Dying Light is one of the most underrated games of this generation; there’s no disputing that. Released in 2015 when the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One era was only just warming up and the interest in zombie games was cooling down, good but unspectactular reception to the game meant that it was a slow-grower.
Over the years, the following for Dying Light has only grown and grown with commendable support from Techland almost ever since it launched. It showed other developers and publishers how you can continue to improve your game over time without having to resort to questionable business practices to squeeze every last cent out.
The gradual success of Dying Light meant that a sequel was sure to come with plenty of rumours abounding before it was announced at E3 2018. Curiously, Techland’s first zombie venture, Dead Island, has had a sequel in the works from Sumo Digital for almost five years with it being AWOL for the last two. Since Dead Island 2 was announced, Dying Light was released, had an expansion, released a bunch of free DLC, and is now shaping up for a sequel.
With no concrete release date in sight for Dying Light 2, here’s what we want to see from the game.
1. The same approach to gamers
As mentioned, Techland worked wonders for Dying Light by just doing and saying all the right things while also treating fans with honesty and respect. That should be the norm and not the exception, but sadly it just isn’t with the state of the current industry.
Techland may have backed themselves into a corner, though it’s a good corner to be in. They will have to support Dying Light 2 with exactly the same ethos as the original game and keep it feeling fresh and relevant years after release. Don’t be surprised to see them doing just that.
2. Better gunplay
Using guns in the original game was a quick way of ensuring you were swarmed by zombies, the regular kind and their more dangerous cousins. It was a risk not worth taking, which is evidenced by how unpolished gunplay felt compared to melee. Techland placed the emphasis on dicing up the undead rather than shooting them up.
Gunplay, however, was at its worst versus human enemies. Feeling inaccurate and basic with little feedback, the gunplay was at odds with the smoothness of parkour and the game in general. Here’s hoping they spruce it up for the sequel — early signs suggest that’s exactly what they’re doing.
3. Deeper narrative
Perhaps Techland made a mistake by making dashing around rooftops and slam dunking on top of zombies so much fun as its storyline seemed so flat and uninspiring in comparison. I’ve spent dozens of hours in Harran and can’t even begin to recall anything that happens in its narrative; The Following DLC was far better, however.
With Chris Avellone, esteemed writer of Baldur’s Gate and Fallout fame, steering the game’s story, we should expect a considerable step up in the storytelling department. Dying Light 2 probably won’t be The Godfather of zombie games, but as long as it shows something worth investing yourself into, it should provide a gripping ride.
4. A protagonist worth caring about
If you had to produce a template for a generic video game protagonist from this decade, it would probably look a lot like *checks notes* Kyle Crane. Devoid of personality or anything interesting to say, Crane was a bland anchor for Dying Light’s world and it doesn’t look like he will be returning.
There’s no official info on who will be playing as for Dying Light 2, but it certainly sounds like Troy Baker, who could make a wet napkin seem like the most affable thing in existence. With a bit of charm, backstory, and actual emotions beyond anger, the Dying Light 2 protagonist should be a big improvement on Crane.
5. City management
Techland have already detailed some of their impressive mechanics for making playing Dying Light 2 feeling like being in a living, reactive world, but are they missing out on a big chance to take it one step further and allow you to oversee the growth of your corner of the post-apocalypse.
Asking for Frostpunk levels of city development may be a step too far, but how about having the resources at your disposal to create new buildings and facilities? With this introduction, you could give yourself recurring missions (calm down, Preston, you’re not in this game) and make the social changes to it feel even more dramatic. It may be too big a mechanic to introduce straight away, but it would show real impetus from Techland and that they can hang with the big boys as they so rightly should.