Dean Hall to step down as head of DayZ, leaving Bohemia Interactive

Dean Hall is stepping down as lead developer on the successful zombie release DayZ at the end of the year and is scheduled to leave studio Bohemia interactive, Eurogamer reports.

Hall, who remains with the studio for now, plans to begin his own independent company in his home country of New Zealand where he will start development on a new multiplayer title. According to the DayZ designer, his decision to leave the project comes following the realization that he isn't cut out for a leadership role in the long-term.

"I am a grenade," Hall explained. "I have a specific use. I'm really good at risk-taking and making other people take risks, I've always been good at that in my life. Like you say, maybe I've got the gift of the gab, so I can talk, I can explain something, I can talk people up to the ledge and get them to jump off it.

"That's what I did with DayZ; I've done it twice now [with the release of the original mod, and again later the standalone game] - two new code teams have separately done it. But eventually, that's the bad person to have. Eventually, you don't want the guy telling you to go over the top and get through. So at some point I'll be a disaster for the project, at least in a leadership role."

Hall stresses he will extend his time at Bohemia for as long as the team requires his help, adding that he will not leave DayZ during a crucial time in its development. According to Hall, he will "always" be involved in the project in some manner; however, it remains unclear how close he will remain to the project.

"Yes, I can see people being freaked out about it and I saw what happened with Notch," says Hall, referring to the surprise exit of Markus "Notch" Persson from his role as lead developer of Minecraft. "That's why it's better to just address the elephant in the room. It's also fairer for Bohemia as well, rather than for me to just turn around one day and say 'see ya'. This isn't my home. And also it's a bit different with Notch: he set up his own studio - this isn't my studio.

"I can't - and nor should I - turn around and say and say 'this is how we do it'. I don't even know how their country works, their labour laws or anything. And, you know, I miss home."

The creation of a new studio will take "years," says Hall who hopes to begin the process now. The game developer has five potential game ideas in mind, most of which are similar to DayZ's multiplayer survival themes.

"I feel like DayZ is a fundamentally flawed concept," he said, "and I've always recognised that. It's not the perfect game; it's not the multiplayer experience, and it never can be, [with] the absolute spark that I want in it."

Hall revealed his intentions to create a new game studio during a Reddit AMA last month. According to the game designer, he hopes to create an internship and graduate program whereby the studio will fund projects and provide an "incubator environment" for new developers.

Bohemia Interactive tells Polygon the studio was already aware of Dean's plans, which "did not come as a surprise."

"Under the guidance of Dean, DayZ's development will continue to move full steam ahead," writes a studio representative, "and we're expecting to make a lot of progress this year (and in the year(s) after that of course)."

You can read the interview in full at Eurogamer.

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