'Rocket' Hall

Dean Hall
Born (1981-05-14) 14 May 1981 (age 40)[1]
Other names"Rocket"
Alma materUniversity of Otago
OccupationVideo game designer
Known forDayZ

Dean "Rocket" Hall (born 14 May 1981) is a New Zealand video game designer. He is best known for creating zombie apocalypse PC game DayZ, which began as a mod, and was later developed into its own game under the same title.[2] Hall left the DayZ development team in 2014 to found his own studio, Rocketwerkz.[3]

Hall was a Commissioned Officer of the Royal New Zealand Corps of Signals in the New Zealand Army[4] and attended survival training in Brunei where he came up with the basic idea for DayZ.[2][5]

Early life and education[]

Hall grew up in Oamaru, New Zealand, and attended Waitaki Boys' High School. He played role-playing games with fellow New Zealander Chris Butcher, who later became the Technical Director at Bungie working on Halo and Destiny.[6] Hall started video game development on an Amiga personal computer that his parents purchased him as a child.[4]

Military service[]

Dean Hall
AllegianceNew Zealand
Service/branchRoyal New Zealand Air Force, New Zealand Army[7]
Years of service2000 – 2005
UnitRoyal New Zealand Corps of Signals

Hall served as a commissioned officer in the Royal New Zealand Air Force for five years, completing a degree at the University of Otago under a Defense Scholarship.[4] In 2009 Hall re-enlisted in the New Zealand Army and was posted on an exchange program with the Singapore Armed Forces.[8] Hall was inspired by his efforts on survival training[8] and in using video games as a method to train soldiers in the emotional reactions they may face, including him pitching the concept to leadership within the Army. When interest was not shown, Hall stated he decided to add zombies and release it publicly.[9]

Hall was posted to the Singapore Armed Forces on an exchange program during which he completed his survival training in Brunei.[10] His experiences on this trip formed the basis for his ideas with the development of the mod. Hall was not used to the diet during his period of deployment, and this became a further problem as the training progressed. He ran out of food during the survival component, eventually resorting to trying to eat rotten fish and ferns.[10] By the end of his training, Hall weighed 25 kilograms less[10] and required surgery to repair his injuries.[4]

Video game career[]

After leaving the Air Force, Hall was employed as a producer at Sidhe Interactive in Wellington, New Zealand,[4] and worked on Speed Racer: The Videogame.[11] Hall briefly left the industry to return to the army before returning for a contract at Bohemia Interactive to work on Arma 3. During this time, Hall created DayZ, a zombie survival horror mod for the Arma 2. After the success of the mod Hall started work at Bohemia in the position of Project Lead of the standalone version of DayZ.[8][9] DayZ mod was nominated for the Online Innovation Award at the GDC Online Awards 2012.[12]

In November 2014, Hall left Bohemia Interactive to found New Zealand game studio, RocketWerkz,[13] and announced the debut title Ion at E3 2015.[14] Development of Ion was later cancelled. Hall announced Stationeers at EGX Rezzed 2017.[15] The game was released on Steam in early access on 12 December 2017.[16] The game draws inspiration from Space Station 13.

Views on the video game industry[]

In 2012, Hall stated that the seventh generation of game consoles were at the end of their lives, and that this had resulted in the PC providing more innovative games for the market.[17] Hall believed this would result in the next generation of consoles competing for the ability to cater to this desire for innovation as seen on the PC.[17] Hall has also been critical of the traditional publishing model for video games, turning down many offers to publish DayZ and asking what value publishers provide in a modern context.[18] Hall suggested that publishers are becoming "irrelevant", citing Minecraft as an example of this.[18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26]

Personal life[]


Hall is an accomplished mountaineer, having climbed Mount Cook in New Zealand. In May 2013, he summitted Mount Everest, making him the 42nd New Zealander to do so.[27][28][29][30] He has stated that his experiences mountaineering have also formed part of the inspiration for his game design work.

