SIE Bend Studio created the entire open world environment with a shockingly small team.
Surely, one of the reasons that Days Gone has been unable to stand toe to toe with Sony’s greatest first party hits of recent years is the relatively more limited resources and manpower at the disposal of developers SIE Bend Studio. But viewed in isolated, Days Gone is a solid enough game, albeit one with issues, and considering that it was made with fewer resources than the God of Wars and Uncharteds that come out of Sony, it becomes a bit more impressive.
Take its open world for instance- Days Gone’s open world environment isn’t the largest you’ll ever see in a game, nor is it the more polished, but it’s still an impressive sandbox. It’s large enough, has a great deal of diversity, and is made better by the fact that it has so many systems interacting with each other at all times, making it an environment where emergent gameplay comes to life wonderfully. What’s even more impressive is that the entire open world was designed by a team of just 5 people, as the developers revealed in an AMA thread on Reddit recently.
“The thing I’m most proud of is how diverse and dynamic we were able to make the open world with such a small open world design team (5-6 people),” wrote lead open world designer Eric Jensen. “We had to think smart and efficient with all of our design choices knowing the man power limitations. Seeing all of the crazy videos and screenshots that people have posted of the open world coming for Deacon or even interacting with itself has been incredibly cool for our team to see!”
Open worlds aren’t easy to design, one has to imagine, even with full-sized teams. That Bend achieved what they did with a team of just five or six people is truly impressive. Imagine what they could do in a potential sequel with a larger team and more resources to work with.
If Days Gone’s sales are any indication, there might end up being a sequel. It’s been doing well in the UK, and in Japan, where it has outperformed the likes of Horizon: Zero Dawn and God of War. Meanwhile, it topped the NPD charts for sales in the US for the month of April, while becoming Bend’s most successful game already, in terms of revenue accrued.