June 20, 2017 by Paul Curtin
Sony shocked us last year when they revealed a new zombie game that almost stole E3… a zombie game that surprisingly wasn’t called The Last of Us 2. Bend Studio’s Days Gone debuted with stunning visuals, combat, and character animations that looked just as good as Naughty Dog’s horrific masterpiece — and with TLOU2 not confirmed at the time, it was up to the team at Bend to bring PS4 gamers back to the zombie apocalypse.
Now, after sharing no new information for a full year and taking the backseat at PSX while TLOU2 was made official, Bend is back with a new gameplay preview for their post-apocalyptic freaker (zombie) game… and based on everything shown, our fears that the game could be in development trouble have been put to rest as gameplay looks even better than the last time we saw it.
While what was shown at the 2017 Sony Briefing looked amazing, it was a behind-closed-doors second look at the same mission that blew us away. In the second demo we saw, the developers took us through the same area that was shown at the media briefing — this time, however, with the twist of the mission taking place in the middle of a heavy snow storm. But the inclusion of snow wasn’t just to show off the game’s beautiful weather effects, and from the very start of the second demo it became apparent how the dynamic climate can have a drastic impact on gameplay in the open-world of Days Gone.
Because of the map now being covered in snow, the dogs that were shown chasing Deacon St. John were nowhere to be found. Instead, they were said by the devs to to have taken shelter away from the harsh weather in this new scenario. Since no dogs were chasing and distracting Deacon, he was able to spot the trip wire before it clotheslined him off of the bike — as we saw happen to the player in the original E3 2017 gameplay trailer. This allowed the player to take an alternate route around the enemies who were still waiting to ambush him. Previous large groups of zombies were also nowhere to be found and without the ability to unleash a horde of freakers on his foes, Deacon was forced to engage the group in a more stealthy fashion that the studio is much more familiar with after all their work on the iconic Syphon Filter series.
With the point of open world games being to offer alternate routes to players looking to complete objectives in different ways, what Bend is doing doesn’t seem like anything special on the surface. But with so many different open-world variables being impacted by the game’s stunning weather effects and A.I., watching the same level a second time felt like we were watching a completely different part of the game than what Sony showed earlier in the week. Having the ability to replay levels with different abilities and weapons has been a growing trend recently that we applaud devs for pursuing, but having the entire level look and feel completely different before even engaging in combat has us excited to play Days Gone… hopefully multiple times… if it lives up to the hype.
Days Gone still has no official date for when it will be released on PlayStation 4 and PS4 Pro, but there have been recent rumors that Sony is planning to launch the new IP on December 29, 2017.