Bounty, a mod of the popular ArmA II mod DayZ by Bohemia Interactive, is based on the idea of a buy-in service where players are paid actual money for killing zombies and other players… and Bohemia aren’t happy about it.
Speaking to PC Gamer, Bounty creators Jake Stewart, James Ortiz and Andrew Defee explain that they’re not trying to make money: they’re trying to make the game more interesting for players by giving them a monetary stake in their virtual lives. Stewart elaborates that they see the mod as a club or community, where each member has input.
I consider it like playing skins in golf. Almost like a VFW [Veterans of Foreign Wars] or a Rotary club, where everyone has a say. Everyone has input. Everybody understands where everybody’s at and where all the money is going. We can vote on things. The community can take a vote on it and we go from there. That’s kind of what we’re getting at—having a huge involvement with everybody. If you pay your five dollars, you’re part of what we’re doing.
But in a followup article, DayZ Production Assistant Matthew Lightfoot had the following to say:
While we fully support modifications created by the community, to improve the gaming experience for players of DayZ and ArmA II, we do not support their creators putting a cost on them. As commercially exploiting their small additions to DayZ undermines the work done by the original team.[…] We will be contacting the owners of the DayZ Bounty website directly over the coming days, to ask that they cease their activities in their current form.
Mod projects such as Bounty often receive cease & desist orders, particularly where copyright or financial gain is involved, so this should not be particularly surprising. Still, it’s a novel way of changing the gameplay experience, and isn’t that exactly what mods are about? According to Lightfoot:
We believe that the elements of gambling that DayZ Bounty introduces challenges the basic game design aspects that DayZ is built upon. It changes the focus of DayZ from being a creative, enjoyable, gritty gaming experience to a game that is based almost solely on financial gain and that is not something we want to be associated with.
So that’s that.