12/9/16 10:47 AM
Well hellllooooooo there, Survivors!
My name is Ben Jones and for the past two months I’ve been quietly working as the new Lead Designer on H1Z1: Just Survive. As we’ve just released a solid update for the game addressing a number of lingering issues, we figured an introduction was in order so that we can begin chatting about the future. While the core team on Just Survive has been focused on delivering quality in the live game, a few of us have been evaluating your feedback and plotting a detailed course for the road ahead.
The goal for our team is to deliver a compelling survival experience that’s heavily focused on the elements you love most, like rich base building and dangerous encounters. We want to create a world that stands apart from King of the Kill and gives you numerous opportunities to explore our Four Player Fantasies: Zombie Hunter, Player Hunter, Base Builder and Base Raider. But to do that properly we first need to address the issues plaguing the game and the community.
I fully acknowledge this game has a checkered past, but we are determined to turn things around. We’ve assembled a leadership group with AAA veterans and brought together members of the studio who not only recognize the need for quality, but know how to deliver it. You’ve already been interacting with a few of them, like Landon and Justin, and others will be popping up on social and reddit in the future, including Just Survive’s new art director, Jeal Choi.
I know some of you may still be wary, so I thought it important for me to share my background and what lead me to this new role. Years ago I was fortunate to be part of the Day of Defeat team, where working with the community on things like texture packs and map layouts opened my eyes to the power and beauty of level design. After going off to study the craft, my passion for world building earned me a gig at Zipper Interactive where I contributed heavily on MAG, the first MMOFPS on a console. I then brought those lessons to EA and helped build a unique take on multiplayer for Medal of Honor: Warfighter. Several years later we joined DICE, and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work on my favorite game franchise by driving a ton of Premium content for Battlefield 4.
At that point I had a decision to make, for what is one to do when they reach the top? I had accomplished nearly everything I had set out to do when joining the industry, having participated in core aspects of gameplay development including levels, systems, UI/UX and even leadership roles. At that moment the availability of tools in Unity and UE4, and the eroding barriers on platforms like Steam pointed squarely at indie development as the next step, and a few of my colleagues agreed. That’s why I spent the last two years building up Fugitive Games with three other veterans, and why we nearly killed ourselves by shipping a game in 15 months. Into the Stars certainly wasn’t perfect, but the lessons I took from that experience and throughout my career have yielded perspective that I wouldn’t have thought possible when I was playing around with mod development in high school.
When I began looking for my next opportunity, the possibility of taking on a game in a “fixer upper” state intrigued me. As I spent more time playing Just Survive, I determined that this was the opportunity to affect change. I honestly view Just Survive as a diamond in the rough, simply awaiting the refinement and polish it truly deserves. My promise to you is that we’ll do everything in our power to fix the issues, enhance core gameplay, deliver compelling new features and polish the overall experience.
Spending the past few months familiarizing myself with the game and its loyal community while planning for the future has been incredibly exciting, but I simply cannot wait to get started on what we have planned for Just Survive in 2017. My hope is that as we publish updates to the Live environment that you’re right there with us, sharing your wants and frustrations, and helping us make Just Survive a truly memorable experience.
See you in the woods… (I’ll be the one charging you with a hatchet)