From a purely technical standpoint, Days Gone was an impressive game. Shown off at the end of Sony’s E3 press conference, this open-world horror game from Sony Bend packed an incredible number of enemies onto the screen at once. While this was a standout moment from the demo and trailer we saw on Tuesday morning, Days Gone is a lot more than just another zombie game.
For starters, Sony Bend is very quick to point out that Days Gone is not a zombie game. The enemies you saw swarming towards protagonist Deacon are called Freakers, and they differ from zombies in a number of key ways:
“They’re Freakers. People looking at the demo last night are thinking ‘okay, yeah, another zombie game. The biggest difference is our Freakers are alive. It’s an infection. Depending on how old you were when you were infected it alters you in a different way.
More importantly they’re alive in a way that they have needs and rules. They have a cycle that they live by and that really informs a lot of the open world sandbox gameplay, understanding how they behave and what they need.”
For example, in the demo Deacon ran across a Newt. Newts are small and opportunistic. They won’t attack you directly in Days Gone, rather they’ll try to ambush you, only attacking if they have the drop on you and think that they can kill you easily.
Should the tables turn during an encounter, and the odds slip into your favour, they’ll try and escape rather than fight. There will be a number of different types of Freakers, all of whom will behave differently from each other.
Protagonist Deacon was a biker, before the outbreak happened and the world went post-apocalyptic. He’s all about loyalty and camaraderie, but the pull of riding along the open road keeps him from staying in one of the settlements that have popped up post-world ending catastrophe.
And then there’s the story:
“The demo is action packed. It’s got these huge, vast numbers of Freakers that you’re fighting. But in the trailer I hope it came across that what we’re trying to do is tell a much more Human story. Deacon feels loss, he feels regret. Not just because of everything that happened in the world, he has personal loss as well. The story is really about what happened to him? How did he become this way? What does his future hold?
Days Gone was a nice surprise for E3. The first story trailer we saw set up a nice look to a post-apocalyptic story with some heart and soul to it. The gameplay looks to juxtapose quiet exploration of these beautiful open environments with the terror and stress of being swarmed by more enemies than we’re used to facing at once. And when it all gets too much, you can just climb on your bike and ride the open road.
There will be plenty more to come from Days Gone in the months ahead. Personally I can’t wait to see all of it. You can check out the interview above for more right now.
Days Gone has no release window just yet, but when it comes it’ll be out exclusively on Playstation 4.