Dean Hall’s announcement at the PlayStation Gamescom conference should not be a surprise to anybody: DayZ Standalone will make its way onto the PS4. There has already been some speculation, and Hall himself had been questioned on the subject at previous events and had hinted at the possibility through his responses.
Many had been fooling themselves into thinking that this would be a PC game only though. It’s easy to understand why we might do this, DayZ Standalone evolved from ARMA 2, and the resulting DayZ mod, and has grown a very dedicated PC community. The fragile nature of this zombie cult game and its stability issues have long been a part of the user experience and seem far removed from the polished article that a PS4 game should embody. The community have rightly been encouraged to take ownership and along with this embrace loyalty and the right to respond.
Preparation for this announcement has been going on behind the scenes for some time now. DayZ Standalone has recently introduced the 64-bit servers, which is something the PS4 would need, and with the inevitable departure of Hall himself it would be wise for them to use his figurehead status as a voice to promote this future platform for DayZ Standalone, before he leaves. It made sense that now was the time for the announcement when they could have kept it under wraps for a while longer and not rocked the boat.
The preparation had also included the proposed optimisation of the game’s engine and although this would dramatically increase the frame rate and playability of the PC version it is also vital for PS4 graphic demands. Already Bohemia Interactive have a team in place to take on the port to the console and they work closely with the PC developers, comments made on Reddit by Hall himself.
This long-term focus, although they haven’t given a release date for the PS4 version, is likely to be two or three years in the making, and increased capability demands will surely have a positive effect on the performance of the PC version. You could argue that some resources will be dragged across to the PS4 development team, but ultimately for Bohemia to get this right they need to make the PC version optimisation effective for a stable port. This would be based around an entirely new cross-platform renderer that will reportedly bring enhanced graphics to the current game as well as any future developments.
With DayZ Standalone being ported to the PS4 the game is going to reach an even bigger audience. Recently Sony announced that in early August 10 million PS4 units had been sold to date, far outstripping its main competitor the Xbox One. If, when DayZ Standalone is launched on the PS4, it sells to just a third of those who own PlayStation 4s, and retails at about £40, Bohemia interactive will be making a fortune. Despite the fact that there are higher costs with developing console games, as well as the additional expense of in game updates on consoles, Bohemia interactive are going to hugely benefit from having DayZ Standalone on multiplatform’s. Around the forums and in statements there has been little mention on how this type of income will be spent. The likelihood is it will allow Bohemia Interactive to expand further give them a better base to complete projects such as DayZ Standalone. It will also encourage patrons or banks to trust and invest in the current developments if the profit margins are so predicted.
Currently Dean Hall has said that PC leads over Console. Partly what he means is that as a group they are dedicated to the community that has so supported, as well as constructively criticised, even if harshly at times, the growth of DayZ Standalone. But already there has been much criticism about the announcement. This is founded in the fear that resources will be taken away from the current PC development and that these will be focused on the more lucrative PS4 evolution. It is early stages as yet but the way in which Bohemia Interactive use the money and resources they have gained from the release of DayZ Standalone will be looked at very closely over the coming year.
At the Sony conference Dean Hall stood on stage and boldly announced that DayZ Standalone is going to be on PS4, but he also highlighted the history of the game. Through what he said it is easy to gauge that he is very proud of what he’s achieved on the PC. That the origins of DayZ Standalone will be protected. This came through in the wording as well as the acknowledgement for how the game has evolved. He was convincing but as many followers of the game are aware Dean Hall will be moving on. With this predictable announcement, although actually hearing it does drive home its importance, can we trust the next person, the next figurehead, to take over and not see the dollar signs rather than the original intentions of a game that has taken the gaming community by storm? It is clear that this one product has shifted peoples’ perceptions of Indie Development, as well as grow Bohemia Interactive into something that can now take on the big boys with a progressive PlayStation product. The build-up to the release of DayZ Standalone on PS4 will be massive and it is another indication that as a company they may well be climbing the prestige ranks.
It would be easy to get carried away with the prospect of a launch on PlayStation but, as previously mentioned, the likelihood is it’s going to take 2 to 3 years before it will be released. It will be coming up to a year shortly since DayZ Standalone was itself released and people will be asking what the following year will bring. There are some sure bets that we can drawn from this not so unexpected PS4 announcement. Two things are that DayZ will have a bigger team and that Bohemia Interactive will be working on a cross-platform renderer which is going to enable them to embed higher quality graphics not only in the PC version but in the coming PS4 release.
This is really the crux of the matter. For Bohemia Interactive to release DayZ Standalone on the PS4 it needs to be of the highest quality, a finished product, which isn’t how Bohemia currently work. What it gladly says is that they need to work to a deadline, they have to have a target in mind, rather than just drawing out a development process. There will be more pressure on them to reach milestones and results will be expected especially seeing they will be spending some of our hard spent cash on this project. So the PC platform will no doubt receive even more attention if the PS4 version is to rely on a finished product to port.
We also have to see this announcement for what it is. It’s a business statement about product that has been and still is very successful. No matter how hardcore you are as a DayZ Standalone player you can’t ignore the fact that a company needs revenue to keep growing, no matter how much they have taken already. Ideas expand and projects grow as they reach for the stars. By bridging from PC to PlayStation you could argue that it has secured the future and the finishing development of a game that many have come to love and sometimes hate and completely immerse themselves in.