As Days Gone nears its release date announcement, we’ve been able to peel back some layers of the action-adventure biker game, and learn more about the wrecked hostile landscape created by Sony Bend Studio. The game puts the player in the role of a rugged biker named Deacon, and looks to combine aspects of exploration, post-apocalyptic survival, third-person action, and motorcycle-driving games. All the while, expect Deacon to be hounded by a massive and non-stop horde of enemies.
Sony Bend Studio are most well known for their work on the Syphon Filter series, which was a former mainstay on several of Sony’s Playstation platforms. It’s been eight years now since Sony Bend last released a game - let alone an entirely new IP - and Days Gone is positioned as an attention-grabbing exclusive for Sony’s PS4.
While Screen Rant has already spent some hands-on time with a short two-mission build of the game and has plenty to say about it, Sony Bend Studio director Chris Reese shared some background on the inspiration for Days Gone, and his team's development choices for their open-world game:
"Inspiration comes from a lot of different sort of media: games, movies we'll all interested in, or books or TV shows and all that sort of stuff. So, it's a culmination of, what are our general interests? What do you we want to do? What's cool and fun for us? That's sort of where the idea originated from, and then it was just diving down: Okay, what's going to make this unique? Why would we want to play this game? If we want to play in an open world, then what about this open world is going to interest us? So, our unique take... we just have this sort of unrelenting world that just keeps coming at you. And the player has to try and figure out how to survive."
From past details, as well as our exclusive preview, it looks like Days Gone hops between its inspirations, offering survival, exploration, and resource gathering, then shifting to something approaching a horror game once indoors. The game’s primary enemies, “Freakers,” are essentially crazed fast-moving zombies that scramble to the player and thwart their objectives, but they are also joined by deadly fauna and even human bandit enemies as well. Reese goes on to describe this “unrelenting world” as foundational to Days Gone's gameplay:
"One of the pillars that, when we set out on this project, was to, you know, from an open world standpoint, what can we do? What can that experience be the player engages in and feels - and it's like, we wanted to make this tough, gritty world that's just always coming after the player. It's built that way on purpose. So, we want the player to feel what Deacon is going through. He's one of the few people in this world that can actually survive out in this world. So, in the demo that you saw today, you start out in an encampment. That's where the many populations in the world go to sort of these encampments; it's 'cause they can't survive on their own in the world 'cause there's so much coming at them."
The encampments in Days Gone seem like bastions differentiated from the more hostile zones around them, those areas that will need to be infiltrated to progress. Additionally, there are plenty of systems involved in Deacon’s bike, which can be improved with found items, but also requires upkeep to remain useful, including keeping an eye on its dwindling gasoline reserves.
Days Gone is built from the ground up as a new IP, and while it exists in the shadow of other open-world games - Horizon: Zero Dawn’s post-apocalyptic landscape comes to mind, as well as portions of the essential gameplay loop in State of Decay - there hasn’t been a game that mixes these aspects so thoroughly with motorcycles and biker culture. Providing players a modifiable transport to help contend with a constantly aggressive environment may end up as Sony Bend's magic recipe.
While there is still fine-tuning taking place before the game hits the shelves, Days Gone is looking like the same game revealed in the gameplay demo video from back in mid-2016. For now, gamers await its formal release date announcement, coming soon.