Battle royale title H1Z1 is coming to PlayStation 4 as a free-to-play title next month, Daybreak Games announced today.
That's good news for battle royale fans on Sony's console who aren't into Fortnite's 'build and shoot' gameplay loop.
The game’s PlayStation 4 open beta (read as: launch) kicks off on May 22.
Prior to that, the first closed beta weekend starts this month, and you can sign up for it here.
On PS4, the game features a new weapon progression system, fully reworked UI, and new weapons and gear.
“We have reimagined the game for PlayStation 4 and have designed it to accentuate the essentials of battle royale that make the genre so exciting to watch and play,” said H1Z1 producer Terrence Yee.
“We have added key gameplay differentiators to keep the game frantic and fun – an action shooter’s dream of fast-paced battle royale.”
Notably, loot collection and inventory management is simplified compared to the game’s PC version, and there is no crafting.
Daybreak is also touting new gameplay progression mechanics, and a framerate of 60 on PS4 Pro.
The development of H1Z1 has been anything but smooth.
Developed by Everquest and PlanetSide studio Sony Online Entertainment, it was positioned as a direct competitor to DayZ.
Notably, PUBG creator Brendon “PlayerUnknown” Greene worked on it before leaving to form PUBG Corporation.
Released onto Steam Early Access with survival and PvP modes in 2015, it was among the first games to feature a battle royale mode.
However, technical issues, waves of cheaters, and the inclusion of pay-to-win elements in the game saw a mighty backlash form against H1Z1, and less than a month after it launched, Sony announced that it was selling developer Sony Online Entertainment to an investment firm.
The studio rebranded as Daybreak, and layoffs followed.
H1Z1’s sales quickly crossed the one million mark, but just months later, Daybreak president John Smedley stepped down after issuing a veiled threat to Lizard Squad member Julius "zeekill" Kivimaki, who had called in a bomb threat that saw a flight Smedley was on grounded.
Smedley’s replacement didn’t even make it to the end of the year.
In early 2016, H1Z1 was split into two games: Its open-world survival and crafting side was rebranded H1Z1: Just Survive, while its 150-player battle royale mode became H1Z1: King of the Kill.
Daybreak also announced that King of the Kill was coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One that year. However, ongoing problems with the two games on PC saw their console versions quickly shelved.
Also in late 2017, Daybreak announced the H1Z1 Pro League, a professional esports league launching in 2018 with guaranteed base salaries of US$50,000, “a comprehensive player bill of rights”, and a revenue-sharing model across the league.
H1Z1 finally launched out of Early Access in February of this year for US$20, but one week later pivoted to a free-to-play business model, angering buyers.
The game’s concurrent player count has dropped from a peak of 150,179 in July 2017 to 41,891 in March.
Just Survive remains in Early Access.