sZone Online Officially Launches, Zone Driver Beta In February

Author : belrion    Source :



Following six years of development, a splintered development group, and a name change, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.-influenced MMOFPS sZone Online has officially launched. The free-to-play title is now available in release state—with "all [...] planned mechanics and [...] main options—via Steam. Contrary to most launch processes, sZone Online will not be wiping beta progress. Existing players will be keeping their progress.

In addition to keeping their progress, each player is receiving one Shard for skill and profession resets. A set of items is being granted to each player, as well, containing three Hellcat Injectors, 3 Ashberry Injectors, 3 Whortleberry Injectors, a 10-day Trader's Scanner, and a two week Old Stalker Diary—which grants double experience.

The launch comes with the promise that they will not be abandoning the game. New maps, quests, and "other content" are planned to be "developed regularly" alongside regular fixes and improvements. Update 1.0 brought with it a new PvP arena, an abandoned laboratory that the developers refer to as an indoor labyrinth—a stark contrast to the game's arenas, which take place outdoors.

It is a bit disconcerting, however, that they promise that they won't abandon the game while simultaneously laying out plans for sZone Online 2. The developers are concerned about the ever-aging engine that sZone Online uses. To modernize sZone, sometime around February, they will be launching a Closed Beta test—exclusively for sZone Online players—for Zone Driver, an Unreal Engine 4-powered sZone Online spin-off. Zone Driver will be a vehicular combat game featuring flying cars that are "powered by artifacts" and will serve as the basis for sZone Online 2, also planned to be made in Unreal Engine 4.

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