Dean Hall: "I would love to make a DayZ turn-based Jagged Alliance game."

DayZ creator Dean "Rocket" Hall.

DayZ creator Dean "Rocket" Hall.

DayZ creator Dean Hall is full of ideas. On the heels of his successful Mount Everest climb , he's already talking about the next game he wants to make: a mountaineering game. But speaking with him at E3, that isn't the only game concept gestating in the New Zealander's brain: Hall has an interest in making a turn-based version of DayZ, too.

In this first segment of our conversation, Hall details what a Jagged Alliance-ified DayZ might look like. Come back tomorrow for a continuation of our interview that focuses on DayZ standalone and Hall's mountaineering game.

What happens when you eventually stop working on DayZ ? Do you hand it off to Bohemia at that point? Do you hand it off to the mod community?

"I love the concept of turn-based... I think that would be an awesome thing to make one day."

Dean Hall: I'd say it will be handed off to Bohemia. I signed with them. They own the rights to DayZ. So I would say we'd see other stuff come out of it. I was talking to someone before. I said, “I would love to make a DayZ turn-based Jagged Alliance game. I would play the shit out of that.” Because I love Jagged Alliance.

Jagged Alliance 2 , right?

Dean Hall: Yeah, yeah. Well, obviously.

Just making sure.

Dean Hall: You wouldn't want to make that straight after DayZ. I don't think I'd do a very good job of it. And also, Project Zomboid 's out. So why not just go play that? There's a lot of ideas. But that was something I always thought would be cool, a turn-based…It would be amazing, right?

I like the idea of being in situations where you see another player or an NPC and not having combat be the only option.

Dean Hall: Exactly. Yeah. When I played Jagged Alliance 2, seriously, it was just great. It had a little horror element in it. You could play the sci-fi mode. And so I just… I was thinking, wow, what a great game that would make.

I guess you could think about how you'd implement fear as a mechanic, too.

Dean Hall: Exactly.

In a turn-based context that's really interesting. Fear and fatigue could affect your accuracy…

Dean Hall: The original X-COM is one of my favorite things. I love the concept of turn-based. I know it's not super popular. People don't really like it that much now. But that's definitely in the cards. I think that would be an awesome thing to make one day.

Have you played Enemy Unknown yet?

Dean Hall: I did, the new one. Not a fan. It's a shame, because… It's not quite my game. It's a fantastic game, and I can see why people love it. But I'm a freak when it comes to games.

Jagged Alliance 2, an equally cheerful game as DayZ.

Jagged Alliance 2, an equally cheerful game as DayZ.

There are a few points of like, mechanical overlap with Jagged Alliance 2 and Arma and DayZ—they both have multiple firing stances, for example.

Dean Hall: It does, doesn't it? When I thought about it, I was like, “This game has to be made.” What I'm hopeful of is that instead of DayZ being this franchise of a game after a game after a game, shooter shooter shooter, there's some other directions it could go that could be quite interesting. Again, the whole concept of, “This is your story,” I think it would be interesting to make it… Jagged Alliance 2 always felt quite linear to me. I'd love to take elements from the early Fallouts, where it felt to me like the story wasn't so forced. And so that would be great, to take the two and mash them together and create this DayZ turn-based strategy that was not storyline-based. Again, the whole DayZ thing is, it's your story.

So it would be a single-player campaign game, hypothetically, but with different branching quests?

Dean Hall: Yeah, exactly. You'd grow it out. I don't know.

So you don't have a hard plan to pursue this turn-based version of DayZ right now, but you are talking about creating a mountaineering game. Are you worried about making a game that isn't about zombies?

Dean Hall: I think I have to do that. If I went and made the DayZ turn-based strategy game, a turn-based game like Jagged Alliance, then everyone would say, “Dean Hall equals zombies.” I think it's important to go out and make a game that's not zombie-based, that I'm passionate about, that I've always wanted to make. I don't think it will be as mainstream, obviously. DayZ turn-based strategy would never be as mainstream. But I don't think that's bad. Look at KSP. Look at Hotline Miami. Well, actually, Hotline Miami is pretty mainstream now. But there's a lot of games out there that find their place and do well. It's what the PC does so well. Maybe the PS4, too? You never know.

When you say it's a good thing, it's a good thing for you.

Dean Hall: Yeah.

It's a healthy change.

Dean Hall: Yeah. And also, you get kind of sick of zombies. Like I say, I definitely think I'd one day like to make this DayZ turn-based strategy game, but by the same token, you need to refresh yourself and go off and experiment and try something else.

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Evan Lahti
Global Editor-in-Chief

Evan's a hardcore FPS enthusiast who joined PC Gamer in 2008. After an era spent publishing reviews, news, and cover features, he now oversees editorial operations for PC Gamer worldwide, including setting policy, training, and editing stories written by the wider team. His most-played FPSes are CS:GO, Team Fortress 2, Team Fortress Classic, Rainbow Six Siege, and Arma 2. His first multiplayer FPS was Quake 2, played on serial LAN in his uncle's basement, the ideal conditions for instilling a lifelong fondness for fragging. Evan also leads production of the PC Gaming Show, the annual E3 showcase event dedicated to PC gaming.