One of the developers of the upcoming action-adventure survival game Days Gone is insistent that the freakers in the game are not zombies. That stance has been made clear several times by the studio, but Days Gone fans have continued to label the enemies as zombies regardless, so often that Bend Studio is putting its foot down and making its stance clearer than ever.
One of the features that sets the game apart, though, is that players have a choice of completing missions in multiple ways: they can use stealth or shoot their way through the hordes. There is also a dynamic weather system, with day and night cycles affecting freakers: they get faster and more dangerous after the sun goes down. The PS4-exclusive Days Gone got its first trailer in 2016, and the footage showcased a game with a specific post-apocalyptic story narrative. Although Bend Studio initially announced a release date of February 22, 2019, the studio delayed the game's launch until April 26.
It's only natural that players look at the freakers in the game and think of them as zombies. After all, the game sounds a lot like Dying Light meets The Last Of Us. However, Emmanuel Roth, a senior staff animator at Bend Studios, insisted to VG 24/7 that the freakers are not zombies, regardless of their similarities to the typical undead. He said:
“Our creatures are unique. They are the ‘freaker’, and we insist that they are not zombies. The undead, they bite you, you get infected – it’s nothing like that for us. We chose for it to be a pandemic. Some people get infected, some are immune.”
It's a funny anecdote in the lead-up to Days Gone launching that the developers are now so sick of the zombie comparisons that they've strengthened their language a little. "We insist they are not zombies," is one of the better interview quotes over the last few months, especially sans context.
In all seriousness, though, there are some critical differences in the freakers of Days Gone and the zombies of other games. For starters, Days Gone has a hierarchy system that involves the cannibalization of different types of freakers: swarmers, a stronger variant of enemy, can attack and kill newts, even though they're both monsters. The game even allows players to use freaker armies against human enemies, an interesting spin on a genre that's usually only concerned with how to kill its nightmare beasts.
Gamers might feel that zombie games have been done to death, which is probably why Days Gone is so keen on setting itself apart from that genre. While The Last of Us comparisons will be impossible to avoid, at the very least, Days Gone will attempt to revolutionize the monster epidemic narrative when it finally releases later this year.
Source: VG 24/7