What’s Next For Dying Light 2: An Interview With Its Lead Game Designer

Dying Light 2 Stay Human was released on February 4 to largely positive reviews and massive player numbers, especially compared to that of the first Dying Light. It remains one of the most memorable games game informant reviewed this year, receiving a 9.5 out of 10, and in less than 24 hours after release, Dying Light 2’s peak PC player count surpassed Dying Light’s all-time peak.

By all accounts, Dying Light 2 was a huge success for Techland, which had been working on the sequel for years. However, achieving this success has not been easy. After its indefinite postponement in 2020, The player released a new report that paints a picture of a lack of leadership, a lack of direction, and a demoralizing atmosphere at the studio. Less than a year prior, the studio released a statement announcing that it had parted ways with narrative designer Chris Avellone after allegations of sexual harassment surfaced.

With the game now out and in the hands of players who, ideally for Techland, will continue to play the game for at least five years, the studio has planned content for the zombie parkour title, the team has gone from excitement nervous and the anticipation felt pre-launch in a state of elation.

“I think everyone is really, really happy that we were able to release the game,” said Dying Light 2 lead game designer Tymon Smektała. game informant. “The game was very well received. We announced that in the first weekend it reached over 3 million players and that was an amazing number. As you can imagine, the number is only increasing and it has been a long journey.

Smektała said Dying Light 2 was a difficult project due to its size and complexity. Not only was it a follow-up to the surprise 2015 hit Dying Light, which had Techland’s backing for over seven years, but it also had to up the ante in every way.

Tymon Smektała, lead game designer of Dying Light 2

“It really took the best of us, but we’re happy he’s here and we thrive on the positive feedback the community gives us,” says Smektała.

He said the team took their hiatus after launch, but are now back to work on post-launch content. As mentioned above, Techland has a five-year post-launch DLC plan for Dying Light 2, but Smektała tells game informant that the team already has plans to create and add more content to this timeline than has been announced. There was never any talk of Techland supporting this game for many years after launch, but the “five-year” number wasn’t set until late last year.

“There are many reasons why we feel [supporting the game extensively after launch] is important,” says Smektała. “One of the reasons is that I think we’ve realized that we’ve invented, or maybe discovered, a formula that’s actually on good terms with your community and working with your community and supporting your community…is extremely beneficial for you as a game developer.. And as a publisher, we are very lucky to be able to own Dying Light and develop Dying Light as our own [intellectual property]. So…both sides of our organization have been supported and benefited from our support of the game for so long.

When the team decided they would strongly support Dying Light 2 after launch, they sometimes felt stuck, says Smektała. But it was equally encouraging because the team knew that if the content was there, the community would show up, just like they did with Dying Light. It also encouraged Techland to recruit staff, which ultimately created a studio that was better prepared for the long viral road ahead.

“We have grown a lot as an organization and as a studio,” says Smektała. “We understand our craft better, as a result, but we also invited a lot of new people to join our ranks – people with expertise in the experiences of different studios and different projects – so I think we were and are better prepared to handle a bigger project like this.

With launch day behind them, Smektała says the biggest surprise for Techland was how quickly some gamers were able to put in 100, 200, and even 300 hours of time into the game. Perhaps equally surprising were the requests new content from those who played so much Dying Light 2 so quickly. Some of the biggest requests the team has heard include a New Game Plus mode, photo mode, and additional difficulty levels.

“Those are definitely things that are currently on the table and being worked on,” he says. “I don’t want to go into too much detail here…but pretty soon people will start to see these things added in some form or another to the game.”

A challenge that Techland, and ultimately every successful studio, faces with post-launch plans is finding a way to satisfy not just this part of the playerbase or that, but ideally every part of it. . Smektała says you have to think of everything, and what kinds of content will satisfy the different needs of the whole “very diverse” community. That’s what the next five years of Dying Light 2 will be about, but right now Techland is very focused on the first year.

“We’ve already revealed a very high-level Year One roadmap, but as players will soon find out, we’ll be adding more to this Year One roadmap… and inviting them to experience more content that will fall in the first year,” says Smektała.

Broadly speaking, he says that the first year of content will focus on online play, single-player content, and the game’s narrative. Other drops will be related to the game’s platforming elements, like new parkour trials recently added to the game in an update, while others will be for melee-focused combat. Smektała hopes that all of this and everything planned for Dying Light 2 is, above all, surprising. He compares the team’s hopes for DLC to Forrest Gump’s famous line of “boxes of chocolates” in that ideally, with Dying Light 2 DLC, you never know what you’re going to. to obtain.

“We don’t want to fall into this repetitive pattern where players will kind of know what to expect from us,” he says. “That said, for example, the first DLC story that we promised, I’ve seen a lot of speculation online about what it will be and can say with confidence that they…were not close to the mark .”

Anyone who has completed Dying Light 2 knows that its story ends with final choices. Those choices are up to the player, of course, but it leaves protagonist Aiden and his allies and enemies in some interesting places, especially when considering where to go with the DLC story. The team circumvents this challenge for now by developing narrative content that takes place “on the fringes of the main events”.

“At some point, we’ll actually start adding to the events that happened at the end of the game,” says Smektała. “We have ideas. On paper, as implemented right now, it looks promising, but it will definitely be a challenge.

Despite the challenges facing the team, Smektała says the word he would use to describe what everyone is feeling is “excitement”. Excitement that the game is out, excitement that it will resonate with fans, and excitement about what’s to come in Dying Light 2.

“We’re really looking forward to seeing people interact with this material and some of the ideas we have, because some of the things we’re adding are, quite simply, quite unique,” says Smektała. “Part of it’s us betting on ideas that maybe a little off the beaten path. We’ll see what the community thinks about it, but I feel really positive about it. All of that will unfold in the next few weeks. , as I said, and will be in the hands of players within one to three months.