You'll be forgiven if H1Z1: Just Survive (now simply called Just Survive, having dropped 'H1Z1' from its name) has slid from your radar over the past year or so. Daybreak's Early Access multiplayer survival sandbox has been a bit overshadowed by a beast of its own making: H1Z1: King of the Kill, which began as a battle royale mode for Just Survive (Brendan Greene of PUBG helped develop it) but was split into its own separate game. King of the Kill blew up, sold millions of copies in Early Access, spawned tournaments (including one that aired on TBS), and remains a fixture on Twitch and a top five game on Steam in terms of playercount.
So it's understandable if its older brother Just Survive hasn't gotten much attention lately. Work has continued, however, and there's a big update out today that makes some substantial changes and adds new features. There's a trailer above, and words below.
Probably the biggest change is the new map, which completely replaces the original that players have scavenged and built on for the past few years. It's called Badwater Canyon and it's not complete yet: initially only a portion will be available to play, an area called Pinemill Reservoir, with more regions to be added as they're completed.
There's also a new stronghold system, which will allow players to build massive forts. "We moved away from allowing players to just build hundreds of bases all over the map, which really impacted performance and really didn't add a lot of gameplay value to the world," said Ben Jones, creative director of Just Survive when we spoke over Skype last week.
In Badwater Canyon, there will be specific areas for stronghold building, and these locations can be purchased with in-game currency from an NPC at a military base. The idea is to create flashpoints of contention over the areas these strongholds can occupy. "If you've got a really expensive stronghold location near a big [point of interest] like the dam, for instance, or near a town," Jones said, "that's going to be highly desired by the community and they're going to fight you for it."
Stronghold raiding will be on a timer and attackers will have a limited window in which to achieve their objectives. So, instead of waiting for a group of players to log off and then having as much time as they want to completely raze the base, raiders will have to plan ahead and raid quickly and strategically. At the end of the raid timer, the NPC military will arrive to dump poison gas on the raiders, and they won't be able to mount another raid for a set period of time. This is to ensure that while a stronghold may take damage and get looted, the owners won't log in to find nothing but rubble left.
Upon hearing the military base would have vendors and an NPC character to buy stronghold property from, I asked if in the future this might expand to include quests or missions given to players by the military presence.
"We absolutely have plans for a quest system in the future," said Jones. "It's something that I think is really important to fit in with PvE gameplay, which is something we're still very dedicated to supporting despite the clear focus on PvP with the stronghold system."
There's still no release window for Just Survive to exit Early Access, where it's been playable since January of 2015. You can read the patch notes for this update at Just Survive's official site.