DayZ Standalone didn't make an end-of-2012 release, the target creator Dean Hall announced at the Eurogamer Expo in September last year.
In a new post on the DayZ blog, titled "Where is the standalone release?", Dean Hall explained why.
In short: things changed, and for the better.
"DayZ Standalone isn't here because we had the chance to go from making a game that was just the mod improved slightly, packaged simply and sold, to actually redeveloping the engine and making the game the way we all dreamed it could be," wrote Hall.
"This blew any initial plans we had dictated to pieces."
The plan now is to begin a closed test for between 500 and 1000 people "imminently". When that's finished, feedback compiled and addressed, a public release will happen. I assume this will be the paid alpha, Minecraft-style release Hall has been keen on from the beginning.
One of the reasons Hall had been so anxious to release a standalone version of DayZ - the DayZ mod requires ArmA 2 to play - was to beat inevitable copycats of his phenomenon to the punch.
Did these events allow Dean Hall some breathing space? If they did, Hall showed no sign of relief before Christmas as he wrote an emotional Reddit response to the DayZ community apologising for the delay.
Another hold-up for DayZ Standalone has been losing two key developers to imprisonment in Greece on charges of espionage, as has been well publicised. Ivan Butcha was the lead architect of revising the DayZ area of Chernarus, and Martin Pezlar was helping. Through letters, Butcha has been able to communicate some of his vision, but their imprisonment continues to have "a significant impact" on the project, admitted Hall.
The good news about the delay is, as Hall mentioned, that DayZ Standalone will better as a result.
One of the biggest changes is the rewritten inventory system that Hall declared would "fundamentally change the DayZ experience".
"You scavenge for items now as individual parts, picking up pieces rather than piles, looking for cans on shelves or under beds," he explained.
"The new system opens the door for durability of items, disease tracking (cholera lingering on clothes a player wears...), batteries, add-on components and much more.
"If you shoot a player in the head to take his night vision, you will damage the night vision. The changes to this inventory system are huge."
You now drag and drop 3D models rather than 2D pictures in the inventory, and it sounds like you'll be able to see what they look like on your character there, too.
The user interface has been simplified by a hired DayZ community member, and a concerted effort is being spent on art and textures - the results of which you can see in the screenshots in this article. Hello man in pants.
DayZ mod took the world by storm last year, finishing justifiably as one of Eurogamer's games of 2012.
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