DayZ will finally - after more than four years - shed the Steam Early Access label and launch in 2018.

Czech developer Bohemia committed to a console - Xbox - version in 2018 as well.

"DayZ will be out of Early Access next year," wrote Bohemia in an end-of-year DayZ update, "and we'll also finally deliver it to console players in 2018.

"Make no mistake," it added, sensing the retort, "this commitment is done taking all of our previous scheduling mistakes into the account. We're serious about it."

But has DayZ now missed the boat?

The declaration came at the end of a lengthy explanation about the beta build (0.63) missing 2017. In short, this may be the game's most important update yet, because once 0.63 leaves the Experimental server branch and goes Stable, that's it - DayZ will be no longer be in Early Access. (There will be no 0.64 or 0.65 builds after 0.63 - DayZ will go straight to 1.0.)

The beta version of DayZ will change many things. There will be new zombies, overhauled ranged and melee combat - now with combos and evades - and a whole new animation system. There will also be a new damage and hitbox system, "MUCH less" network issues, and overhauled maps and more players. And more.

There won't, however, be animal companions, barricading or aerial transport. Animal companions require tech Bohemia doesn't see happening "in a near future"; barricading lost out to base building as a beta feature; and planes will come to DayZ - along with motorbikes and bikes - in time.

"Rest assured, DayZ is not a done deal after BETA and 1.0," lead producer Eugen Harton added. "DayZ is a game AND a platform, and we intend on keeping DayZ alive for as long as it's viable (take a look at our Arma 3 example - a splendid four years of post-launch development and support!)."

He concluded: "2018 is going to be an important year for us in the studio, as our long-term work finally makes its way out there. We sure take our time, but I truly believe people only remember great games, and not how long it took to make them.

"Thank you all for staying with us, Survivors. We're almost there - after all the excruciating wait, and all the tests of patience, there are some really good times ahead of us. In beta we trust!"

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Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.

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