The initial plan for Arma II zombie-survival mod DayZ was a stand-alone release before the end of 2012. That date has obviously come and gone, with the end of the year zombie-survival news dominated instead by the various PR balls-ups surrounding The WarZ; so the DayZ (different game, remember) blog has been updated with a status check on the project.
The short, straightforward explanation for the delay is this: “DayZ Standalone isn’t here because we had the chance to go from making a game that was just the mod improved slightly, packaged simply, and sold – to actually redeveloping the engine and making the game the way we all dreamed it could be.”
Further into the post, it’s clear how far some of those redevelopments have gone. On a section discussing the vast changes to the inventory it’s noted that the new system “… opens the door for durability of items, disease tracking (cholera lingering on clothes a player wears…), batteries, addon components, and much more.” A given example details how if a rival player with night-vision goggles is shot in the head, the night-vision goggles may receive damage in the confrontation.
Happily, even with these major changes the plan is to keep the user interface “simple and effective” (in other words, the opposite of how it works in Arma II).
A select few will be playing the standalone version of the game shortly, as the blog post states that a closed test for 500-1,000 lucky souls will begin “imminently.” However, this test will focus “purely on architecture, not the game design.”