We were promised a standalone DayZ in 2013, but - like so many things, that just didn't eventuate. According to creator and zombie-herder Dean "Rocket" Hall, that's because the development team are a bunch of perfectionists, who didn't want to release a game that wasn't everything it could be.
Put simply, 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. This blew any initial plans we had dictated to pieces.
So. The team is now working towards a closed test, opened to a mere 500-1000 gamers "in the near future". This will include a completely overhauled inventory and item management system (thanks, Jirka), which means you will be able to scavenge for and pick up individual items rather than piles. Items are now more complex - be careful when picking up shirts, if the previous wearer was infected with cholera, the disease may still linger on the garment. Also, if you want those night goggles that guy is wearing? Don't shoot him in the head, or you might smash your treasured headwear.
DayZ UI is also being tweaked and significant progress being made on art, but development on the revised Chernarus map has stalled a little, with lead architect Ivan Buchta still imprisoned in Greece on espionage charges. He's been working with the team via letters, so the game hasn't stopped completely, but it's still an unexpected setback.
Hall's latest developer diary also includes picturs from around Chernarus, including new post-apocalyptic building interiors.
Once the closed test has kicked off, the team will have a better idea of how much work is left, and should be able to put a new release date on the table for the standalone version of DayZ.