Sony just announced its new massively multiplayer survival zombie game H1Z1. If the name sounds familiar to you, that's because the H1Z1 was an Internet hoax from 2009 which claimed that the H1N1 "swine flu" virus had mutated into something that could turn the dead into zombies. The upcoming game is set 15 years after the titular virus first begins transforming people into brain-munching zombies. "We are starting with what I would call 'Middle America' — an 'anywhere and everywhere' town," Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley explains in the new H1Z1 subreddit which the official website currently points to.

While H1Z1 bears more than a passing resemblance to critically acclaimed survival horror game DayZ, Smedley cites two major differences between H1Z1 and the competition: the emphasis that Sony Online Entertainment is putting on "player ownership and building" and the ability to set things on fire. Players can reportedly look forward to being able to build, among other things, explosives, Molotov cocktails, weapons and even houses if they have the correct resources.

H1Z1 will be making use of some of the technologies and systems deployed in other Sony Online Entertainment games, including their proprietary ForgeLight engine and the Player Studio which is used for designing in-game items. Additionally, the developers will be utilizing the Roadmap system introduced in Planetside 2 to maintain a communication channel with the H1Z1 community.

While a firm release date remains unannounced, Smedley did reveal to Game Talk Live that H1Z1 will eventually be made available on Steam Early Access for $20 and might be playable in the next 4-6 weeks.