As promised, Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley has detailed the studio's upcoming zombie-themed MMO H1Z1.
Like the title suggests, it's about a zombie virus-ridden post-apocalypse. Smedley explained in a Reddit thread that it takes place 15 years after the virus broke out and players will have to scavenge for supplies, craft tools, and fight against the undead, wildlife, and other survivors alike.
Smedley noted that like previous SOE games, H1Z1 will have a large scope with seemlessly connected open countrysides and concentrated urban jungles. "Our focus is building a sandbox style of gameplay where players can build shelters out of resources in the world," Smedley explained. "They can even work together to make amazing fortresses complete with weaponry to help defend against both the Infected and other players. Players also have access to a very deep crafting system that can let players make a huge variety of awesome stuff, including weapons and things like Molotov cocktails, explosives.. and other fun surprises."
H1Z1 will use SOE's proprietary next-gen engine, Forgelight, and its world will be persistent across multiple servers with different rule sets. This will enable players to trade items and also ensure that they have both human allies and enemies to go up against.
It sounds very much in the vein of other zombie MMOs like DayZ and Fortnite, but Smedley explained that it has a greater focus on building and playing the game how you want to play it. "The main thing that differentiates H1Z1 from the other great games in the genre is the emphasis we are putting on player ownership and building," Smedley said. "We want you to be able to form roving gangs that are headquartered out of an abandoned warehouse that you've taken over... or a house you've built from scratch after having cut trees down and secured the resources to make it."
"We are giving players the tools to make their own towns, camps and defenses, and they can decide how to set up their base (which is in the world btw... not instanced). We're building in all the social features you've come to expect from an SOE game (grouping, proximity voice chat, voice chat for your gang, and many other cool social features)."
"We want our players to make Woodbury from The Walking Dead if they want to. Or take over a prison. Or fix an old car so you and your friends can run zombies and players over mercilessly, and revel in the sheer delight of hearing a zombie scream as you light it on fire, or craft a gun to take down your friends and enemies alike," Smedley added.
"If you prefer a quiet life as a farmer raising crops... we're going to make sure your zombie apocalypse fantasy is complete. If you're like me and you want nothing more than to kill everything that moves, by all means see how that goes. It's going to be a blast!"