Bohemia feared the reaction to a standalone DayZ game

"They might feel it was not fair because they had to pay money for something that was initially free if they owned Arma 2."

Developer Bohemia Interactive dallied on signing Dean Hall - creator of wildly popular ArmA 2 zombie mod DayZ - on board to make a standalone game because it "feared how they [players] may react."

In an interview with MCV, Bohemia CEO Marek Spanel explained, "They might feel it was not fair because they had to pay money for something that was initially free if they owned Arma 2."

Of course, most players didn't own ArmA 2, but rather purchased it with the sole intent of playing DayZ. Sales skyrocketed for the three year old military shooter and it seemed many were biting the £14.99 bullet on ArmA 2 just for the mod - which has over one million players.

"At the moment, the people that are interested in it [DayZ] and buying it are prepared to take a punt. They're prepared to spend £14.99 on a game [ArmA 2] they might not play or enjoy, to play a mod that is very fluid and in development," Hall told us in July at Rezzed.

He also suggested the ArmA 2 price was quite high for a still in development mod and if it were up to him, he'd have a standalone DayZ be more affordable. "The price point of ArmA [2] at £14.99 is probably a bit much for an alpha-type thing. So, it would want to be a more sensible price point."

"The challenge there, with the standalone, would be the development team saying, 'OK, we need to put enough features in that people would say, 'Nope, I want to move from the mod to the game.'"

Hall stated at Rezzed that he'd love to work with Bohemia on a full DayZ title and wanted them to hurry up and sign him already. "If I don't do something, someone else will," he said.

Eventually Spanel realised the DayZ project had grown out of control and could no longer be contained as a mere mod.

"To support DayZ properly, making it a standalone game was the only way ahead. As a mod, we can only really take it as far as we have now. That doesn't mean we are abandoning the mod or that we won't try to support it further, there will be quite a few updates for the mod as well to keep it alive. But there are many limits that we cannot just overcome with it being just a mod."

"As a mod, you have to think about all the other mods as well and Arma 2 itself it can become a nightmare. If you change something just to serve DayZ, and then you break another mod. Or you break the campaigns. In Arma 2 you have five or six major campaigns now. So this is difficult. We just need a standalone DayZ so we can work on it. That's the reality."

There's still no release date for the lone DayZ title, but Spanel would like to fast-track the project. "We want to do an alpha the sooner the better, and then fast iterations and build. And we want our users to be part of development. That is how we have been doing it on ArmA 2 for years. The users are in the middle. We really need them. ArmA 2 would not be what it is if it weren't for them."

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Jeffrey Matulef

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