Gray Zone Warfare tops Steam's best sellers partly thanks to disgruntled Tarkov players: 'at least it doesn't cost 250 dollars'

Three soldiers in camo holding guns and walking through long grass
(Image credit: Madfinger Games)

After a rather tumultuous week for the Escape From Tarkov community, where developers Battlestate Games managed to wipe out years of goodwill in one fell swoop, a new game has rocked up, and it's looking to swipe some angry fans. 

The main problem arose from Battlestate releasing a new DLC, for which they charged extra even for players who had already bought the $150 Edge of Darkness (EoD) Edition, which was meant to cover all future DLCs. After a confusing debacle, Battlestate finally reneged on EoD owners having to pay extra for the DLC, but it still admitted that there isn't the server capacity to accommodate everyone. 

In the wake of all of this a new contender entered the playing field: Gray Zone Warfare is a rival extraction shooter with a similar unforgiving nature contrasted with a tropical setting and a less specific military contractor vibe. It launched in early access today, and so far, it has seen some impressive numbers. 

Gray Zone Warfare is currently sitting at the top of Steam's best sellers, beating the newly released city builder Manor Lords and the ever present CS2. But unfortunately that hasn't translated to user reviews very well: It has a mostly negative review score on its Steam page, sitting at 33% at time of writing. While some of the top comments are slating Tarkov, many more explain some fundamental problems with this FPS. 

The top review, with over 1,000 people finding it helpful, simply says, "at least it doesn't cost 250 dollars." There are a couple more touching on Tarkov's recent monetisation problems, but these are no longer the majority. 

Many more are reporting that the game's performance is pretty awful. Even with everything at minimum one comment says that it's "barely running 60fps," and that's with a 3080 Ti. Another comment rebukes the comparison to Tarkov, saying, "Gray Zone Warfare is like No Man's Sky 1.0 on PS4 compared to Tarkov." Most players just say that everything is clunky and the movement feels slow; you can't even sprint and strafe at the same time. Although Gray Zone Warfare is in early access so things may not be perfect straight away. 

If you're curious if Gray Zone releasing during a particularly bad moment for Tarkov isn't a coincidence, Madfinger comms director Rick Lagnese told PC Gamer that the studio has had this date in time for months.

"We made the decision to launch in late April back in January, sticking to our plan from the beginning of the year," Lagnese said. "Originally, we aimed for an Early Access launch on April 25th, immediately after the creator playtest. However, we required a bit more time to implement some last-minute changes. Our team has been working tirelessly, and their dedication is truly commendable. It's inspiring to witness their hard work paying off.

Tarkov has certainly had a rough time recently, and for good reason, but even so it doesn't look like all that community outrage will transfer to players for Gray Zone Warfare, at least not in its current state.

Elie Gould
News Writer

Elie is a news writer with an unhealthy love of horror games—even though their greatest fear is being chased. When they're not screaming or hiding, there's a good chance you'll find them testing their metal in metroidvanias or just admiring their Pokemon TCG collection. Elie has previously worked at TechRadar Gaming as a staff writer and studied at JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs about Smash Bros. or any indie game that crossed their path.