PC Zombie Darling Causes Sale Explosion, ArmA Devs Happy To Help

Diablo III may have all the marketing and hype as far as the PC market is concerned, but I'll be damned if anything, Blizzard-developed or not, is going to keep me from playing more DayZ this week.

The zombie survival mod for Bohemia Interactive's military sim ArmA II has come out of nowhere to be one of the most interesting things to happen to PC gaming in 2012. What's most interesting, to me at least, is what it's done to the sales and profile of ArmA II, a very serious game and one that, while successful and prominent within a niche of PC gaming, is hardly what you'd call a mainstream smash.

Yet in the past few weeks more newcomers have been exposed to ArmA II in a short span of time than ever before, all because the game's ruthless approach to realism and survival now includes zombies. To find out how the mod has impacted the game, and how they're handling the overnight renaissance in awareness, I spoke with Bohemia Interactive's Marek Španěl.

"There's no doubt that the thrilling Day Z mod currently drives Arma 2 Combined Operations sales on Steam", he says with a touch of understatement. "Sales have increased almost fivefold from how they were before Day Z's Alpha release!"

"That said, we have always been proud to provide a PC exclusive type of game like Arma 2, with a strong emphasis on modding and the user community."

Asked whether the mod's success could lead to Bohemia Interactive actually lending a helping hand (the mod's creator is currently a little overwhelmed by the response), Španěl says that the developer is actually accommodating DayZ in ArmA II's next update.

"Bohemia Interactive has always tried to help community mod makers in many different ways and Day Z mod is no different", he says. "We're more than happy to assist DayZ in any suitable way and considering the mod's popularity we are committed to do some related work in the next Arma 2 update (1.61)."

"We are actively communicating about how we could best support the Arma 2 user community especially in multiplayer and Day Z players are right now a significant portion of people actively playing the game, so of course it's high on our priority list to support it the best we can. It's important to understand that DayZ was released just a few weeks ago as a tech demo/proof of concept and it's still at Alpha status so until we know where the project intends to go it's hard to commit to anything specifically."

And the future? "I personally find the combination of realistic Arma style gameplay and settings with survival zombie apocalypse so addictive that I believe it can stand as a gaming experience on its own."

"At the moment Rocket [note: the mod's creator] from DayZ is completely overwhelmed by the demand and we're also trying to support users as much as we can alongside our other projects, so it's impossible to think too much about what the future holds for us."

That said, I ask what this could all mean for ArmA III, the studio's upcoming sequel, one which looks to vastly improve on ArmA II's sometimes rickety engine. How hard would it be to get something like DayZ up and running on the company's new platform?

"There are many aspects involved, for example the environment and different assets in Arma 3, new engine features, etc. It's important to understand that there is still a long way to go even after Arma 3 is out until mods are properly configured, ported and matured onto the new platform.

"So realistically we may be looking at one year or more from now until we can see something like Day Z based on Arma 3 technology."


    I want to play this so bad, but don't have a PC nor access to one. Just have to settle for watching other people play on you tube... T_T

    Truly is the best game ever made. LONG LIVE DAYZ!

    I down loaded the demo and the controls suck something shocking lol also shot my target practice side in the head lol

    Lance the controls are configurable. Also the engine is based on realistic ballistics so you shouldn't expect it to play like a arcade style shooter like COD.

    I had been umming over gettign Arm2 - I now will

    thinking of even buying it.

    I got it just to play DayZ. Glad I did. What can they do to support the mod?

    Fix the controls.

    The controls are really bad. Especially strafing and getting on/off ladders. It's so cumbersome!

    Having said that, despite the aimless wandering, the game has an awesome atmosphere.

      Unfortunately, the controls' notorious clunkiness is a legacy of the fact that the ARMA 2 engine is just an update of the same over-ten-years-old engine that they've used since the original Operation Flashpoint!

      I'm also of the belief that the reason the controls are so "bad" by contemporary standards is because they were made with 1980s (when OFP/ARMA: CWA was set) and pre-9/11 assumptions about how infantry combat worked -- back before CQB became en vogue and popular FPS controls changed to accommodate that.

      Fortunately, there are some mods that help alleviate this -- though unfortunately they're not compatible with DayZ -- and I've seen a rumor that one of those modders is also working for Bohemia Interactive on ARMA 3's animations.

    That's pretty awesome of Bohemia Interactive,

    Some of these modders need jobs in some high positions in big game companies to breath some creativity and enjoyment back into the gaming industry that has become so cookie cutter. A proof of concept that has got ARMA II to number two on the Steam top sellers chart with little more than word of mouth is an amazing feat.

      Actually, this interview reveals that the modder IS in the game company behind ARMA II!

      "Dean ‘Rocket’ Hall is a game designer at Bohemia Interactive, where he works during the day - but at night he becomes the lead on Day Z, the persistent, open-world zombie wasteland mod for ArmA II."

    Is it possible to get a Kotaku community going for this? Is there already a Steam group?

    this mod is probbly one of the best games ive ever playedits just so tense i literally spent half an hour last night in a mexican standoff it was so intense like i could actualy feel my heart beating it wasnt going fast thats just how focused i was

    Whilst there's no doubt that this mod is great, exactly how many articles are you planning to write on it, Luke?

    Don't get me wrong - they're a welcome reprieve from your usual staples of toys, big boobs in cosplay and the reposting of random things from other websites that have taken your fancy, none of which have much to do with gaming...

    But still - 4 articles in 8 days that consist of little more than "OMG I've just discovered this mod and it's AWESOME" seems a little much...

    Bloody hell, Jabez. You and your ilk are frigging wankers. Armchair know-it-alls.
    If you were actually playing the game, you'd realise that we can't get enough info. I found the article interesting. I found your comment predictable and moronic.

    Good question Jabez, though I doubt you'll get any intelligent answers. The very next comment from Bejigger goes to prove that. First thing Jabez said was "no doubt that this mod is great", which to me means he's played the mod and likes it. Just because he goes on to raise his concern about the journalists behaviour does not make him a "frigging wanker". To me that added information to the commentary, I would have otherwise not known.

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