Games developed[]

Title Year Released Notes
Speed Racer: The Videogame 2008 Producer; Developed by Sidhe Interactive
DayZ (mod) 2012 (official release: Feb. 2013)
DayZ Dec. 2013 early access (official release: Dec. 2018) Project Lead; Developed by Bohemia Interactive
Ion (Cancelled) N/A Developed by RocketWerkz and Improbable
Out of Ammo 15 September 2016 Developed by RocketWerkz
Out of Ammo: Death Drive 17 August 2017 Developed by RocketWerkz
Stationeers 12 December 2017 Developed by RocketWerkz
Icarus 2021 Developed by RocketWerkz


  1. ^ Hall, Dean "Rocket". "Rocket – profile overview". dayzmod.com/forum. Retrieved 14 August 2012.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ a b Benedetti, Winda (8 August 2012). "'DayZ' eats up a million zombie fans, soon to be a full game". MSNBC. Archived from the original on 8 August 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  3. ^ Mack, Ben (6 December 2016). "Blasting off: RocketWerkz scales up with Tencent investment and big game project". MSNBC. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e McNeilly, Hamish (15 August 2012). "Game's success dazes designer". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  5. ^ Campbell, Colin (1 August 2012). "How DayZ Came to Life". IGN. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  6. ^ Rutledge, Daniel (8 September 2014). "Destiny technical director Chris Butcher interview". TV3 (New Zealand). Archived from the original on 10 September 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  7. ^ a b Hall, Dean "Rocket". "Rocket – Linkedin profile". LinkedIn. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
  8. ^ a b c Gera, Emily (15 June 2012). "Walking with the Dead: How war shaped 'DayZs zombies". The Verge. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  9. ^ a b Harman, Stace (21 August 2012). "DayZ's Dean Hall: Rocket Man Rising". Eurogamer. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  10. ^ a b c Hall, Charlie (8 June 2012). "Day Z – Interview with Dean 'Rocket' Hall, the Game's Creator". PC Gamer. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
  11. ^ Hall, Dean. "Rocket – IMDb profile". IMDb. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
  12. ^ Cocke, Taylor (26 July 2012). "GDC Online Awards Nominees Highlight the Best Online Games of the Past Year". GameSpy. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
  13. ^ @rocket2guns (9 December 2014). "Looking for programmers, artists, etc... for my new studio @RocketWerkz. These roles initially based Dunedin, NZ. Email yolo@rocketwerkz.com" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  14. ^ Hall, Charlie (16 June 2015). "Dean Hall reveals more about Ion, responds to accusations he abandoned DayZ (correction)". Polygon. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  15. ^ Purchese, Robert (30 March 2017). "Dean Hall reveals his new game Stationeers at EGX Rezzed". Eurogamer. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  16. ^ http://store.steampowered.com/app/544550/Stationeers/
  17. ^ a b Scammell, David (21 August 2012). "How DayZ Came to Life". VideoGamer.com. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  18. ^ a b Akerman, Nick (16 August 2012). "DayZ creator rejects interest from "many, many publishers"". VG247. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
  19. ^ Purchese, Robert (16 July 2012). "Will Bohemia help Dean "Rocket" Hall build a standalone DayZ game or not? • News • PC •". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  20. ^ "Day Z + Arma 3 interview – on Left 4 Dead, Skyrim, player emotion, and in-game disease | Features, Interviews". PC Gamer. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  21. ^ Cheer, Dan. "DayZ: gaming's hottest new property, created by a Kiwi – Feature – Gameplanet New Zealand". Gameplanet.co.nz. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  22. ^ "What does Day Z's creator think of The War Z?". PC Gamer. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  23. ^ "Kiwi zombie game lurches from strength to strength – Story – Entertainment". 3 News. Archived from the original on 20 September 2012. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  24. ^ Maguire, Matt. "DayZ may go stand-alone and free-to-play". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  25. ^ "Day Z Hits A Million Users". TheGamersHub. 6 August 2012. Archived from the original on 3 February 2014. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  26. ^ "DayZ Reaches 1,000,000 Players". NZGamer.com. 7 August 2012. Archived from the original on 30 January 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  27. ^ Mathews, Josh (18 August 2012). "gamescom 2012: DayZ Interview With Dean Hall". The Game Jar. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
  28. ^ Hall, Dean "Rocket". "RocketKiwi – Tumblr post". Tumblr. Retrieved 21 April 2012.
  29. ^ Tipps, Seth (27 May 2013). "DayZ creator scales Everest". develop-online.net.
  30. ^ Ryan, Rebecca (31 May 2013). "Living Everest dream". Oamaru Mail. Retrieved 16 October 2013.

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