While H1Z1 was in early access for PC, it was the premier battle royale game just before PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and Fortnite busted onto the scene. An official release hit Steam in February this year and subsequently went free-to-play, but now we have the PlayStation 4 version on the horizon. H1Z1 has gone through several necessary changes to accommodate console controls and speed up the pace of matches. We had a taste H1Z1's PS4 makeover through an early build from the developers at Daybreak Games, which you can watch in the video above.
For the purposes of the demo, we played against 16 other developers and play-testers in a condensed version of the normal battle royale game mode where a shrunken safe zone was already established as we dropped into the map. This is not how a normal match will play out, but it is indicative of early-game scavenging and late-game intensity. In the final build, matches will hold over 100 players within the full 10x10 map with fast-moving gas zones that force you into smaller areas--in traditional battle royale style.
Currently, the only weapons found on the ground and in building are pistols, submachine guns, and shotguns. High-powered firearms like assault rifles, snipers, and semi-auto shotguns are found in either military crates (scattered across the map) or supply drops (airdropped at random). Supply drops light up like beacons to show everyone where they are at, and its color-coded light indicates the equipment tier: from low- to high-tier, it goes green, purple, and yellow. The idea is to force players into risky, yet rewarding situations and inevitable firefights for better loot.
In addition to tiered equipment, crafting is no longer part of the equation. Items like makeshift armor and explosive arrows are now just items found within the match. Vehicle spawn points are marked on your map to help alleviate the panic of scrambling for one. Players still take on bleed damage after they get hit, and first-aid kits and bandages give a slight health boost then a heal-over-time recovery, but are easily accessed by the directional pad. Backpacks simply add an extra weapon slot in your inventory, negating the weight management element in the PC version. That's all to say H1Z1 has been heavily streamlined.
Elements of the game are subject to change since we played an early version, but PS4 owners will be able to experience H1Z1 for themselves when it hits open beta on May 22.