Just over six months ago Techland popped up to announce another zombie game – a month after Dead Island: Riptide hit the shelves. This time is was something different though. Grander, vaster, dynamic and unrestricted; it’s a vision of a bold game that aims to push what has been done before in the genre.
A day-night cycle with some Mirror’s Edge-style free running was touted early on to whet the appetite but it wasn’t until the first gameplay video a month later that the groundwork was well and truly laid. It was mightily impressive and showcased a next-gen experience, visually at the very least – with the title confirmed to be hitting PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
Following a hands-on with the game it had me completely sold. There’s certainly still niggling issues over stability and polish based on the past few Techland games, and the potential variety of the gameplay, but the expansiveness and current feature set are extremely exciting.
Run for your life
It’s all be a bit quiet on the promotional front for the title though, with the studio hard at work, so it’s possible that it slipped under your radar. So just what is Dying Light about?
“The game takes place in the fictional city of Harem,” words from the mouth of the game’s producer, Tymon Smektala. “The city has been closed by the army because of the zombie outbreak and you are just one of the survivors trapped in the city. At the start of the game you just want to survive, but then you find some clues about what happened.”
Surviving is at the heart of Dying Light and it’s what makes it so enthralling. Whether it’s something you do on your own or with others thanks to four-player co-op, you’ll be sprinting your ass off either heading to the next objective with the sun burning in the sky or fleeing for your life with a hoard of brain hungry zombies sprinting behind you.
The day-and-night cycle looks to have a substantial impact on the gameplay, including your own tactics and is the aspect of the game that has intrigued me most.
A tale about a zombie
By incorporating a free-roaming element as well as a more linear plot will hopefully provide both an element of freedom without sacrificing an interesting story. Something that the team are keen on emphasising.
“We bumped our writers team two-fold since the release of Dead Island so we’re quite confident that we can really create a story that’s engaging, interesting and that people will like,” said Smektala. “I really would like to reach that point in promoting the game that we can talk about our story. I think it has that unique Techland feel to it but the nature is very interesting. Many people will be surprised by it; it’s not your regular zombie story, that I’m sure off.”
The combination of free-running, an open world, the day and night cycle and drop-in-drop-out co-op make this a truly exciting title. Already it’s visually impressive, but it’ll all come down to how fleshed out the title ends up being as the gameplay was already well refined back in September.
There’s still plenty of time until release as well, with a launch not until the summer of next year; this leaves ample time to polish and add substance what was already a surprisingly slick title.