Days Gone: Interview With Bend Studio’s David Lee

The zombie shooter genre is one that many in the gaming community are familiar with, from the frenzied co-op firing in Left 4 Dead 2 (L4D2) to the suspenseful, rip-roaring excitement of dishing out headshots across the Resident Evil series. Built on a tried-and-tested formula, similar titles usually sport identical elements and gameplay mechanics – yet, the genre never grows old, continuing to draw in players year after year after year.

Suffice to say, there exists some sort of addictive charm to decimating the undead with shotgun shells or sniped headshots. With their upcoming action-adventure survival horror video game Days Gone, Bend Studio is looking to bring something new to the age-old concept, while retaining the best signature bits of the traditional zombie shooter.

In preparation for the game launch on April 26, 2019, Geek Culture sat down with the team’s community manager, David Lee, to understand what went down behind the scenes, as well as the overall thought process. (Read about our demo impressions here)

Delving straight into character and narrative development, Lee shares how the Sarah-Deacon wedding has established the latter as one who’s still struggling, but doing his best to press on in a dog-eat-dog world inflicted with bleakness, savagery, and hopelessness.

It is important, then, that Deacon’s bike is portrayed as being a part of his identity. Bringing in real-life experiences, the community manager states how the team leveraged on the opportunity to introduce a vehicle for the player, such that different mechanics, challenges, and player choices can be encouraged within the game, from bike customisation to deciding where to allocate points to.

Just plainly shooting at regular zombies makes for a monotonous affair, and thankfully Days Gone has plenty of trying shootouts in store. Apart from the various Freakers – a term used to describe those who have been infected – that run the gamut from Swarmers and Newts to Screamers, Lee also warns that the human threat is equally dangerous, for everyone is fighting to survive in this world.

On that note, the in-game world bears a reflection of the real one, in which day-night cycles and dynamic weather conditions will be present. It’s an added challenge for the players, who not only have to watch their backs for Freakers, but learn to drive in such scenes – as Lee puts in succinctly across, one can expect to be “constantly on edge, on your tippy toes, trying to find out what’s the best scenario. Following that, he makes a tease about “big, bulk” undead type, not unlike the Tank in L4D2.

Lastly, a note about the encampments in-game reveals that each comes with a unique speciality in tow, and players are encouraged to explore them. Along the way, the man dished out some handy tips on how to last longer in the harsh Days Gone environment as well, so do keep your ears perked.

Clocking in more than 100 hours in gameplay and backed by beautiful visuals, Days Gone is shaping up to be a promising title, especially for fans of the undead. It’s due for arrival on April 26, and this means it’s time to start loading those shotgun, sniper rifles, and pistols of yours!