H1Z1: King of the Killand its sibling, Just Survive, are a curious Set. Both games were introduced to Steam's Early Access program more than two and a half years ago since H1Z1, a zombie-themed online multiplayer survival game. However, the most fascinating portion of the product did not have anything to do with the undead. It was a tertiary game mode named Battle Royale, where more than 100 players could parachute on the map, scavenge for weapons and armor and then fight to the death. It was so hot that for months after it launched getting into a match was nearly impossible.

A year after it came out, programmer Daybreak Game Company split H1Z1 into two unique matches. The first was called H1Z1: Just Survive and was afterwards renamed Just Survive. It retained the original's focus on living in a post-apocalyptic, zombie-filled world. The other game was called H1Z1: King of the Kill. It leaned into the fast-paced, last-man-standing kind of gameplay found in the first Battle Royale style. It has been the more popular product by much, and has gone on to be a premiere competitive game for both customers and esports professionals.

To date, it's the only sport in Steam's Early Access program to acquire it's own televised prime-time special.

King of the Kill's gameplay should seem familiar. That is because it shares a lineage with Steam's latest name right now, a little game known as Playerunknown's Battlegrounds. It was Brendan "Playerunknown" Greene that consulted on and helped to produce the Battle Royale style that will go on to become H1Z1: King of the Kill.

Since June, according to Steamcharts, it's barely lost any players in all.

The struggle for Anthony Morton, Daybreak's new general director on the job, is to maintain King of the Kill's playerbase joyful and obtain their numbers growing again. He says that his team sees the success of Battlegrounds as a "huge chance"

"That is a classic fast-follow scenario," Morton said, speaking to the achievement that Greene and Bluehole have had in the previous six months. "But we invested in the idea first, we built it out, we built up an audience, and we have had a lot of success.

"We have sold millions and millions of components of the game, and if you look today at Steam's concurrency you will see that two of the best four matches are King of the Kill and Battlegrounds, equally in this Battle Royale genre. Therefore the simple fact that Battlegrounds is doing this well, we see that as an opportunity both to differentiate on our gameplay and also to introduce folks into the genre and make them start looking around for other experiences that are interesting."

The team atDaybreak is identifying itself in lots of ways. A significant change came with this week's combat-focused update. It revamped many of those game's weapons, changing things like their array and recoil but also the way the game's planning mechanics work. Morton says he is hoping to get his group to bring King of the Kill back toward the mechanics of a traditional first-person shooter.

But the other part of his team's vision is in speeding up the heart gameplay experience. Now, Morton says, his group has gotten King of the Kill closer to 28 minutes on average. By tinkering with things like the speed that the stadium closes in on gamers, he's confident that they'll have the ability to get it down nearer to 22 minutes or less.

The changes won't stop there, he said. The next phase of evolution is to alter how players gain power, in the form of weapons and vehicles, throughout the course of this game.

 

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Morton said that his team wants to give the game a kind of three act structure. Initially, players will hit the ground and quickly grab a easy weapon: a pistol, a gun or even a bow and arrow. In the next act they'll engage with other gamers, get a few kills and begin to move across the map with the support of a scavenged vehicle.

That spectacle is going to be accomplished with a bevy of airdrops all around the map, all of them full of high-powered weapons, vehicles and armor. These second- and - third-tier weapons will incorporate laser sights and grenade launchers. They'll reward players having the in-game skills to stick it out to the later rounds, but they'll also result in the viewer's encounter at home.

Morton said that there will be more details on coming changes in H1Z1: King of the Kill during TwitchCon in October. That is when another invitational tournament, with a prize pool of $500,000, will be broadcast live from Long Beach, California.

For one, where is the console version of King of the Kill first assured in 2016? Morton says that he plays it daily against live competition online, but for now his team is still holding it back before the PC version is fully fleshed out. And if will H1Z1: King of the Kill, or its sibling Just Survive, leave early accessibility? Morton was not able to give us some answers.

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