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Bohemia Interactive reveals plans for DayZ in 2024, building toward ‘a colossal milestone and an exhilarating moment you won’t want to miss’

Bohemia Interactive released its first stable update of the year for its long-running zombie survival game DayZ yesterday. Update 1.24 brings several new features to the game, including a new weapon, the Vikhr rifle, more camouflage skins for the ballistic helmet, and an array of new sounds and animations to further liven up the game’s fictional country of Chernarus.

Alongside this update, Bohemia also unveiled its broader plans for DayZ in 2024, which start with “a significant departure from our typical update delivery model.” Bohemia doesn’t specify what this departure is, but I assume it means there will be fewer updates that provide more features. Certainly, Bohemia is keen to reassure players that the game will continue to receive “robust” support throughout 2024.

One reason for this change is that Bohemia is concentrating its efforts on “expanding the scope of the DayZ brand”, with “significant resources” being allocated to this. While this sounds like tedious corpspeak, it’s worth noting Bohemia has been very successful in growing DayZ’s popularity in recent years. Far from being a survivalist relic of the mid 2010s, DayZ’s community is thriving. At the time of writing, the game has 49,592 players doing horrible things to each other in Chernarus according to SteamDB, and its all-time peak of 73,418 players occurred just two months ago.

Bohemia says it is “poised to show the initial outcomes” of this brand push “later on this year,” adding that it’s “a colossal milestone and an exhilarating moment you won’t want to miss.” It isn’t wholly clear what this means, but the trajectory of most other popular shared-world shooters has been to incorporate other brands and media into their experience. But I’m not sure how exactly DayZ would do this. Adding Peter Griffin into DayZ would likely incite revolution. The alternative is another major expansion like 2019’s Livonia, which introduced a whole new map to the game, and was one of the catalysts for its resurgence in popularity.

Certainly though, Bohemia is keen to add more weapons and cosmetics into the game, which it says are a “core aspect of the DayZ experience”. Other areas the studio is focussed on include reworking firearm sounds, introducing ambient music (though I always thought DayZ’s natural ambience worked just fine) and the introduction of “a richer variety of wildlife”. Bohemia closes out its outline for 2024 with a note on events, explaining its bidding a “fond farewell” to its Valentine’s Day event, but adds that it is “looking into the possibility of hosting new events in collaboration with other games”, so perhaps brand crossovers aren’t outside of DayZ’s purview after all.

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