Dying Light 2's player choices will affect both narrative and sandbox experience

Dying Light 2 was first announced at E3 2018 by industry veteran Chris Avellone. He is a narrative designer in this sequel to the first-person parkour adventure in a zombie apocalypse released in 2015. The Polish developer Techland has been developing the game further since then, and at this year’s E3, they announced a spring 2020 release window. Today, GamesIndustry.biz published a comprehensive interview with Techland’s lead designer Tymon Smektala, and the interview covers many subjects, from Techland’s growth to Poland’s place in the game development industry. It also shares some interesting details on Dying Light 2 and how player choices affect the sandbox experience.

We already knew, based on Chris Avellone’s presentation at E3 2018, that the game’s narrative would adapt to the player’s choices. The gameplay trailer shows two particular instances of how the player can see a different outcome in the game’s storyline depending on who you choose to team up with. It looks like a more in-depth type of choices and consequences than we see in many RPGs even. At the time it reminded me of how your choices affected the game world in the original Dishonored. Depending on whether you solved things peacefully or not, the game changed and reacted to your choices.

Dying Light 2‘s dynamic sandbox system

Now, according to Tymon Smektala, what started as an experiment in narrative design to build upon the foundation of the original Dying Light has become much more ambitious. The branching narrative design that hinges on choices and consequences was just the beginning. Following some technological enhancements within Techland’s in-house C-Engine, they realized they could do much more. The idea is to allow your choices and decisions to impact the sandbox space itself.

Tymon says this became a way of giving a powerful feeling to the player, in a way that they can change the game world of Dying Light 2 around them. “They can climb to the top of the highest building, look around and go: ‘Wow, I made this. What surrounds me is the outcome of my choices,'” he says. “This really excited the heck out of us, and it was an idea that wasn’t designed for the project from the start. But around two years ago we realized this is something we can and should do.”

This is probably Techland’s most technically ambitious title to date. As Tymon says, it’s a AAA, high-budget, open-world game, so people will expect it to have a lot of content. And one playthrough of Dying Light 2 will only unlock half of the game’s content. This means players will have to replay it to see what they missed by trying other choices. However, Dying Light 2 doesn’t really feature double the content. Techland is still a considerably smaller studio than the likes of Ubisoft, and they couldn’t possibly handle developing two games in one.

Dying Light 2 coming in spring 2020

We’ll have to wait and see what Dying Light 2 will play like and how it will handle all this intertwined content. It looks like a game with great potential, but also that might suffer from some technical issues along the way. You can read the rest of the interview with Tymon Smektala on GamesIndustry.biz.

What do you think of the dynamic sandbox and narrative of Dying Light 2? Will it suffer from such an ambitious design? Drop your comments below!

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