It was a story that begged for shocking and dramatic titles: “Dean Hall to leave Bohemia and step down as leader of DayZ“, “Dean Hall Leaving Bohemia, Stepping Down as DayZ Lead“, and even “Dean Hall plans to step down as lead designer of DayZ“. You needed only to look at forums, or visit Reddit today to get a taste of the apocalyptic foreshadowing put forward by a pretty large amount of people after Dean Hall made the following statements in a Eurogamer interview published today:
“I am a grenade,” he began, this time sat in the DayZ office in central Prague. “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 [once with the mod, again with the standalone] – 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.
“And also, I never intended to be here,” he added, referencing his original plan to stay months – as a break from the New Zealand army – not years (two and counting). DayZ swept him off his feet.
Yes, Dean Hall plans to move on and do things with his life other than make DayZ. More remarkable is the fact that many treated this as some horrific, surprising revelation. It’s not. Hall has long been talking about his aspiration beyond his time with Bohemia and DayZ. A PCGamer interview with him in June of 2013 shows this to be the case:
I know it’s hard to predict, but how long do you see yourself working on DayZ?
Hall: I think right now, realistically, the next 12 months. Particularly if a console port came in—or ports, if there were changes to certain consoles. I’d say I’m probably being realistic there, to deal with that.
So, calm your shit internet world. If you don’t think that the fact that Dean Hall is a well rounded person, with aspiration beyond a single game, isn’t a huge part of what makes him (1) a great developer and (2) a great figure in the multi-player/modding/indie community, you should re-examine that view. You can’t create without an imagination, and an imagination is fueled by an interest in many things. Letting it get stale, focused only on one goal, may lead to a great finished product, but will not necessarily lead to a vast library of creations. In fact, I’ve got even more respect for the man because of the fact that he is able to look at himself, realize he might not be the best thing for certain parts of the project’s development, and then plan to walk away from what could easily be called his child at some point in the future.
This news isn’t a surprise, isn’t all that shocking, and I even feel like I’m feeding into the drama by reporting on the fact that it is, indeed, drama. Hall himself put it best in a tweet this morning:
Newsflash: Man wants to do something else once he is finished what he is doing now, more at 10! :P
— Dean Hall (@rocket2guns) February 24, 2014