Attending a behind-closed-doors presentation of Techland’s newly announced sequel, Dying Light 2, Twinfinite was privy to an hour-long hands-off live gameplay session. What I saw looked superb, moving the series into an exciting new narrative-driven direction that the original game’s 13 million strong player base can look forward to. Of particular note was the confirmation that Dying Light 2 will feature multiple endings. The developer considers it to be the first game of its type to boast a branching story in which decisions have such a tangible weight on the shape of its narrative.
During the presentation, we were told that there are multiple ways to beat the game, and though player decisions will have drastic impacts of the dynamic of the city and its inhabitants, they’re not always irreversible. Techland was quick to highlight that opportunities to undo allegiances and decisions would be more nuanced than simply returning the NPCs and killing them. Instead, later quests would weave in a contingency plan to change course according to preference.
There’s more to look forward to in Dying Light 2 than just the addition of a meaty story, of course. The presentation we saw showcased some of the most compelling first-person gameplay we saw during the entirety of E3. The weighty melee combat is plush with much more nuance now, requiring careful strategy and timing to block and parry attacks. It’s also unbelievably violent —more than one occasion had our protagonist beheading enemy thugs and decapitating zombies in gory red explosions. Traversal, too, looks as fluid as ever, especially in moments where tricky platforming sections required our protagonist to string together combinations of timed jumps, wall runs, and leaps onto dangling ropes.
The cinematic quality of the game and its presentation were top-notch, too. The city environment is dank and chaotic, but it pops from the screen thanks to some superb lighting effects. The verticality of the urban setting provides the ultimate playground, and climbing high above the cityscape we were able to cast our eye across an enormous vista. In fact, Dying Light is over four times larger than the original game including its DLC content.
I left Techland’s Dying Light 2 presentation thoroughly impressed at what I consider an incredibly promising package. There’s still no word on a release date but it looks thoroughly polished. It’s fair to presume the game is in its final stages of production so expect to see this one in the not so distant future. I’d suggest an early 2019 release date in the same sort of window as the original 2015 game seems likely.