H1Z1, the originator of the battle royale genre, launched out of Steam Early Access after a two-plus year stay on Feb. 28, but it is now going free-to-play after eight days as a full-fledged release. In an announcement on their website, Daybreak Games said that the game would be available to download for free beginning Thursday, March 8. The newly introduced Auto Royale mode that launched with the title’s exit from Early Access remains as part of the package.
The game launched at a $19.99 price point, and Daybreak is trying to square away everything with players who purchased the title at launch or during its time in Early Access. The announcement includes links to Steam and Daybreak customer service for those wishing to refund a recent purchase of the game in accordance with Steam’s refund policy, with an extra commitment from Daybreak to “work with you to make it right,” should any difficulties arise in that process.
For players who either cannot or do not choose to seek a refund, Daybreak will reward them with a “H1Z1 Appreciation Pack,” which includes three character apparel pieces, ten Victory crates and 10,000 Skulls, the game’s currency.
The move comes as no surprise as, like most “originals,” the game has been surpassed in popularity and player count by other battle royale titles PUBG and Fortnite. According to Steam Spy, H1Z1’s concurrent player base is currently under 10,000, a far cry from the millions of players the other two games attract on a daily basis.
The now free-to-play game is live, and might be worth checking out for the chaotic Auto Royale mode alone. Check out the latest trailer below.