If it feels like you’ve been hearing about Dying Light 2 forever that’s because, quite simply, you have. The follow up to Techland’s parkour zombie action shooter was first teased at E3 2018 with further glimpses shown at each E3 since. Now, finally, we have a better, fuller look at the massive expanse of Dying Light 2: Stay Human and a final releases date of December 7th, 2021. With a missed 2020 release and an evidently long time in development, this latest “Dying2Know” event really showed off quite why Dying Light 2 has had such a prolonged release schedule – and the results certainly look worth the wait.
We pick up 15 years after Dying Light and humanity has settled into a new way of living. Villedor is a city split up by different warring factions that have all chose their own ways to live. This faction system is the main makeup of Dying Light 2 by the looks of things. Throughout the event Techland stressed the importance if picking your factions and friends carefully as every little thing you do can have an impact on how the world around you shifts. Different factions will have differing environmental impacts on how you might traverse through the city, for example, or the weapons with which you can fight back against the undead.
There are lawful vigilant factions, made up of old police and guards; criminal outlaw warring factions; the agricultural types and so on. How you interact and choose to work with each faction will change your story, supposedly. This system looks also set to influence precisely how you play since different factions will presumably offer up different types of abilities to favour varying playstyles. As Techland put it, with 4 player co-op you might step into a friend’s game and find a vastly different world to your own.
That harbours on another point too. Dying Light 2 brings in 4 player co-op with a simple drop in/drop out system to boost the fun of running around the city with a group of friends. Will you force your friend to drop into the streets below and leave them for dead? Or actually work together to turn the tide of the zombie fight? WE know our answer…
As much fun as dropping friends into trouble might seem, Techland, perhaps quite ambitiously, envision these types of decisions as core to the central tenet of Dying Light 2. Its subtitle, Stay Human, refers to lines which certain aspects of humanity are crossing in conflict with each other. This world has perhaps lost its humanity in more than one way as we come up against each other. And, of course, it holds the double meaning of quite literally trying not to become a zombie too, as your protagonist Aiden Caldwell looks to be struggling with an oncoming turning process. You’ll have to work to manage your descent into zombie-dom.
We’re not sure if there will be scope to actually become a zombie or if it is just a narrative ploy to keep up the urgency of the game, but if we do get to become a parkouring zombie gaming will quite possibly have peaked.
Good Night, Good Luck
As with the first Dying Light the divide between day and night is core to the game’s central conceit. For Stay Human day is filled with the trivialities of human squabbling’s and combat, but at the night Villedor very much belongs to the dead. Techland have gone all out to make the contrast harsh, as night sees the city streets swarmed by zombies and terrifying special infected types out for your blood. They suggested that the night sequences of Dying Light 2 will be even more intense and terrifying in contrast to 1, which were heart-thumping enough by themselves.
But night offers up its own rewards too for sticking out. Perhaps the most interesting part of Dying Light 2 is how regions will actually change from day to night. As shown off, inner subway tunnels and the building basements where the dead infest during the day suddenly are empty at night – since, of course, they’re all out on the streets after your head. This allows you to sneak into these areas at night and plunder their lucrative gifts, or you can dive head-on during the day if you have an even bigger death wish.
The shift from day to night looks like it will shake the game up quite well and keep a welcome intensity to it.
Dying Light 2 also looks absolutely huge in just about every way. Its open world is impressive enough with not only its horizontal scale, but of course also its vertical scale so important to the game’s parkour premise. Techland boasted about having over 3000 different parkour animations – double that of the first – which will make traversal across the world fresh throughout with so many ways to navigate. The developers described the system as “open world multi-layered exploration” – i.e go up, down, here, there and everywhere around this huge city. The split of the world too was described as two huge regions with several zones therein as well. If Techland pull off the vibrancy and chaos of such a large world it will be very impressive indeed.
Added to this, the game just looks hella fun to boot too. With all manner of improvised weapons, parkour-melee abilities, explosive action and the staple Dying Light free running fun this is one Christmas release that should be on everyone’s Santa list.
That said, however, the ambitious scope of Dying Light 2: Stay Human is impressive enough to perhaps warrant a little caution toward that expected December release date. Though it has had a long time in development and previous delays too, don’t be too surprised if it gets knocked back again. But, quite honestly, this game looks exceptional enough in what is attempting to do that such a delay will be more than warranted and should be allowed all the time it needs.
You have our attention—we’re all looking to you now, Techland. So, “good night, and good luck”.