DayZ first came into being way back in 2009 as a mod for Arma 2, and made its standalone debut in 2013 on Steam Early Access. Four years later, it's still there, and it's going to remain in that state until sometime next year.
"Let's just state the obvious: the PC beta is not coming before the end of 2017. We tried to get it done sooner, but it's going to be 2018 folks," lead producer Eugen Harton wrote in a status report released this week. "Both the beta update and any further 0.63 updates, up to 1.0, will happen in 2018, which is shaping up to be one of the most important years for DayZ. That is as much as we are sure of yet. I'll be honest, it has been a long wait already—even for us—but that's all we got now."
Even when the beta does arrive, it will not be feature-complete. Harton described it as a "platform" that can be extended by both the developers and modders, "an ecosystem where we are able to keep adding things and building the DayZ community from PC beta onward." He provided a detailed list of what content will be included with the beta release, and also touched on post-release plans, saying the developers "intend on keeping DayZ alive for as long as it's viable."
I would be remiss if I didn't side-eye the 2018 commitment just a wee little bit by looking back to Dean Hall's guarantee that the standalone release of DayZ would happen in 2012 ("There's no 'we hope it is,' it has to be"), something that ultimately didn't take place until late 2013. But does it really matter—especially after four years of pre-beta?
"2018 is going to be an important year for us in the studio, as our long term work finally makes its way out there," Harton wrote. "We sure take our time, but I truly believe that people only remember great games, and not how long it took to make them."
The update also covers Bohemia's plans for the remainder of this year, and its goals for the 0.63 "experimental" build. A video summary, with more information and footage from the experimental build, will be released before the end of the year.