DayZ has become many people’s only experience of the realistic, if somewhat irritating, engine behind ARMA 2. It is one of the most successful mods of all time, and yet Bohemia Interactive were fearful of the reaction fans would have to the announcement that the project was going stand alone.
“We feared how they may react because they might feel it was not fair because they had to pay money for something that was initially free if they owned ARMA II. But we have been really surprised because they have been really positive and really supportive.”
Spanel then went into the reasons that the team decided that moving over to a stand alone version was the only way the game could evolve:
“To support DayZ properly, making it a standalone game was the only way ahead. As a mod, we can only really take it as far as we have now. That doesn’t mean we are abandoning the mod or that we won’t try to support it further, there will be quite a few updates for the mod as well to keep it alive. But there are many limits that we cannot just overcome with it being just a mod. So a standalone game is the only way ahead for us to make a game better.”
“As a mod, you have to think about all the other mods as well and ARMA II itself it can become a nightmare. If you change something just to serve DayZ, and then you break another mod. Or you break the campaigns. In ARMA II you have five or six major campaigns now. So this is difficult. We just need a standalone DayZ so we can work on it. That’s the reality. And we are really happy that users understand it.”
Showing that this appreciation from the fans is reciprocated, Spanel stated that they consider community involvement one of the team’s priorities when developing the stand alone version:
“We want to do an alpha the sooner the better, and then fast iterations and build. And we want our users to be part of development. That is how we have been doing it on ARMA II for years. The users are in the middle. We really need them. ARMA II would not be what it is if it weren’t for them.”
There were murmurs of backlash from some who felt that they had already paid for the mod having bought Arma 2 purely to play Dayz. However, the majority of the fans took to the news with nothing but excitement, and this is indicative of not only the quality of the experience being offered but also the attentive approach to community interaction the modders have taken.
To know that this sort of interaction will form the core of the incoming version of the game, and to hear the advantages such a release will bring, makes the wait even harder to survive.