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Stationeers, the next game by DayZ’s Dean Hall, enters early access in September

“I want to try and do Early Access ‘right’”

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Dean Hall, the designer of hit open-world survival game DayZ, will release his next game project into early access this September. Called Stationeers, it’s a sandbox science fiction game inspired by the cult classic Space Station 13.

Stationeers is a complex, first-person space station simulation first announced in March. It includes a complex web of interconnected systems including realistic life support, power and networking systems, a simulated medical system, agricultural and food production as well as gravity. It can be played solo or in multiplayer with a small group.

“This is not a casual game,” the developer says on the Stationeers Steam page. “This game has been designed for the hardcore player who want games that are very systems oriented. ... The game presents a variety of science-based survival problems that you have to solve yourself, and then try and optimize your solutions over time. For those not seeking a very intensive and hardcore experience, this game is not for you.”

Following the success of DayZ — the multiplayer survival game being produced by Bohemia interactive which is still in early access Hall moved back to his native New Zealand. He founded his own studio, called RocketWerkz, in 2014. Since then, his team has released one other game, a virtual reality title called Out of Ammo, into early access. It achieved a full commercial release in September 2016.

That about the same time that another, more mysterious game project called Ion was shelved entirely.

While the Stationeers launch date has been posted, Hall wrote on the game’s Steam forum that it could slip a bit.

“This date would be delayed if we do not think the game is ready,” Hall wrote. “I just think we should be a little more public now about our expected targets, as it also helps internally put a little pressure on the team.”

One commenter chided that he had best limit the early access period in order to launch a more complete game, something that Hall rejected.

“The only thing I disagree with is length of Early Access,” Hall wrote. “One of the reasons we wanted to do Early Access with this game is so that it would evolve with the community through development. Early Access is a great way to restrict the number of customers, yet still build a very focused community. It allows us to gauge the real interest in the game and scope it correctly without the danger of overscoping and bankrupting the studio.

“I suppose I want to try and do Early Access ‘right’ based on what I've learned myself, and from others.”

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