There were some awesome things being said about Dying Light 2 after its E3 2019 showing, and with good cause. Techland’s next triple-A game looks to improve over everything in the original, with a massive world to explore, an array of narrative choices, new enemies and some nifty new gadgets to try out. With so many paths to choose from, figuring out how to get to your next goal can be different and unique with each playthrough. We had a chance to sit down with Lead Game Designer Tymon Smektala at the behind the scenes E3 presentation to figure out as any hidden details about this game that we could.
Note: This was a group interview.
"Most of this is important in terms of narrative, how people react to you. Because when you’re close to turning, they will react to you. That’s the rule of this world. That’s a safety measure for everyone in the city."
With the behind-the-scenes hands-off preview, we see Aiden – Dying Light 2’s protagonist – in a fight to save the city from a crime lord who is keeping the water stations powered off, while the citizens are slowly dying of thirst.
Aiden is on the run, trying to chase down a truck to find out where they are heading, which could be the best way to find the one responsible for shutting off the water supply. What we learn is that going down a street or head-on isn’t always the best case scenario. Aiden runs through buildings, over cars, across huge structures just to catch up with this vehicle.
We saw Aiden chasing down a truck on foot during the live demo. He was running through a building to catch up to the runaway truck. Do you have to take that path or can you get there any way you want?
TS: You can get there any way you want. But the track falls in certain parts, so we got to go through the cool moments. But yes, you can take any path you want. We just wanted to showcase this because it’s really impactful and really intense.
As Aiden’s parkouring from location to location, his clothes look fluid and well detailed. For some reason, Aiden has a very weird looking bracelet on. There’s no indication of what this means, but it looks very important.
I have a question related to the bracelets they wear —
TS: Yes. The bracelets are called biomarkers. This is something that was built 15 years before the events of the game by an organization called GRE. This basically shows you how close you’re getting to the point of no return. Because when you are infected, the infection accumulates in your body. When you cross a certain threshold then you basically turn into a zombie. So this tells you, “I’m really in bad shape. I really need to find some [drugs].” Most of this is important in terms of narrative, how people react to you. Because when you’re close to turning, they will react to you. That’s the rule of this world. That’s a safety measure for everyone in the city.
After Aiden gets close to the truck there are a few really cool buildings for him to explore, zombies to kill, and so on.
We see Aiden jump down into a dark area. At the top of the screen you have this yellow circle up there.
TS: Yes. That’s a UI element that turns your — that’s your time in the dark place. You can do it at night, as well. If the meter reaches zero then it’s bad for you.
"Co-op was a very big part of the allure. We had really high numbers for co-op players [in the original Dying Light). About 35% of people have experienced Dying Light in co-op, which really is a huge number for a game that wasn’t a co-op game in itself. You can play the whole story [of Dying Light 2] in co-op; four players maximum."
As the game progresses Aiden finds the tall, dark tower that houses the water pumps by finally boarding the trucks. We see Aiden finally find the man in charge of the shutdown water pumps, they get to talk for a bit. It becomes apparent that Aiden has a few ways to get the answers he’s looking for. How far does this go exactly?
The single player looks like it has an extremely rich amount of narrative. Will this also have a multiplayer element?
TS: So what we are seeing right now is co-op. Co-op was a very big part of the allure. We had really high numbers for co-op players [in the original Dying Light). About 35% of people have experienced Dying Light in co-op, which really is a huge number for a game that wasn’t a co-op game in itself. You can play the whole story [of Dying Light 2] in co-op; four players maximum. In co-op you know who the host is. The host makes the decisions for the game. But the next day if your friend invite you to their world you might see very different things. A lot of things you do in the game on the narrative side, by interrupting various systems change the interactive elements in the city.
Going along with the narrative perspective, Aiden has dialog options to change the adventure into what you want it to turn out to be. By the time you have finished the game you’ll have likely only seen around half of the total options therein. In this demo, Aiden chooses the option to stop the man in charge of keeping the water shut off. But that doesn’t end the troubles. We find out that there’s more behind this mystery than we originally thought.
Sadly though, time is running out for our demo and we don’t get in as many questions as we’d like to ask. So how about a fun one for the last question?
The first game had a lot of secrets. Will there be a lot of secrets in this version?
TS: Of course. A lot. I was having that conversation with our friends on the team who works on the game. The guy who made most of the secrets from the first game was really excited about making some new ones. This is something I think it’s a signature for Dying Light. So there will be plenty of them.