Josh's Inner Dorkdom Journal - Episode 3 (UPDATES)

Not much to talk about this week. Finally got through finals, so I’m out of school (but not work) for about 4 weeks. Having to deal with that, I haven’t had much time for dorkly-type things.
There is something I would like to address, though:
The War Z.

Haven’t heard of it? Let me fill you in.

Around this time last year, Bohemia Interactive released a PC exclusive game called Arma II. Supposedly the most realistic military shooter ever created (albeit with an extremely complicated control scheme), everybody nowadays recognizes it for its extremely popular mod: Day Z. Created by New Zealand game designer and former soldier Dean Hall, Day Z is a game of absolute survival. Set in a zombified Russian town/countryside, Day Z pits players against one another online in probably the most realistic post-apocalyptic environment ever created for a game. The player is forced to do things even as ordinary as eating and drinking just to stay alive, all while dodging bullets from other players who want to take these items of sustenance for themselves. Oh yeah, you’ve got to deal with zombies and you only get one life.

Because of the Day Z mod, Arma II and its expansion pack (Operation: Arrowhead) became one of the Steam service’s top selling games and remains so even now. Presently, Dean Hall and his team of developers are working on a standalone version of Day Z that will incorporate new features, better controls and all around improvements to what many consider to be an already outstanding expansion. That being said, it’s no wonder that there would be developers who would want a piece of the zombie survival action.

About 6 months ago, I heard about a game being developed for the PC entitled, The War Z. Well, the title was kind of familiar, but the article I was reading in Game Informer magazine assured me that this was, indeed, a different game. The screenshots in the magazine looked vastly superior to Day Z’s graphics and the promises of certain features sounded as though they might be superior as well. The article culminated with the claim by the developer (Hammerpoint Interactive) that the game would be released before the standalone version of Dean Hall’s Day Z mod. To a certain extent, they were right.

Last week, I received the newest issue of Game Informer which had yet another article about The War Z. After reading it, I decided to look up the game and see what its development progress was. I was led to the game’s official website which stated that one could access the alpha version of the game for around $20.

Before spending money on the game, I thought it best to see how the game was being reviewed by other players. What I found was not very encouraging. According to The War Z users, the game was basically a Call of Duty-style free-for-all with zombies scattered around the map and that most of the features which the developers had claimed would be included were not yet implemented. I decided to wait until the full release to give the game a try.

Fast forward to about 2 days later. I log into my Steam account and what do I see in the featured games list? The War Z for $14. The game was done?! I was just about to click the “add to cart” button when my brain, suspecting possible foul play, got the better of me. I headed over to The War Z forums and checked if Hammerpoint had, in fact, finished the game. The truth was, they had not. Page after page in the forum warned people of buying this supposed “Foundation Release.”
What was a “Foundation Release?”

The “Foundation Release” would be a basis for Hammerpoint to build onto the game over the coming months via patches as users played the game. According to The War Z users, the developers had released the alpha version (a version which 2 days ago cost $20 from their official website) on Steam with nothing on Steam’s site indicating that this was not a full release. The term “Foundation Release” is, even now, nowhere to be seen on Steam’s page for the game.

Remember when I mentioned the “superior to Day Z screenshots” above? Turns out that, according to several users, and even one of the developers, these screens were actually “mock-ups” in an attempt to show what the game will look like once it’s finished. I can understand doing this, but with the way The War Z looks at this stage and having been released in full on Steam, it would be extremely hard for the developers to simply “patch in” vastly superior graphics. The missing features (i.e. rentable servers, world building, etc) could be easily patched in, but even then, using screenshots and listing these features on Steam’s page for the game is nothing but false advertisement.

Is this Steam’s fault? I would say, no. I believe, like many others, that this is a scam by the developers to cash in on the popularity of Day Z and, on false pretenses, take the gaming public’s money. I think that Steam believes that this is an actual, finished product rather than an alpha build. The thing that most The War Z users are afraid of is the fact that this means the game is less likely to be updated and developed into the title that was promised.

In my opinion, the game should be removed from Steam until the developers make good on the promises of these missing features and updated graphics. I think that the game could have enormous potential and be a worthy competitor for Day Z, but with these kinds of shenanigans, Hammerpoint Interactive may have shot themselves in the proverbial foot.

That’s all I’ve got for now, but if you want more information on The War Z, go to But be warned, you won’t be getting what is advertised. The developers may promise that the game will eventually get to the point of what you see on their website, but with a supposed full release already on Steam, the chances are pretty slim.

UPDATE: It seems as though Hammerpoint has done some damage control. Just a little while ago, the Steam page was edited to more accurately reflect what a user will get after downloading the game. If I get a chance, I will post some before and after screenshots of the Steam page later tonight.
UPDATE 2: The War Z has been removed from Steam. Gaming justice prevailed!