For a second time. What used to be known simply as H1Z1 was split into two games last year. H1Z1: King of the Kill and H1Z1: Just Survive. King of the Kill was the Battle Royale portion of the game. Just Survive was the open-world survival part.
The Battle Royale part of the game proved to be more popular as folks looked for something different in a multiplayer shooter. And popular Twitch streamers pushed it further. Today, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds took the Battle Royale formula and gave what everyone wanted from H1Z1. Constant content updates and developer support.
The popularity of Battle Royale has left Just Survive struggling. When H1Z1 split into two games in February 2015, Just Survive was averaging 17,000+ players with peaks approaching 30,000. Today? It struggles to get 2,000 average players with peaks just over 3,000.
But developer Daybreak hopes to change that with a huge update today. Just Survive sheds the H1Z1 name and gets a new world map called Badwater Canyon. Well, it looks better. The entire Badwater Canyon map will be rolled out over time. According to the patch notes, the first region (Pine Mill Reservoir) is being added today.
Strongholds is another highly-touted feature in the trailer above. Think buildable structures from the previous version of Just Survive, but more expansive. The developers promise to expand further on Strongholds in future updates.
The Just Survive devs have an uphill climb ahead of them. There’s no doubt about it. I’ll give the new Just Survive a try. I had a blast during the early days of H1Z1. But new games come and go, and I’m not sure if there’s enough new here to recapture the players that ditched Just Survive for King of the Kill and then PUBG.
Folks who love survival games already have their favorite games. I doubt ARK: Survival Evolved and Rust players are going anywhere. Just Survive needs to offer something new and compelling. All I see in that trailer is a better-looking map. Just Survive should embrace the zombie survival part of the game and lean harder on co-op. King of the Kill already scratches the PvP itch.
I want something more like Dying Light. Overwhelm us with zombies. Make the game scary. Make the zombies dangerous. You can still push for squads of survivors to attack each other but make hordes of dangerous zombies show up too.
The rebranded Just Survive is still an early access game is on Steam for $19.99. Let me know what you think if you try it out.