The first huge battle royal shooter has finally left Early Access on Steam, and it is getting a new vehicle-only mode to go along with this release. Publisher Daybreak Game Company has launched the 1.0 retail version of H1Z1 for $20 on Valve’s digital distribution platform. After starting as an online survival sim (now called Just Survive), Daybreak added a last-player-standing competitive mode with the help of Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene — this was before he left to create PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds with Bluehole Studios.
H1Z1 is a fast-paced battle royale shooter that exists somewhere between PUBG and Fortnite: Battle Royale on a gameplay spectrum. Unlike those others where using a vehicle is sometimes viable (PUBG) or not even in the game (Fortnite), H1Z1’s matches have a heavy emphasis on using cars and trucks. Daybreak is now building on that with its 1.0 release in the form of the vehicle-only Auto Royale mode.
“In 2016, we did something unheard of — we split a successful game into two products and introduced the world to the first standalone battle royal game,” H1Z1 general manager Anthony Castoro said. “The next year, we created the first battle royal esports league and became the second esport to ever air on broadcast television. This year, we continue to push this young genre forward with the introduction of Auto Royale. Auto Royale doesn’t rinse-and-repeat what is currently available on the market, it turns the genre on its head with a fresh approach — arcadey, vehicle-only battle royal unlike anything anyone has experienced before.”
Here’s how the Auto Royale mode works, according to the developer.
- Two New Vehicles: Players can choose from two vehicles in Auto Royale — Sedan or ARV — both new to the game and only available in Auto Royale.
- Sedan: Nimble car with faster acceleration and higher jump clearance, allowing skilled drivers to quickly evade enemies.
- Armored Recon Vehicle (ARV): Offers more stability, making it easier to drive for new players, but has less turbo fuel efficiency.
- New Weapons: The Light Machine Gun (LMG), available only in Auto Royale, deals the most sustained damage of any gun in the game.
- New Power Ups: Players pick up evasive, defensive and combat drops to throw opponents off their trail, heal themselves, or deal damage to enemy vehicles.
- Defensive drops include vehicle repair kits, environmental buffs, fire extinguishers, and vehicle armor.
- Evasive power ups include smoke screens, high-octane fuel, turbo boosts, and oil slicks.
- Combative pick-ups include land mines and corrosive smoke.
H1Z1 is getting more than Auto Royale, though. Daybreak is delivering a slew of improvements including the option to finally choose where you drop on the map, a new minimap, and a ton of new cosmetic content.
PUBG and Fortnite came in and ate H1Z1’s battle-royale lunch, but Daybreak still has a chance to keep its game relevant and profitable. It will need regular updates beyond this to accomplish that, and version 1.0 is only the start.