Techland's officially unveiled Dying Light 2 as their big unannounced game at this year's E3 - and it seems that the big portion of that sentiment very much applies to what the developer is doing with the series in the second installment. Techland is primarily known for developing video games such as Call to Juarez and Dead Island, but they challenged themselves with 2015's Dying Light - a first-person, open world, zombie adventure game that puts heavy emphasis on its parkour system.
Dying Light was an enormous critical and commercial success for the studio, elevating their status as both a developer and publisher, which is why they've carefully taken the time to refine what they had and amplify it all for the sequel. Dying Light 2 is a narrative-driven game that has enhanced graphics and parkour mechanics allowing for a more immersive game - and Techland showcased all of that at the annual E3 Expo this past week.
Techland held an extended, behind-closed-door gameplay presentation for Dying Light 2 at E3 2018, and Screen Rant had the chance to check it out. Here's everything we learned about the game from that hands-off demo:
- Techland has been working on the game for more than 3 years.
- It’s set in a fictional European city - "the last human settlement trying to survive" - 15 years after the apocalypse. It’s set in the "modern dark ages."
- The city is 4 times the size of all the Dying Light maps combined.
- There are remnants of past events littered throughout the city: infected inside stories, since that’s where they were (as people) when the infection started spreading; they were looting the stores when they got infected.
- There are incredibly visceral, user-generated moments throughout the game: in the demo, the developer playing decided to sneak past a few bandits by entering a building and climbing to the top, but there were dozens of infected in there, “sleeping” during the day. Him moving around, avoiding making any sound, and shining his light on the infected, heavily resembled a similar scene from I Am Legend, in which Will Smith's character chases after his dog in a building filled with infected during the day. When the dev made too much sound, he had to immediately run outside, at which point the infected chased after him until they reached the sunlight.
- All objects in the game are physics-based and can be used to parkour.
- There are 2 times the parkour moves in this game compared to the original, such as wall sliding.
- The day/night cycle favored the day in the first game, but Dying Light 2 will have more nighttime play for players.
- Stamina goes down with every second the player is parkouring/hanging onto something, as well as with every move the player makes. Climbing up a building needs to be thought out in advance. If you think on the fly, there's a chance that you won’t always make it.
- You can break your fall by jumping into a tree, at which point the character will grab onto one of the branches. The branch will likely break and you’ll fall to the ground, but you might not die doing so.
- Dying Light 2 has a “narrative sandbox” - a first for the studio. Techland is quite ambitious with the sequel; they got some of The Witcher 3’s writers to help write the story along with legendary writer Chris Avellone.
- By “narrative sandbox,” Techland is saying that the choices players make not only have narrative consequences but those decisions also greatly affect the world around them. In the demo, the developer chose to side with the Peacekeeper faction instead of making a deal with two “lowlifes,” so to speak, which completely transformed that neighborhood. Peacekeepers got rid of the infected, kept bandits at bay, added several new objects that make parkouring much, much easier, and also provided free water (which heals the player) throughout the region, which could be accessed from any drinking fountain. However, if the developer chose to side with the two bandits instead, none of that would’ve happened. Then, that same region would’ve been invaded by another faction, albeit one more dangerous, and the bandits would’ve used their access to clean water to profit off the remaining survivors. In this case, the player would also receive a substantial “tribute” from them for picking their side. There are pros and cons to each choice - and those choices change the outcome of the story and fully transforms the open world.
- The AI is quite intelligent. In one instance, a group of bandits were scavenging a building during the day by using UV light, and the dev tried to silently take out a few of the bandits and loot their equipment, but he made too much sound and took too long so they caught on. One bandit ended up calling for reinforcements by sounding a horn, which made escaping difficult. The dev traversed across the rooftops for several blocks and he was still being chased and shot at, almost like it was scripted gameplay - but it wasn’t.
Open world games are all the rage in the video game industry nowadays, but studios like Techland are taking that genre and turning it on its head with games like Dying Light 2. The idea that decisions can not only affect the story but also the entire world as a whole is intriguing and something that should be pursued in future games. After all, it's things like that that encourage replayability in the modern age, not just post-release DLC.
With Dying Light 2, Techland is attempting to bring a more visceral zombie survival experience to gamers than they did the first time around, and it's possible that it might even be scarier. The game's nighttime play wasn't showcased at this year's expo because the studio said they wanted to show attendees the sheer size and scope of their sequel, which they were able to do more of during the daytime. But fans should rest assured knowing that, whenever Dying Light 2 does release, it will have been worth the wait, at least based on what has been revealed thus far.