Much like a fictional undead apocalypse, the controversy over War Z is spreading rapidly. The catalyst for the controversy, the patient zero if you will, was a YouTube video from TotalBiscuit aka the Cynical Brit called “The Bore Z” which outlined many of the game’s flaws and even some outright lies regarding features promised to players. After that it spread to the game’s forums and to Reddit where the community had some fun, making fake ads using real negative player testimonials. War Z moderators on the Steam forums began banning pretty much anyone who had anything negative to say about the game which was almost everyone. Well except this guy who managed to hide a vertical message in the beginning letter of each sentence, spelling out “Help me its awful.”
This all happened yesterday – In one day the game was released, denounced, and permanently transformed into a cautionary tale for future developers. This afternoon Valve had enough and stopped the sale of the game through Steam saying they have “temporarily removed the sale” until developer Hammerpoint gets their ducks in a row.
The video above does not paint a pretty picture of the game’s current build. Starting immediately with what TotalBiscuit calls “the most hideous texture I’ve ever seen in anything” to the questionable use of a micro-transaction system in a game that is supposed to be all about survival, the Bore Z video is essentially 40 minutes the Cynical Brit trying desperately to find something positive about the game, like Where’s Waldo without Waldo.
Some people may be disappointed, but I think it’s a victory for Steam and the community. Perhaps Valve could have done a better job in making sure that the game met its own expectations, but the fact that it only took them a day to act, and the fact that they are issuing refunds, is a warning to any other developer that may try to fudge the details in the hopes to sell more units.
Normally I would feel a bit bad for a developer in this position, but not Hammerpoint. Given a chance to explain themselves and issue an apology in an interview with Gamespy, executive producer Sergey Titov attempted to put on a display of incredible PR spin, saying that they are sorry that everyone else read the description wrong.
So, in case anyone was wondering whether or not Day Z would have a competitor in War Z the answer is simple: nope.