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H1Z1 reforms developer team, rebranding as Z1 Battle Royale

Daybreak plans to capitalise on game mode's popularity as closure of original survival version approaches

Online multiplayer game H1Z1 is undergoing a transition that will see it renamed Z1 Battle Royale - a transition that has apparently necessitated some reshuffling of its workforce.

In the patch notes for version 1.0 of the game on PC, Daybreak Games said H1Z1 is now in the hands of a "newly re-formed dev team" and is prioritising work on its battle royale mode, no doubt in the hopes of better competing with Fortnite and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds.

It's not overly clear what Daybreak means by "newly reformed", but it likely means resources from the soon-to-be-closed H1Z1: Just Survive have been transferred to this project. GamesIndustry.biz has reached out for clarification.

The notes further detail changes to Z1 Battle Royale, including adjusted matchmaking to ensure sessions with less than 100 players bring participants closer together.

There's no exact date for the transition to the new name yet, but a public roadmap of updates and improvements will keep players informed of the most pertinent changes.

H1Z1 has been suffering in the wake of PUBG and Fortnite, with reports emerging earlier this year that its player base declined by 91 per cent between July 2017 and February 2018.

The low user population prompted Daybreak to announce the original survival mode will be closing next month. H1Z1 was initially a survival game, but later added a battle royale mode (then known as King of the Hill) thanks to the work of Brendan Greene, who later went on to create PUBG.

The two modes were split into separate games back in 2016, with battle royale switching to free-to-play earlier this year.

H1Z1: Battle Royale is also available on PlayStation 4, with its beta attracting 10 million players within the first month.

UPDATE: Daybreak Games as told GamesIndustry.biz "a handful of our developers" have moved to NantG Mobile, a recently-formed joint venture with Nantworks, to continue working on Z1 Battle Royale.

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James Batchelor

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James Batchelor has been a journalist in the games industry since 2006, joining GamesIndustry in 2016, and also runs Non-Violent Game of the Day (@NVGOTD). He does play violent games, but always on Story/Easy mode.

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