov said a zombie MMO plan existed last year, before DayZ arrived. But he also made no secret of the swaying effect DayZ had on those plans.

"So, short answer: while we began developing our game before DayZ, we've been encouraged by fact that DayZ has become so popular. And, yes, of course some of our latest design decisions were influenced by the DayZ community forums."

Serge Titov, executive producer, The War Z

"When DayZ was released to the public, we were really excited to see another game that was akin to what we were working on," Titov told IGN. "We were like, 'Wow, that's cool, we're not the only ones making something like this.'

"As we saw the popularity of DayZ grow, and how players and the community were reacting, we realised two things: first, there was validation that our idea of making a zombie MMO was actually right, and that there is a market/player base for it; and second, we decided to abandon the idea of unlocking parts of the map as you progress - rather, the player will be able to freely roam the world and gather information and quests by exploring notes, diaries, etc left behind by both real players and NPCs.

"So, short answer: while we began developing our game before DayZ, we've been encouraged by fact that DayZ has become so popular. And, yes, of course some of our latest design decisions were influenced by the DayZ community forums."

The aim is for The War Z to be released on PCs this autumn. There'll be an upfront game charge, but no fees after that.

Meanwhile, DayZ remains very popular - it was at 639,000 players, last count - but also very unfinished, and has limited scope as a mod project run by a very small team.

The War Z has nothing to do with World War Z, the Paramount-linked book-to-game adaptation project.

Dean Hall presents DayZ at the Rezzed game show, and talks about his dreams of taking the project standalone. But who will dream with him?

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