- Developer: Dean Hall
- Publisher: Dean Hall
- Platform: PC
- Format: Digital Download
- ESRB Rating: Not Rated
- Release Date: 2013
DayZ is a survival simulation game based on Bohemia Interactive's Arma II engine. The world has been infected with a deadly virus, transforming most of the population into the shambling, walking dead. Your goal in DayZ is simply to live as long as possible, knowing full well you could be killed by either zombies or other players at any moment.
Instead of trying to complete levels or defeat your opposition, your goal is to endure for as long as possible in an open world. Players can assume the roles of survivors or bandits, with the latter serving as a persistent threat along with the AI-controlled zombies. To improve your chances of success, you can acquire weapons like crossbows or rifles, acquire tools such as matches, hunting knives, road flares, and water bottles, or find vehicles such as ATVs to traverse the deadly terrain.
Many of the simulation-style elements from the Arma II engine have been adapted to fit the game's theme. Resources are scarce and randomly generated, so you'll have to be judicious with what you have until you are able to find additional supplies. Crossbow bolts can be picked up and reused, for instance, while vehicles can be repaired from damage or wear and tear.
DayZ also features a more realistic medical system. If you are wounded, you'll continue to lose blood unless you bandage the wound. Loss of blood can make you fall unconscious, pain without medication will result in your character's body shaking, and location-specific injuries can hinder movement unless you can find something to dull the pain.
Broken bones are possible, requiring players to locate the nearest hospital or hope that friends will have a supply of morphine on hand. The game also takes into account such environmental factors as cold and rain, requiring you to keep an eye on your character's body temperature to avoid shivering and succumbing to illness.
As you explore the terrain, which includes a number of cities, you'll be able to find items like canteens, canned foods, car parts, and other potential items that can help you live another day. Players will have to eat and drink to survive, so if you neglect either basic need, you'll perish.
If you see a wandering animal, you can attempt to kill, gut and eat its meat. If you see another player in the game, you have to be prepared that you might be a target for your supplies and equipment. There are no "rules" in DayZ, so players are free to go anywhere and do anything they desire.
DayZ was originally designed as a tech demo by Dean Hall, who has served as both an army officer and air force officer in New Zealand as well as a multiplayer game designer at Bohemia Interactive. The game entered its alpha phase in April 2012, steadily building its player base to 100,000 players per day (as of July 2012).
At the 2012 Rezzed conference held in Brighton, England, Hall said the game is currently being planned as a standalone release instead of a mod, with end-game content being designed as well as the ability for players to manage their character and/or clans online. There are plans for the official website, forum, and game to be integrated, allowing players the opportunity to view personal records such as survival attempts, bandits killed, longest distance traveled, and other pertinent stats in their game.