DayZ battle royale 'Survivor GameZ' is returning, but its founders aren't involved

(Image credit: Bohemia)

DayZ, the game about roaming a post-Soviet wasteland looking for can openers (among other things), is getting a battle royale mode in the form of Survivor GameZ. DayZ veterans will recognise the name: it's the name of a mod and tournament founded in 2012 by former DayZ Creative Director Brian Hicks and Jordan Tayer, back before the core game went standalone. Now, six years later, it's coming to the official standalone game.

The first closed alpha is "just around the corner", according to the official DayZ Twitter account, and sign-ups are available here. The original mod supported 32 player duos, and played a tad differently to modern battle royale games. But its undeniably influenced the genre as a whole, with PUBG creator Brendan Greene citing it as an influence.

But none of the people responsible for the original mod are involved in this new Bohemia-helmed iteration. Hicks, who left Bohemia last year, told us in an email that he'll be rooting for the dev team at Bohemia Interactive Bratislava, but hopes they'll not rush it out the door.

"The Survivor GameZ was a labor of love for the team involved in it," Hicks said. "Long before the battle royale craze took hold, the Survivor GameZ team managed to set records in the video game livestream industry and create genuine memorable moments. This was all done on a shoe string budget, and with the free time we all had outside of our jobs back then. Even though it took years to convince Bohemia Interactive's management that a team last man standing experience in a post-apocalyptic world was worth investing in, we were all elated when they chose to purchase the property from us. Early on there were a significant amount of lofty plans associated with the sale. A Bohemia Interactive Seattle office, Survivor GameZ as a stand alone title, and while we did push forward on many of them, none of them seemed to come to fruition. Despite that, Bohemia Interactive Bratislava has pushed forward with a DayZ DLC model - and I'm certain they have put together an exciting experience."

He continued: "That said, neither myself nor the rest of the original founding Survivor GameZ team have been engaged by management at Bohemia Interactive in regards to the design, or functionality of the Survivor GameZ. Due to this, I am uncertain as to the state or feel of the offering they have talked about today. I can only hope they have held true to the design, and heeded my words of caution when we made those early plans. That the Survivor GameZ can *not* make a reappearance until the game itself is reliable, smooth, and as bug free as possible."

Survivor GameZ was a community-driven enterprise created by enthusiasts, so its audience could forgive its shortcomings. "We got away with a lot with the original Survivor GameZ, primarily due to the fact that those competing in it understood that this was a part time gig for the team - and that we all had other responsibilities," Hicks said. "That does not apply to a professionally released game or DLC, and the market for battle royale style experiences is seasoned, with an intelligent and demanding audience."

Survivor GameZ will at least play quite differently to the likes of PUBG and Fortnite. As the alpha sign-up page explains, each match comprises three phases, with the first two of these confined to specific parts of the map. Available loot changes between these phases, as well as hotspots where the most powerful items spawn.

The third phase opens the map entirely but spawns an "endgame interaction object" which, naturally, will attract remaining players. "This object is always in the lumber yard area," Bohemia's description reads. The player's distance from this area will determine the damage they take–the closer they are, the safer they are. 

It'll be interesting to see whether Survivor GameZ can gain traction in a flooded scene.

Shaun Prescott

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.