Techland’s Dying Light 2 Stay Human is out now and garnering a fair bit of attention, with a peak concurrent player count of 274,983 on Steam. It’s not too surprising, all things considered – despite releasing in 2015, the first Dying Light had more than 17 million players by the end of 2019. The developer’s long-term support contributed to the same so the appeal of a sequel providing even more Dying Light content for hardcore players – that too with at least five years of support – is hard to resist.
While Techland has already outlined some of the updates coming in the next few months, Dying Light 2’s story does open up some interesting avenues for the game’s future. Spoilers abound so if you haven’t finished the game, turn back now.
By now, you know the set-up – protagonist Aiden Caldwell comes to Villedor aka The City in order to search for his sister Mia. When both were children, they were subject to experiments by the mysterious Dr. Waltz. At the beginning, Aiden obtains a GRE electronic key from an informant and is warned that Villedor will be in trouble if Waltz gets his hands on it.
Being infected also doesn’t help Aiden’s cause as he ventures into The City for more answers. From there, he interacts with a number of different characters including Hakon, a former Nightrunner; Lawan, who he must give the GRE key to; and of course, Waltz who wants the GRE key for his own purpose. Then there are the different factions like the Renegades, Peacekeepers and Survivors.
Without going over every single detail, Aiden eventually meets a GRE doctor named Veronika Ryan and while accessing the GRE database to learn more about Mia, accidentally triggers missile strikes that will decimate Villedor. Waltz gets the key and heads to X13, a lab that was originally meant to be a shelter for the GRE (and also the place where Aiden was experimented on as a child).
As Aiden and Lawan confront Waltz, it’s revealed that Mia isn’t Aiden’s sister after all but actually Waltz’s daughter. The experiments were a means to find a cure for her and despite the countdown to the missile strikes, Waltz refuses to stop it (since Mia’s cure could be compromised in the process). Cue a final showdown between Aiden and Waltz ending in the latter’s defeat.
Lawan then comes up with a plan to destroy the missiles before they can even launch using explosives. X13 will thus be destroyed. Aiden must make a choice though: save Lawan (while Hakon saves Mia), evacuating X13 and letting the missiles hit Villedor, resulting in most of the population being killed. Or save Mia (while Hakon saves Lawan), thus resulting in X13 being destroyed and The City being saved though Mia dies shortly after due to being weakened. The faction most favored by Aiden then controls Villedor.
Regardless of your decision, however, Aiden will decide to leave The City and resume his journey while still being infected. Lawan can come with if you made the right decisions but it’s fairly open-ended as to where the story goes next. Of course, there are still plenty of lingering questions. What happened to the cure for Mia? Was it lost in the destruction of X13? Could there potentially be any remaining data or research that’s stored outside of the city? How does life in Villedor change going forward?
While a sequel may release several years down the line, it’s highly unlikely to continue Dying Light 2’s story. After all, even this title isn’t a direct continuation of its predecessor’s story – set 20 years later, it’s possible to enjoy it even with basic knowledge of the setting and circumstances. Dying Light 2 will serve as a new platform for Techland to continually update and monetize for the coming years. That’s how it worked for Dying Light 1 and there’s no real reason it would deviate from this approach, especially after Techland promised such extensive post-launch support.
This doesn’t mean that Aiden and his story will be abandoned completely though. After all, even Dying Light had The Following which saw Crane venturing out of his comfort zone into the wilderness to investigate a potential cure. With Dying Light 2 having not one but two story DLC, there’s the possibility of the same thing occurring here.
For instance, Aiden could travel to a brand new location (albeit, one that’s smaller than Villedor) and meet a whole new community. Maybe he’ll encounter another survivor of the experiment who’s grown up and now opposes him for whatever reason. He may learn more about Waltz’s potential cure for Mia and try to obtain it. It’s even possible that Aiden could turn and end up like Crane, though this doesn’t seem 100 percent likely since The Following already went down that route.
Perhaps Aiden will turn into something else entirely and thus provide brand new gameplay avenues. Regardless, due to the experiments – and as seen when he killed Dr. Ryan in the base game – he will fully turn at some point. Who knows? Maybe the “Stay Human” part is more of a teaser for things to come than a simple tagline for the base game.
Another possible avenue that could be explored in the second story DLC is to have Lawan as a playable character. We could explore more of her story in flashbacks and maybe see the history of the Nightrunners before their downfall. Or maybe we’ll follow Lawan after Aiden’s departure as she continues to survive in present-day Villedor. Perhaps it comes under some new threat and she’s forced to unite the factions to fight back.
It would allow for repurposing Villedor while ensuring Rosario Dawson’s character isn’t just a one-off appearance. Given that additional voice lines would need to be recorded, it doesn’t sound like the most practical option but time will ultimately tell but it’s not impossible.
The other option is that Aiden’s story doesn’t immediately end after the next two story DLC. Instead, Techland could look to release another major expansion like The Following. Perhaps this is where Aiden gets his final send-off (while the previous story DLC are just new adventures and side stories). A happy ending does seem pretty impossible at this point but Techland has to offer something, anything, that could lead to a continuation. The world is already at rock bottom after all – it really is nowhere but up from here. Once again though, the chances of Aiden’s story continuing into the future seems unlikely.
Dying Light 2 Stay Human is a curious game. Much of its plot and characters are fairly self-contained – you’ll get the initial references to Crane, the GRE and the original virus while identifying a familiar face or two. But for all intents and purposes, it’s a standalone story that builds off of the original’s mythos rather than directly continuing its plot. It’s easy to see why Techland took this approach since it can weave in any past threads (like it did with Spike’s story for Dying Light 1) and expand the universe further while also adding new modes, Infected, locations and much more.
Whether one is ready for the five year journey or not, the future of Dying Light 2 – and Aiden’s ultimate fate – is still worth keeping an eye on.
Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.