Bohemia Interactive Studios had a shock. They did expect some success from their standalone zombie survival game but when the sales started pouring in, it far surpassed all expectations. Initially, it would see the company follow the plan they had in place before this huge influx of cash washed up on the shore. But soon, it became apparent that with a massively engaged audience they would have to shift their plans and look to something that could surpass every other MMO survival game ever created.
Going big would involve a completely different strategy. Bohemia Interactive realised they would need to dramatically increase the size of the team. This resulted in them buying a series of smaller development companies. Each of these studios was assigned a particular task in game. For example: realising hunting and cooking, and therefore allow a larger work force to be focused on every other aspect of the development. It also meant that they could take on other pieces of technology that those companies were developing.
But with this purchases there were some unexpected developments. They had to manage huge teams of people for a total of 160 employees. Which proved to be quite a challenge, especially for those in other parts of the world. Also, the process of finding studios to acquire would eat up valuable weeks, handling the press relations would have less time allocated and the intense stress on the team management would arguably start to show through comments, interviews, and finally through social media.
With new experts in the team they would obviously want to be doing things their own way, to a certain degree, and they would potentially also spot flaws in the current systems. These management creases needed to be ironed out and decisions have been made as to whether they would completely scratch some key elements of the game engine, and as it turns out, develop it as a new merged engine called “enfusion”.
In a recent interview Dean Hall talks about having to completely strip everything out of the current DayZ Standalone engine so that it will open up more possibilities and allow them to develop a better optimized game. It is apparent that there have been some massive tectonic shifts within the DayZ Standalone setup.
With the game tantalisingly drawing hope out of all participating gamers, DayZ Standalone has generated a huge expectation. Dean Hall says that he is truly beginning to see some of the key problems that comes from early access, which Steam facilitated. This expectation is one of them and he goes on saying that there are risks involved in any early access, but the benefits are mostly fantastic. They could have definitely raised the price for the standalone in the early days because that would have allowed them to limit the type of audience coming into the game, making it a more dedicated group who are willing to pay a higher price. But by committing to a lower price Bohemia Interactive gave access to a much wider audience. It’s also worth noting that they may not have generated the same buzz as now, and at the same time, a potential crashing wave.
Although Bohemia Interactive had, and still has, a huge success with ARMA. They are now becoming more recognized thanks to DayZ Standalone. This zombie game has beaten off competitors, such as Rust who has taken the zombie element out of the game, and now stands square on and faces up to Sony Entertainment’s H1Z1 zombie game which will be released to Alpha soon. Sony have thought it necessary to enter into this particular market because they can see how popular DayZ Standalone is and how it has weathered criticism that would have sunk many other games. Anyways, there is still a huge engagement with DayZ Standalone despite the recent security issues and problems with hackers.
A Monster is Born
It is without a doubt a fact that DayZ Standalone has turned Bohemia Interactive into something more than just an indie developer of video games. Currently Bohemia Interactive is a privately owned company, but is it only a matter of time before it floats on the stock exchange, especially if DayZ become the game that everybody is dreaming of. We may soon be able to invest, not only our emotional engagement with this company’s products, but also our money in physical shares of this lurching monster of a development company.
Considering this, there is huge pressure on where Bohemia Interactive goes from this moment onwards. They need to fix DayZ Standalone and allow it to expand, otherwise the value of those emotional, and potentially physical, shares will plummet and their now huge workforce may well face redundancies. During the past three months, the development team has taken time over their decisions, it seems to make sense because they do need to be the right ones.