One of the biggest stories to come from Gamescom last week was the news that smash-hit zombie MMO DayZ would be coming exclusively to consoles on PlayStation 4. It's great news for PlayStation owners, but the game will be facing some fierce competition from Sony's own recently announced open-world zombie survival title H1Z1.
Like DayZ, H1Z1 from Sony Online Entertainment will let players roam free around an open, zombie infested world, modeled off mid-western America. Players must struggle to survive by finding food, water and other supplies, all while avoiding (or teaming) with other players who probably want to murder you and steal your stuff. What sets H1Z1 apart from the competition is the game's free-to-play business model; its open, player-driven development style and a feature called airdrops.
Much of the gameplay seen in open-world zombie titles involves running around for long periods of times hunting for useful items, all the while hoping to avoid other players who would likely shoot you on sight. While avoiding confrontation has been a staple of this newly birthed genre, airdrops in H1Z1 will be looking to stir up a little conflict by dropping desperately needed supplies from the sky. The catch is that because the supplies are dropped from on high and slowly descend with a parachute, any and all other observant players in the area will see the drop, and may want to claim the supplies for themselves.
A newly released trailer demonstrates the feature nicely. Various survivors make their way to the airdrop site, only to encounter other plays who had the same idea. Things quickly turn bloody as bullets fly and axes slash. At the end, the survivor of the showdown then gets to claim the supplies for his/her own.
SOE didn't say how often the airdrops would drop or even what kind of supplies might be inside, but it's probably a safe bet to assume all the essential items like food, water and ammunition would be included for players to fight over. Many of H1Z1's features are coming straight from the minds of players, as the developers regularly ask for feedback on what gamers would like to see included in the game. Unlike DayZ, H1Z1 will have more of an emphasis on crafting and building as opposed to the hardcore simulation elements found in other survival MMOs. The game will be going into an "Early Access" release sometime in the near future on PC, with a PS4 release to follow.