The War Z: A Money Grab Bites Back

By Joseph Christ on December 19th, 2012 (13 comments)

It should have been evident to anyone paying attention what The War Z actually was. Being fully announced around the same time as zombie-survival game DayZ was gaining traction, it was as close to a clone of that ArmA II mod as you can get. The same ideas, the same character designs and even almost the same name. This was work that made Zygna CEO's shake with jealousy.

And what is it with the letter Z in all of this anyway?

At the time we tried to give The War Z the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps Rocket, the developer behind DayZ, let his idea loose too early. Maybe prying ears at a convention years ago overheard his excitement for a new project and decided to jump on it. Or maybe, in the best of all possible worlds, The War Z was developed organically, with coincidence and shabby naming being the main culprits.

Now that The War Z has been released in a state that can only be described as 'a mess', it's fairly obvious what has happened here. The War Z was developed quickly, and rashly, after DayZ gained popularity in an attempt to hit the market before the final version of DayZ would ever see light. This was a copy-cat money grab, plain and simple. But the Achilles heel of this master plan was one so obvious that it's hard to believe Hammerpoint Interactive -the developers of The War Z- didn't seem to realize it was there. Simply put, they didn't have the technical or design sense to pull it off. And like The Three Stooges trying to stage a Reservoir Dogs style bank heist, they shot themselves in the foot before even getting up to the teller.

Case in point. Sergey Titov, the lead developer of The War Z is not new to gaming. In fact he's quite infamous. He was the lead designer behind Big Rigs, the famously awful game who's putrescence provided fertile ground for humorous videos from Gamespot and the stinging words of critics. Put that type of stock into the effort to build a game with the scope of DayZ in a short time period, and The War Z is what you get.

Hammerpoint Interactive is in full-on defense mode at the moment, with gamers angry that they've paid $15 dollars for an empty game and false promises. My own sense is Valve, traditional supporters of grassroots gaming, will probably pull The War Z off Steam if this escalates any further, accusing the developer of misleading customers and not conforming to the rules and regulations of Steam distributed games. That would probably be the best course of action here, before more people get defrauded and before this horse and pony show does anymore damage to the prospects -and reception- of a full DayZ release.

Update: The War Z was pulled from Steam a short time after this article was published. 

Update II: Valve is now offering full refunds to those who purchased War Z. This is because Valve is awesome.


Tags: The War Z, dayz, arma ii

Joseph Christ

Joseph Christ is the Reviews Editor and a Podcast Personality at 4Player. Specializing in reviews, editorials, drinking, and saying inappropriate things about gaming franchises that are beloved by millions, his satirical and sometimes edgy style offsets a more serious and penetrating substance lurking below the surface. He is also the host of the Cocktail Time Podcast. You'll follow his Twitter if you know what's good for you.

Comment!
  • Nolan Hedstrom 1 year, 9 months ago

    You might want to note that the game was just pulled from Steam. It might just be temporarily while they work this situation out, but for now it's gone.

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    • Jeremy Flower 1 year, 9 months ago

      Good. This sounds as scummy as it gets.

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  • Tuffty 1 year, 9 months ago

    It's a ridiculous cash grab. I can't really tell which is the worst part to come out of it so far. Users being banned from The War Z Steam forum for even criticising the game, the developers labelling anyone with criticism as 'extreme DayZ fanboys', that the game doesn't even have half the features listed in the description, the developers apologising for false advertising yet still blaming people for misreading it or even that the game's Terms of Service is literally copy and pasted from League of Legend's (seriously, there's a link in the text pointing to LoL's official website) and they didn't bother to adjust it accordingly. I'm all for someone creating an open world, sandbox, survival game and doing it better than the DayZ mod. But this is a blatant ripoff, not just to the game, but to the consumers as well. The fact that Steam allowed an unfinished game to be allowed onto their platform should raise some further questions.

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  • Miggins 1 year, 9 months ago

    The Gamespy interview with the War Z dev is definitely an interesting read. He believes he isn't lying when hardly any of the features are added into the game. He apparently doesn't understand that if you say there's 100 player servers, there actually needs to be 100 player servers instead of just 50. There's many more things wrong with the Steam description that I'm sure have or will be covered. I believe this quote from Sergey sums it up pretty well, "Let's be frank: when you read "up to 100 players" -- what does it mean to you personally? I mean, for me it doesn't mean that I will play with 99 other players. Really. " If it says 100, it needs to be 100. If it's 50, it needs to say 50. Also, Steam is offering a full refund to the people that bought the game.

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    • Festive Jebus 1 year, 9 months ago

      A full refund, eh? I can't imagine how wretched this game actually is.

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  • Slingnast 1 year, 9 months ago

    I had not been keeping up on this and was wondering why everyone was hating on this game. Now I know why :|

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  • Waari 1 year, 9 months ago

    If you want to have a good laugh go to the War Z forums and watch the people trying to defend the game. I will warn you though; it will turn from funny to really sad quite quickly.

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  • Rhino 1 year, 9 months ago

    Excellent, I knew this game was going to be the worse the first time I saw it. And reading this article makes me laugh and become very happy when people get the well deserve hate at the end. Now all we have to do is wait for DayZ Stand alone and Arma 3 and we can rightfully play a zombie game that is true to our hearts.

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  • Frank Hartnett 1 year, 9 months ago

    Its a shame since first images and videos of the game showed promise. Of a Day Z with better UI and control scheme. Instead, we get this garbage. Really is quite a disappointment.

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  • wing2k12 1 year, 9 months ago

    Might want to also add that those who did buy it, can get a refund if they put in a ticket to Steam.

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  • Dimensaur2 1 year, 9 months ago

    I had never heard of this game before today and I suppose that is a good thing. This is really upsetting, not just for the consumers who wasted their money on it but also for what hastily released garbage does to the game industry as a whole. This kind of stuff (among other things) is what keeps video games from being taken seriously as an expressive medium. This sucks, but good on Valve for taking this down and offering refunds.

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  • Rhineville 1 year, 9 months ago

    The bastards even used some poorly painted-over screens grabbed from the walking dead for their promo image. Hope this thing is buried and never sees the light of day again, the people involved don't deserve it.

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  • Valeria 1 year, 9 months ago

    Valve had poor judgement with releasing this game on Steam, but the damn game was still considered in its Alpha stage. I almost purchased the game just to have a different genre in my collection, but thankfully, I reconsidered. On their website, I noticed their "struggle for survival" quote, which is incorrectly cited. It does not come from The Origin of Species; instead, this secondly misquoted Darwin statement comes from Ritchie R Ward's The Living Clocks. Congrats, a bunch of noobs ripped shit from different areas, tried making a game for fast money, and completely failed.

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