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H1Z1 becomes a free-to-play game today

H1Z1, which which left Early Access just over a week ago and added a cars-only battle royale mode called Auto Royale has made another sharp turn in its already twisty-turny development path. At 10 am Pacific today, Daybreak's battle royale shooter will be become a free-to-play game.

Of course, millions of players purchased H1Z1 during its stint in Early Access, and if you're one of them, there's a reward:

"To thank all of our loyal players who helped make awesome, game-changing decisions during our time in Early Access, we'll be rewarding everyone who already purchased the game with the “H1Z1 Appreciation Pack”, containing the following items: 

  • Gasrunner Hoodie
  • Bloom Survivor T-Shirt
  • Splinter Camo ARV
  • 10 Victory Crates
  • 10,000 Skulls

To support H1Z1's new free-to-play model, there are naturally new purchasable DLC bundles being added, which can be bought for $20, $50, or $100 and which contain various skins, crates, and Skulls (H1Z1's in-game currency).

This is the latest twist in an already twisted history. If you recall, H1Z1 was originally conceived as a free-to-play title, back when Daybreak was Sony Online Entertainment and back when H1Z1 was an Early Access multiplayer survival game. King of the Kill emerged first as a battle royale mode for H1Z1, then split off and became a standalone game, at which point plans for both games being free-to-play titles after Early Access were dropped. Now, in a way, we've come full circle. King of the Kill is now called H1Z1, and you can play it for free. 

Christopher Livingston

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.