Moving From Dead Island to Dying Light, Techland Interview – PAX Prime 2013
While at PAX Prime 2013, PlayStation LifeStyle got a chance to sit down with Tymon Smektala, the producer behind the upcoming free-running styled zombie survival game coming from Techland, Dying Light.
Hello Tymon, could you tell me a bit about your role with Dying Light?
I am one of the producers for Dying Light. I oversee the whole production process, decide what should go into the game and how it should look. That is the role of the producer. I work with programers, animators and designers, to make it all come together.
Could you tell me a bit about Dying Light?
The game is Dying Light, it is being creating by Techland the makers of Dead Island and Call of Juarez, it is being published by Warner Bros Interactive in 2014 for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
The game takes place in a fictional city called Harem, which is under quarantine by the military because of the zombie outbreak that took place there. You are just one of the survivors and that is how the story starts.
What was the reason for designing a new IP instead of simply continuing the Dead Island franchise?
Dying Light is a completely fresh and completely new [title] because of the gameplay mechanics that it has. So, we came to the conclusion that what we have in our game is gameplay mechanics that really create a new experience. So, it wasn’t really feasible to do another Dead Island title. We decided this was something new.
What made you want to revisit the zombie genre, but with another IP?
Well its a thing that is quite popular, we really like that thing and we really learned a lot from our previous zombie game. So, we just decided to go with what we’ve already experienced so far and to try to do what we do best.
Were there any lessons that you learned from Dead Island that you tried to avoid doing with Dying Light? If so, what were they?
Well, of course we read all the comments on the YouTube videos, playthrough videos and reviews of Dead Island. So, we made a list of things that weren’t as good as they should be, and we just decided that these things aren’t going into Dying Light. But, of course, we also made another list that we made ourselves, that had all the things that we would like to see in a game from the zombie genre and just put all of those things into Dying Light.
What has your experience been working on next-gen platforms?
It is a pleasure. The next-gen platforms have so much processing power that we really are free to do what ever we like and the freedom of movement and scope of the world, is all apart of being able to make games for next-gen platforms.
Is there a lead platform for Dying Light?
Not really, the core gameplay is the same on all platforms. But, we try to play the strengths of all platforms and use things and features that is specific to each one of them to make them play the best on that platform.
What was the reasoning behind creating a free-running styled zombie title?
Well, if you are a human and you are being chased by zombies, you just run and you come up with things to escape. So, when you decide it is good to jump over things and climb up on things, then you naturally get the parkour movement and that was the basic idea of Dying Light.
You are shooting for a next year launch and have already announced that there will also be exclusive DLC for pre-orders, could you go over that content?
The exclusive content for pre-orders is ‘be the zombie mode,’ it is a PvP mode which allows you to fight other players. The ‘be the zombie’, as the name says, allows you to play as the special zombie, with its own zombie powers, skills, progression system and allows you to invade other people’s games. Of course, only if they want to. That’s the mode you get when you pre-order the game.
Can only one person join a game as the zombie in ‘be the zombie?’
Could you go over the differences in being a player zombie as opposed to the AI controlled ones?
We are not talking that much about being a zombie just yet, but in the near future we will explain what this mode is really all about.
Do you feel that the market has become oversaturated with zombie related material?
Not really, the zombie genre has been with us for like five decades now, and that is only if you count Night of the Living Dead as the first zombie movie. So, the genre is expanding each year, and each year there’s an IP that expands the genre and next year I think Dying Light will be that IP.
What is it that you are most proud about in Dying Light?
I think the natural movement, and the day and night cycle. These are two things that make the game really different, the natural movement, it gives you so much freedom to explore the environment that after playing our game for a couple of hours – I think it will be hard for people to go back to other games, they will just feel constricted. The day and night cycle is something that gives you two games in one, because during the day the rules are different, the feel of the game is different, the gameplay is different, and when night falls, it all changes. You have to step up your game and be on your toes to survive.
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